Washing Clothes

caption: Downtown Merida, Mexico, seen through the “clothes-drying window” of our apartment.

[Excerpted from Christopher’s book, “Squatter in Los Angeles: Life on the Edge,” available from Kindle, or as a pdf from the Store at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.]

Washing machines are another of those devices that modern man seems to believe that life could not go on without. Yet for the vast stretch of human life, there were no washing machines. People just washed with hot water and soap and worked the garments by hand. Sometimes smooth rocks were used, sometimes not. In fact, sometimes it was just cold running water in the stream and no soap at all.

When I lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico, I had to walk through a canyon … Read More

Halcon’s article in latest American Survival Guide



Hey, check out Alan’s article in the latest issue of American Survival Guide. I just got it in my mail, though it is dated “December 2016.” Alan wrote about SODIS, solar disinfection of water using plastic bottles, a viable option where fire is not practical. I suggest you get a copy and check it out. It’s on page 22.

Also, you might enjoy the article by one of my early martial arts teachers, Barton Boehm, with whom I studied Seiken. Barton wrote about the use of sticks “A Survival Stick Can Be Your Best Friend,” on page 36. You will enjoy this Jason!… Read More

On Terrorism


Enrique makes a point...

Enrique makes a point…

I thought I would share this with Dirttimers. I wrote this as a result of a query from a “survival magazine” editor asking if I would write about terrorism. He wanted to see an outline first. Here is my outline. I never heard back from the editor….


I would propose the following outline for an article, which would be a beginning level eye-opener for many people. Some will be uncomfortable with this. But I will attempt to provide an overview, as well as specific actions that the reader can take.

Dealing with Terrorism in the urban areas

Know Your Enemy:
Since we are almost certainly talking about Islamic terrorism, the following are good starters:
Get … Read More

Mugwort: A versatile herb with many survival uses

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[Nyerges is the author of “Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” and other books. His schedule of outings is available from School of Self-Reliance, P.O. Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 and can be viewed on-line at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.]

Mugwort is an aromatic plant with species found all over the world. It is perhaps one of the few herbs widely steeped in lore and mythology. Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana and other closely-related species) is a multiple use plant, having been used for food, medicine, fire-starting, dreaming, and more.
I have known people who ate the raw mugwort leaves in salad and added to sandwiches, in much the same way as you’d add a pickle or a piece … Read More

In a Grid-Down World

dudeandyuccaBy Dude McLean

“Grid down” is a rational fear. China is perfecting their device to use EMP on Taiwan, and if we interfere, it’s likely to be used on us, or at least the ships we might have in the area. Put that aside for a moment. China has called for the dollar to be replaced by a world currency, again. Given that the vast sum of money the money the U.S. owes China grows by the minute, could they be growing tired of waiting.

The “grid” is very fragile in the first place. We have three grids that are linked—Eastern, Western and Texas (that always struck me as strange). We really have no control of the grid. We are … Read More

Get To Know Your Neighbors

Real Survival is not a sport. It is not a computer game. Survival is not a “reality” TV show. Survival is not a concept that intellectuals discuss over latte. Nor is it a topic for science fiction novels.

Survival is that live-or-die feeling that emanates from our deepest desire to continue our life. It is the deepest instinct of human kind and the entire animal kingdom.

We joke about “the apocalypse” and zombies and “the end of the world,” and yet, due to our ability to adapt and to condition ourselves, we live all the time with factors that threaten our very survival. But we address those factors, and we modify and change, and hopefully, we survive.

Human society stands … Read More

Survival Value of Coins

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We’re all so busy, rushing around from place to place in our modern world that we forget things have not always been like this, and – if history is any clue – things will not always be like this either.

Money makes our day-to-day life go forward, and most of us handle most of our transactions these days electronically, or with plastic. (Does anyone write checks anymore?)

With even a simple blackout, most businesses are unable to function. They couldn’t take your money if they wanted to, because their registers are all requiring electricity.
With a severe blackout, credit cards would be useless, though some merchant (and fellow traders) might accept paper currency. At least for awhile, regular coinage would … Read More

Learning about Mushrooms


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Recently, when my “Foraging Oregon” book was released, one person criticized that it did not include mushrooms in the book because “mushrooms are part of foraging.” Obviously, the person didn’t actually read the book, and so he missed my reasons for not including mushrooms in the book. Yes, some mushrooms are easily identified, like chicken of the woods, yet there are many lesser-known related species in the “safe” groups can cause sickness if not processed right.

Mycology was the science that obsessed me the most, before botany, and back in the early ‘70s, mycologists were few and far between. Besides getting every book on the subject, I also joined the Los Angeles Mycological Association, and spent many weekends in fields … Read More

“Survivalist,” “Prepper,” “Bushcraft,” “Minimalist,” etc. — what the hell are we?

Christopher with Catherine at Hollywire TV

Christopher with Catherine at Hollywire TV

Recently, I did a little segment for a show called Hollywire TV and they introduced me as a “prepper.” I did a little segment showing survival skills for L.A. Korean TV recently, and they called me a “survivalist.” Back when Ron Hood was alive, I was occasionally paired off with him in newspaper articles – I was called a “soft survivalist,” and he a “hard survivalist.” I have been called these things and more, such as a bushcrafter, a nature man, a wilderness survival expert or teacher, a re-enactor, someone lost in the past, and many more names and titles, both “good” and “bad.”

As survival skills in general have gotten so popular, partly … Read More

Earthquake Toilet Test


[This is an excerpt from my “Squatter in Los Angeles” book, available from Kindle, or as a pdf from www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com. It has received the highest accolades from Dude, more or less.]

The reason I was living there in Highland Park was because I was attracted to the work of the non-profit, whose stated goal was to research and share all aspects of “survival.” I took on a project of experimenting with the practicality of using an alternate toilet, such as would be necessary in the aftermath of a major Los Angeles earthquake.

We purchased an inexpensive RV toilet from Big 5, and it consisted of a simple 3 gallon plastic bucket which fit into a larger bucket, which had a … Read More