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You might note that the headline below says “10 Great Books…” and I only included 7 in this clip. I didn’t want to give it all away.

You really should go to her website to read the whole post. Click the headline link to get there.

10 Great Books for Homeschooling Parents

We live in a time when there’s no shortage of great reading options for home educators. I’m incredibly grateful for that because that’s exactly where we turned when we began homeschooling. We turned to our local library and researched diligently to prepare for our journey. Since then, I’ve continued to turn to books for homeschooling parents for encouragement, further learning, […]

dogsled race support

I helped provide comms for the Darby Dog Derby sled dog races and skijourning this weekend.

A club engineer set up 7 old-school GMRS radios with a suitcase repeater to handle a set of races with 8-dog teams doing 24-mile route and the 6, 4, 2 and 1-dog teams doing less.

Only 1 other HAM was willing to join me. Fortunately my GMRS license covered the entire team for legality sake.

We all learned a lot. The snowmobile club providing primary logistical support now appreciates some of the value 2-way radios bring. The sled dog club LOVES us and are now thinking about how useful radio is for what they do every weekend, not to mention the huge value we […]

big-picture goals

New Year’s Resolutions are famously futile for most people… exercise, lose weight, drink more tea and so on regularly fall by the wayside before January departs. Fitness centers all suffer from JAMuary – waiting your turn on the treadmills, progressing to a handful of regulars the rest of the year.

That does not make it a bad idea to reflect on the year gone by and think about what you will wish you did by the end of the new one. Just make sure the goals are attractive, achievable and can be handled in bite-sized pieces.

The list above isn’t mine, but I think it is a good one to look over and pick a few for […]

Community Preparations For Catastrophic Events

This article was written by Tom Chatham and originally published at Project Chesapeake

Many people now feel that pending trouble is in the air. They may not know what or why but they can feel it deep in their bones. For these people the urge to prepare for potential problems is now incorporated into their everyday lives. When something far reaching and catastrophic happens the ability of groups and communities to pull together is one way to deal with the aftermath and work through the problems to remain safe and healthy.

When something happens that may prevent outside help from reaching you, it is necessary to have the infrastructure and supplies to help yourself until the situation stabilizes. For […]

silly whack jobs

One response to my Community Preparedness meeting announcements goes something like this: Are you people working with Ravalli County emergency planning, or are you another wacky militia group? … I think I’ll take my chances with the county’s action plan.

Have they even looked at “the county’s action plan”? I think not. But they are happy to trust their, and their family’s well-being to it. Don’t worry. Somebody will feed you. Somebody will shelter you. No need to plan ahead. Trust the experts. There are adults in charge.

I looked at it. I met with the planners and the sheriff who is the director in case of most emergencies. I published a link to their plan here: Comprehensive Emergency Operations […]

hiding from danger

I have heard it many times throughout my years of standing up. Said many ways, but in essence they don’t speak up, stand up or take action because they don’t want to be noticed [by the enemy].

Who knows, they might get lucky. There may be enough brave people standing up to fend off the attacks. Watching from a hide-y-hole certainly bears less risk IF the good guys win.

But what if there were not quite enough good guys taking a stand?

What if the defending force falls a few arms short of adequate?

What if standing up, speaking up, pushing for change while it was only slightly dangerous was all it would have taken to prevent the violence? […]

Stone Soup Kitchen Project

Here is a flier I am taking to various churches, restaurants and other places with community-grade kitchen facilities.

Click on the image for a better view of it.

In case of disaster, The Bitterroot may be on its own for an extended time. Red Cross, FEMA and others will have their hands full in populated areas. It is up to us to prepare ourselves and our community.

Therefore, we need a way to feed ourselves as well as those who are unable to. There is no other way to get along with them … and cooperation is necessary for civilization to continue.

THE STONE SOUP KITCHENS will accept anonymous donations of food and turn it into nutritious meals for […]

community comms

In any surviving, thriving community there is a wide range of specialists who make The Whole strong. An important gap I am striving to fill locally is communications. Both within our neighborhood and beyond.

Step one was to learn a little bit and pass the FCC tests to earn a license. The first level, “Technician”, covers local communication well and with modest equipment investment. But it is the second, “General” level that shares information with adjacent regions, all states and the world. The gear costs go up significantly at this level. This is where I am licensed, but with a champagne appetite on a beer budget.

Meanwhile, what I do have is moderately functional.

It starts with twin […]

Ma Nature issues another warning

She’s clearly on your side. This gentle reminder that you need to be prepared for: Other Than The Usual was relatively kind.

Granted, at a measured 74mph, the wind in Missoula on August 10th actually qualified as a Force 11 on The Beaufort Wind Force Scale, officially called “hurricane force”.

