Thursday, November 24, 2022

Throwback Thursdays: SHTF Self-Education Series From the Library: Battle Leadership

This book review by a retired career USMC Mustang officer was first published in May 2016.    

    I wanted to write about a book that I have had on my professional book stack for years. I bought it as a young(-ish) 2nd Lieutenant. The tag on the back reads MCX LEJEUNE, and I paid the amazing sum of $2.50 for it back in the day.  There are those that consider the price of the book is commensurate with the value of the contents.  I assure you that the relationship is nonlinear, which is why I want to communicate to you that good information is where you find it, and that you don't need to spend a King's ransom to get it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Winter is Coming: Stockpile your home formulary


This installment will discuss some over the counter, non prescription supplements you can buy to bolster and strengthen your body's own immune system for prevention of cold and influenza infections, and for early self treatment at home. Nothing shared here from open source online research, including scientific studies provided, should be considered a substitute for medical advice or an attempt to diagnose illness.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

SELF SUFFICIENCY SUNDAYS: Green Household Cleaners

Gentle Readers,
Today's green household cleaner will be one that seems so simple and inexpensive, many people have to be convinced that it works.

It does!  And published research studies prove it.

Saturday, November 19, 2022



As I sit here in sunny, warm Florida and see the images of snow subsuming Buffalo, Rochester and Watertown (again - oh, the memories!) I had a rush of nostalgia.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Throwback Thursday: SHTF Self-Education Series Book Review from the Library - "Winning Insurgent War: Back to Basics"

This book review was originally published in 2016.
What I have for you today dear Readers is a most unusual and irreverent book by Geoff Demarest. It is not a novel, it is not “entertrainment” in the Max Velocity way, it is not a traditional academic paper or policy paper... it is sui generis.

It is about 520-ish pages comprised of 144 individual sections, all focused upon some aspect of insurgency, what insurgents do and what anti insurgent forces should consider. It is not a book that is written to be devoured at one sitting, it is a non stop buffet of thought provoking discussion

Amazon Purchase Link To: Winning Insurgent War: Back to Basics

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Traditional Healing: First Aid Herbs - Water borne diseases


 "Cholera" rowing along the River Thames amid raw sewage and dead rats. Published as a caricature in 1858.

I have been asked to put together a short post on things to consider if the supply chain and infrastructure break down.

One of the biggest killers in a world that has been hit with chaos including war is water borne diseases.

Sunday, November 13, 2022


 Welcome to Self-Sufficient Sundays.

My first introductory entry is Homemade Laundry Soap - a basic recipe with some ideas for optional additions for a bespoke formulation unique to your tastes, and some bonus trivia at the end!
I hope you enjoy the post and find it informative and helpful.

My plan is (time permitting) to post a series of basic formulations and recipes for every day products you use around your home that work as well - or better - than the commercial ones you buy at your friendly big box store, and other tips towards moving towards a more holistic, self-sufficient life style - even if you live in an urban or suburban environment.
Why go to the bother of making your own laundry soap?  Well, there are several very good reasons for making the extra effort towards being more self-sufficient and weaning yourself from the mega-corporations.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Winter is Coming: Surviving and Thriving


I was called to write these posts literally - being woken in the middle of the night by Spirit to do so.  I plan on making this a multi-part series. I was going to post my recommendations for stockpiling OTC medications and supplements for a winter centric home formulary as the first post, but I was called to post this first instead as a more urgent item. I will continue to post about medications and recipes for home remedies in future posts, but wanted to address the most basic of items first:  physical survival.

Cold kills.
The people of the "great freeze" of Texas in the winter of 2021  learned that the hard way, and over 21 people lost their lives. Living in a temperate region of the US, most of them had no idea how to cope let alone had the supplies on hand to help them survive. 
*Update:  I have since been advised by someone who survived the deep freeze of 2021 that over 700 people perished.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Self-Education Series Book Review: From the Library: The Last Hundred Yards

THROWBACK THURSDAY:  This book review was originally published in 2016.  Since we have some new Readers to the blog, I thought it would be a good time to dive into the Archives and dust off some of our previously published reviews of books from our guest contributor's personal library.
And - Happy Birthday, Marines!

This book review is for Americans interested in the tactical operations of small units.  The scope of this work, while mostly geared for Platoon sized elements, encompasses techniques that span from individual skills to concepts that are best employed at the Battalion or Regiment (or whatever your affiliated branch or persuasion's equivalent is).

Monday, November 7, 2022

Traditional Healing - First Aid Herbs: Analgesics - ARNICA MONTANA

I chose this herb to discuss this week because of my personal belief that it is a safe alternative for most people who are hiking long distances carrying heavy loads or engaging in other physical activity, including sport that generates the typical bumps, bruises, pain, swelling etc that come along with those types of activities, over using OTC anti-inflammatories and analgesics long term.
Ibuprofen is one example of an allopathic OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and pain medication. While it has its uses, it should be for acute situations and not be used for long-term, chronic use and too many people do IMHO. Like antibiotics, many OTC drugs should be used for acute, short term care as they also can have many negative impacts on the body's systems if used chronically and long term.

Arnica montana

also known as Leopard's Bane, Wolfbane and Mountain Snuff

Arnica montana is a natural remedy that has a long and well established history in Herbalism going back to the 15th century. It is used in the formulation of many expensive and bespoke creams and lotions for professional athletes for injuries involving contusions, swelling, bruising, edema and localized pain. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

THROWBACK THURSDAY ~ SHTF Self-Education Series - From the Library: "Special Forces - Guerilla Warfare Manual"

THROWBACK THURSDAY:  This book review was first published in December, 2015.  