While at the lower edge of that hurricane rating, it did significant damage, but without reported loss of life or serious structural damage. However, as you might guess, replacing heavy-duty transmission lines will take more than a little time.

What did we learn? What was her message to us?

Those silly Preppers keep harping on community preparedness and working together instead of betting your being on official responders. Well, […]

going postal

In a stark contrast between a private service organization and a government monopoly, the Darby/Conner/Sula postmaster has declared war on his customers.

This dweeb has decreed that all addresses MUST CONFORM to his ever-changing rules or be returned to sender. CUSTOMERS in his SERVICE AREA are now having phones cut off for non payment of bills that did not get delivered, late fees on credit cards for non-payment of undelivered bills, orders and payments for business accounts returned to sender, the local credit union has returned mail stacking up, power company bills don’t reach customers and much, much more.

Because somebody put Ed Jolly into the job as POSTMASTER. WooHoo! I am Emperor. They must do what I decree. We […]

when the trucks stop

If you can’t imagine any scenario where the trucks stop coming to your town for a few days, you have Imagination Deficit Disorder.

This is a serious, life-threatening condition that must be addressed immediately. Quickly now, call work, call home, call family, call anyone who thinks you are important over the next few days or weeks, if necessary, and tell them you will be absent.

Then turn off all electronic inputs. Cut off all artificial sounds. Plant your hide in nature for as long as it takes for your mind to quiet, your brain to resume thinking for yourself and your imagination to return.

See things in clouds. Play connect the dots with stars. Imagine the life of birds and […]

emergency radio cards

Assuming that phones and Internet will work unfailingly forever is extraordinarily popular. This is despite the fact everyone knows they don’t, can’t and won’t.

Worse, they will fail when everyone most wants information on what is going on and wants to share information on their needs and situations.

I recognize this better than most. While to me the need for a radio-based communication network seems obvious, it obviously isn’t.

Planning and preparing for the uninterested is challenging, but I’m up to the challenge.

Here you have the best tool I’ve heard of. I made up this graphic intended to be printed two-sided on cardstock, cut into fourths and shared with people who might store it near or with their radio. […]

Helloooo Bitterroot Blasters

I have not shot practical pistol since a while before I moved from Idaho. Today I tried out the Hamilton, Montana practical pistol club … aka The Bitterroot Blasters.

Oh Yeah!

Just like everything else Montana, these people are very welcoming, friendly and fun to be around.


Shoot Move


repeat as desired until all targets are either perforated or have fallen down.




As I mentioned, it has been years since I last did this. My speed and accuracy were down. These skills are very susceptible to degradation without use.

This course of fire to the right was “the classifier”. That is an international standard setup laid out precisely to be repeatable anywhere on Earth.


Ham Jam and String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its members operate several radio repeaters in the Bitterroot. These enable people with walkie-talkies, mobile and home radios to accomplish two-way communication over a wide area from Darby to Missoula and beyond.

While the club members have the ability and willingness to expand the repeater network, they are expensive to set up, costing significantly over $1,000 each for reliable off-grid mountain-top units that can do the job.

This Ham Jam and String Fest is an attempt to attract donations that might extend the network of repeaters through Conner, up the West Fork and up to Lost Trail Pass. If successful enough, this network could reach Salmon and from there much of Idaho.


How old do you expect to be when you stop learning?

Put another way, when will you know as much as you are ever going to know?

Are you smarter than average? Smarter than 90% of the rest? 99%?

Is your generation significantly superior to the prior one?

Did something amazing happen to 2,000-year-old genetics in the last 30 years?

The obvious answer is that wisdom and knowledge can grow with age. The Elders are potentially a great resource and repository of lessons learned by generations, or centuries of human existence. I use the word “can” because the masses choose to not expand their knowledge. Mass media is owned by 6 corporations. Six CEOs agree on theme, content and objective. 99% of the information presented follows their guidance.

The USofA […]

The American Prepper Movement

This article is a call to action with comments and links at the end of the article. While I post the article here, the links and comments are at the originating website: Backdoor Survival. Click here and Go There to participate.

Agenda for Change: The American Prepper Movement from Backdoor Survival .com

Last month when I posted Define the Prepper Movement With A Call Action, I did not know what to expect. One part of me thought, okay, I am going to put this out there and be run out of town for expressing such crazy ideas. The other part of me dictated that I post the article because I believed in it. Not posting would be paramount to […]

The three quotations below give much insight to the comfort collectivism offers. They also help explain why it is so difficult to pry someone out of group-think and the embrace of whatever community they have wrapped around their life.

The quotes brought to my mind the description a friend shared with me of his metamorphosis in middle age from the religion he was born to. In my lifetime I have repeatedly seen his story and variations at all levels of philosophical interrogation from never having questioned to vehement repudiation. It applies to all lifestyles that are accepted as a complete package defined by a strong cadre at the top and unquestioning faith in their rules for living.

Thoughtfully challenging […]

Darby Dog Derby 2015

This coming weekend (January 17-18, 2015) is the 8th annual sled dog races run by The Bitterroot Mushers.

Supporting the races with communication across the course from start to finish will be the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club.

Providing course workers and transportation is the Bitterroot Ridgerunners snowmobile club.

The two days of racing include 8-dog, 6-dog, 4-dog, 2-dog junior and skijor races. It is all a great event and interesting experience.

Last year was my first experience. I was AMAZED at the energy of these dogs. They are exploding in place before the launch and still so after running full tilt continuously for hours.

Teams from British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and Montana are signed up to […]

neighboorhood watch +++

Seeing this sign got me thinking …

“PROTECTED BY VIDEO CAMERAS” What are they going to do, hit the bad guys over the head with their cameras?

How about “This neighborhood protected by bouquets of pansies”? I think that is just as effective.

I am NOT reassured to be on video cameras.

I am not comforted that others are either.

Whoopie! My beating or demise was recorded on video. How lovely. Maybe it will play for a few minutes on You Tube. My 15 seconds of fame.

Really now, does anyone think this old brown sign is going to protect them or their neighborhood? Heck, any perpetrator a notch up from brain dead could use a stolen car or stolen […]

Hotel California

In the 90s, I knew something was wrong, but it took me to the end of the decade to recognize that I fit a culture that was not in California. THE STATE was at war with me, and the majority of the voters therein were just fine with that.

I voted with my feet. I moved to Idaho. Ahhhh … Much improved. I finally speak the native language.

A dozen years later we were able to go one step better.

We aren’t the only ones who find the upper Bitterroot to be magical. There are so many good, aware, balanced, considerate people here. We keep meeting more; making great new friends. This is what a community of humans is supposed […]

Prep Alone, Die Alone

Community as a Requirement for Survival from SHTF Journal

There can be no doubt to anyone who can read the writing on the wall that the world is on the brink of a massive collapse. Whether you think it will come from an economic catastrophe or a massive natural disaster, We the People are due for a massive cataclysm that will test even the strongest and most well prepared of us. One thing that has been left out of many blog posts and articles in regards to prepping is the necessity for community. Many of us believe that preparing a year’s worth of food, stocking up on ammo and weapons, setting up water supplies and creating a defensible position will […]

adult ed class: preparedness

I am offering two classes for the Darby Adult Ed program this fall. Pre-registration officially lasts through Monday, September 22nd. If there are 7 or more registered, the class will take place.

One is a 2-hour short course called “Radio Communicating Options“. It covers walkie-talkies to HAM Radio with primary focus on emergency communications. It runs from 10-noon on Saturday, September 27th.

Related, but a separate subject, the next 9 Saturdays will have study groups leading to HAM licenses if there is enough interest.

Here is what the flyer says about my big fall class:

Being Prepared The Boy Scout motto is just at least as valid now as it ever was. Nature and man have a way of […]

modern homeschooling

Homeschooling: The Kid Likes It (and Mom and Dad Have Homework Again)

“Oh, you’re doing that, too?,” the building contractor asked when he walked in while my son was working on his Literature lesson. “My youngest daughter is taking high school online. They were bullying her at school.”

While he undid something interesting my wife had done to the garbage disposal and then measured for book shelves, he added, “It looks like she’ll already have her freshman year finished in December.”

Just weeks after signing on to home-based schooling, and two days into formal lessons, we’re running into a fair number of kindred spirits who also opted out […]

safety in a riot

I posted some great Lessons from Ferguson that Daisy Luther put up at The Organic Prepper.

I fully agree that the safest place when angry mobs roam the streets is barricaded in your home … with your well-armed neighbors preventing violence from entering your neighborhood.

The problem with that approach is that the safest place for your neighbors is barricaded in their homes as well.

Oops, nobody is protecting the neighborhood. One by one your household faces a violent mob. One by one you are taken out, pillaged, burned to the ground and/or whatever else the marauders choose to do. All of you except Rambo have your fates decided by the worst humankind has to offer. I won’t […]

Community Preparedness Team

Organized Community Defense Is America’s Last Hope Wednesday, 06 August 2014 02:42 Brandon Smith

Not long ago, I felt compelled to address the idea of self defense as a moral imperative in an article titled “Violence In The Face Of Tyranny Is Often Necessary.” My intention was to perhaps undo some of the propaganda conditioning that Americans have suffered over the decades that has taught them that “all” forms of violent action are “immoral”, including the defense of one’s person, one’s property, and one’s freedom.

The recent uprising at Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., confirmed my predictions that many Americans are tired of playing by rules chartered by the establishment and are ready to take measures outside of the […]