As we have some new Readers to the blog, it seemed like a good idea to dust off some of our Guest Bloggers' book reviews from the Archives and repost.

You may want to buy and add to your collection for when things go dark. 

Update:  A Reader has kindly provided a link to a downloadable PDF version in the comments section. 

All material published on this blog is copyright and may not be republished or shared without written permission from the owner and with full attribution.

Here at, you have come to expect writing on some difficult topics and some professional insights that you might not otherwise find elsewhere.  In response to Reader requests, we will start to review and summarize some of the literature from our own library that may offer some guidance to the average citizen.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Traditional Healing - First Aid Herbs: Analgesics - SPILANTHES and CLOVES

I will continue to add to Category One of First Aid Herbs: Styptics but for this post I thought I would share two plants that are used for dental pain and dental healing. 


Acmella oleracea or Spilanthes oleracea

Photo credit to My Garden Life

You can see why it's also known colloquially as the "Eyeball Plant" as well as the "Toothache Plant". 

I mean, what better plant to blog about on Hallowe'en than something spooky looking and known as the "Eyeball" plant?

Friday, October 28, 2022


 The Wolf is at the Door.


Gentle Reader,

    Today's post is going to be a quick review of how to build a house of bricks instead of straw so you can be ready for when the really bad winds start blowing.
    This is an excellent article published by MIT press. Even if you have some knowledge of the effects of the use of nuclear weapons, it is a good refresher.  
    For those who don't, it is a "MUST READ". 

    The post below discusses some basics when considering your shelter options.  In addition to shielding, time and distance, two of the key items to consider in the aftermath are (1) clean water (covered in a previous post) and (2) fire control. One of the most damaging after effects is the fires they ignite, and first responders won't be able to deal with them all. Have a plan for that. You will be on your own.

    There is one key word you need to remember:

    Shielding, one of the three principles of radiation protection is the first item we will discuss. The other two are time and distance, which makes radiation protection a STD.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022



Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.*

*The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 


Dear Gentle Reader, 
Well - what can I say?  I had several posts in the hopper but my last post upset  A LOT of people. So much so, that I put those posts on hold and decided to write this one, extending what needs to be said about how to prepare now for you know, that thing that "may" happen, that the mainstream media seems almost giddy about, but those who are still sane hope never happens? The Big Event.
Yeah, that thing.
So the point of this post, in addition to all the other things you should be thinking about when the music stops playing and the carousel horses stop galloping is WATER.

Thursday, October 13, 2022



 Herbs for Radiation Protection, Repair and Remediation



    As you can imagine, I have had no end of contacts from people shall we say ....
freaking out about the "hints" from the big name news readers on the TeeVee.
    And so ... I have been asked to give them advice on what to stock up on in preparation before, during and after "the Big Event". I decided instead to write what I had to share in a post to share with a wider audience beyond my own inner circle as well. Links to sources are in gold.
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, 
nor be afraid of them: 
for the Lord thy God, 
he it is that doth go with thee; 
he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deuteronomy 31:6, KJV

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Traditional Healing - First Aid Herbs : Styptics - SELF HEAL

First Aid Herbs

Category One: Styptics

Note:  Understand that any information shared in these posts is for educational and informative purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor should be considered a substitute for seeking medical care from a qualified professional. The FDA has not reviewed or approved most of the information provided in links. Everyone has a medical history, including allergies and reactions to foods, including plants and herbs, that is unique to them and it would be impossible to cover every contingency when making broad generalizations. 
As always, you are responsible for you, and it is up to you to do your own research
My first choice for a styptic, hands down, is Yarrow.  
My second choice, and my first choice for adding to fomentations to keep wounds clean and to promote healing is Self-Heal Plant or Heal All - many herbalists since at least the 16th Century have viewed as a "Wonder Plant". 
Like Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), it is sometimes also called, "Wound wort", which is why when doing research or adding plants to your personal Materia Medica, it is important to use the scientific/botanical names.  
Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) is sometimes also confused with Sanicle (Sanicula europaea), especially since both can be used for cough.

Self-Heal or Heal All 

(Prunella vulgaris)

Friday, October 7, 2022

Traditional Healing - First Aid Herbs : Styptics - YARROW

 First Aid Herbs

Category One:  Styptics


Note:  Understand that any information shared in these posts is for educational and informative purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor should be considered a substitute for seeking medical care from a qualified professional. The FDA has not reviewed or approved most of the information provided in links. Everyone has a medical history, including allergies and reactions to foods, including plants and herbs, that is unique to them and it would be impossible to cover every contingency when making broad generalizations. 
As always, you are responsible for you, and it is up to you to do your own research
One of the most fascinating things about the study of herbalism is the endless variety of plants that have healing properties, and that most plants have multiple uses. 
To keep things simple, I am only to going to provide a few examples in each category but there are many many more. I have also tried to select the plants that are easiest to grow, and plants that I have had first hand exposure to either through experience, or through lab. Many of the plants with significant healing properties are considered "weeds" in many areas and can be invasive, which is another reason why container gardening your medicinal plants is a good idea.

When growing plants specifically to use for healing or wellness, I prefer to grow in large containers where I can manage the soil, nutrients and water. I also use filtered water for plants I plan to use for healing, which is not practical for a large row in ground type garden. I will also add fertilizer and other soil amendments to make sure the plants have access to the nutrients they need.

Today I'm going to write about a wild plant that has "gone to war" and has been used in First Aid for centuries, principally as a Styptic - ie: something that stops blood flow. It also has an interesting myth attached to it, being named for Achilles.