Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

LAST CALL on Mountain House Food

Last call on Mountain House freeze dried food before the company's spring/summer production changeover to pouches and government contract work ...

We thought we had placed our final group-buy bulk order several days ago, but with continuing strong demand, we're going to place one FINAL "final order" in the next few days to take care of our friends. And this time we mean it!

Anyway--whether you want in on the 3-case buy or you want any other canned MH product, order right now, please. Any further delay may very well leave you waiting till fall to take delivery.
Get Ready ... Seriously -

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A New Zealand Prophet of Imminent Collapse

I'll tell you what .... right now, enough people are thinking in these terms that I can barely come up for air (Safecastle's buyers club and shelter business are running me ragged).

The end is nigh

HELEN HARVEY talks to a prophet. - Taranaki Daily News Saturday, 19 April 2008

It's probably true that people don't want to hear things like "our current food system is totally unsustainable and on the point of collapse". But it's also true that Kevin Moore doesn't present his message in a way that is easy to understand. He interrupts himself, he changes the subject half-way through a sentence and goes off on tangents.

Ask him to explain his theory in two or three sentences. He doesn't. He doesn't even answer the question. "It's not a theory! Take out that word - it's not a theory. I'm presenting facts."

And news reports from around the world are telling a story similar to his. A shortage of food in Haiti has caused riots and deaths. Time magazine devoted six pages in its April 21 issue to biofuels and the resulting strain on grain supplies. Many of the subjects he talks about are regularly recurring themes in such respected journals as Nature and New Scientist. In New Zealand, the price of food and petrol has been steadily increasing.

Kevin Moore is famous for saying the end of the world is nigh.

He reckons he has never said that. What he says is the end of life as we know it is nigh.

New Zealand's current way of living will disappear sometime in the next three to five years, he says.
Peak oil and the world food shortage are the main problems, but there are other factors contributing to a future crisis - it's phosphorous, it's the money system, the water supply, the entire economic system.

The oil supply has peaked and is on the way down.

"Our society is totally dependent on oil, so without oil, it cannot function. Your food supply will be gone. You won't have anything to eat."

Take bread for an example. The tractor that ploughs the wheat field needs oil to function. A tractor is used to sow the field, harvest the crop and a truck transports it to the mill.

If the wheat needs to be dried, it is done using oil or natural gas.

Electricity is used to grind it and to work the ovens that make it into bread or biscuits.

"The whole system's dependent on using energy at about 100 times the rate we should be using it."

The age of oil will last about 150 years, he says, and it started in 1859.

"The crucial point isn't when oil runs out, it's when the supply starts to run down. That started in 2005. We're on the slippery slope."

Some of the predictions he's seen are pretty grim.

"It could be a matter of weeks. If there is an oil shock, the ships just stop coming to New Zealand."

About 15% of the oil used in New Zealand comes from here, so there will be some supplies, he says.

The run-on effects include the fact that trucks will stop delivering food to the supermarkets and that the tourism industry will be completely down the drain.

"It could be next year. I can't tell you exactly."

The very best case scenario is probably 2015. By then, the oil supply will be down to half what it is now, he says.

"You may recall, last year, I said the end of the world as we know it is coming very soon ... it happened August, September last year. That's when it happened. That was the end of the world as we know it."

In August and September, oil went up in price and the start of the meltdown of the American economy began.
"The meltdown started last August."'

Kevin Moore was born in England in 1950. He studied chemistry at the University of Surrey, graduating with an honours degree in 1972. "One of the things they dealt with on that course was resources depletion."

In 1974, he emigrated to New Zealand and arrived in New Plymouth in 1976. He left in 1991 for an attractive job offer in Napier - that didn't turn out that well, he says. He was then enticed to Auckland.

"That was a big mistake. I ended up trapped there."

He came back to New Plymouth in 2006. In 2007, he unsuccessfully stood for mayor.

He has two adult children. His daughter agrees with his philosophy, but she lives in the north of England, so isn't in a position to do much about it.

"My son was in denial for a long, long time, but about 18 months ago, the penny dropped. He said, Yeah, you're right, Dad."

In the future envisaged by Kevin Moore, people are going to be divided into two groups, those who perish and those who survive. "Survivors are people who know what is happening and they are preparing for the real future."

The perishers are the people who don't know what is happening, or don't care, or who believe that everything will carry on exactly the same. When oil runs out, work is going to dry up and people will lose their jobs.
"Finally, you'll starve to death."

People need to prepare for the loss of employment and then the shortage of food, he says.

They should stop spending their money on overseas holidays, jet skis, new cars, the latest DVDs anything that is not going to be of use to them, he says.

"The point is, you need decent-size land. You need to do anything you can to increase your ability to feed yourself."

He suggests people who live in an apartment buy pots and start growing lettuce, but then he backtracks.

"I'm not offering false hope to people, because if you're in an apartment block, you're f-----. There's no way you could possibly grow enough to feed yourself on the balcony of an apartment block. You have to relocate yourself somewhere that does have land."

Everyone needs to use money effectively now. Don't leave it in the bank or a finance company or the sharemarket, he says.

"Because if you do, it will be gone."

He brandishes a report showing graphs of a falling sharemarket.

The finance system isn't going to hold up, he says. How many finance companies have gone bust in New Zealand in the past year? At least a dozen. If Kevin Moore had been elected New Plymouth mayor at the last election, he says he would have stopped all spending on anything that is unsustainable, "particularly artworks and tourism and all that stuff".

"We are using up our last resources on artworks for the park, walkways, a centre to display artworks. Total insanity.

"I would have got community gardens, permaculture education centres set up now."

He would have demonstration plots and a centre to teach people the skills needed.

"This is stuff I proposed to the council and they took it off the agenda."

The window of opportunity to prepare for what he says is the inevitable is closing.

"It takes three or four years to grow fruit trees, so if the shit is going to hit the fan in 2010, which it is, maybe even 2009, and you haven't got your trees planted now, it's too late. That window of opportunity is gone."

Finance institutions are collapsing. Some people have already missed the opportunity to get their money out, he says.

"Anything you want to do will be harder next week than it is this week. It will be harder to do next month than it is the next month, much, much harder to do a year from now than it is now, because the price of oil and petrol is going up."

Kevin Moore is unemployed - has been for 18 months.

It's difficult to get a job: "The council won't employ me, because I'm telling the truth."

He has a degree in chemistry, but the chemical industry has vanished. And in the culture of youth, anyone over 40 isn't wanted, he says.

He is spending the last of his savings, cutting back, hardly buying any food. He has a scooter. He might use his car once a week and estimates he spends $5 a week on fuel.

Since buying his property 18 months ago, he has spent between six and 18 hours a day, seven days a week, working on his section and planting his future: macadamia, feijoa, loquat, orange, guava, lemon, grapefruit, tamarillo, pepinos, figs, apples, blueberry, cape gooseberry, strawberries, persimmon, corn, beans, chillis, carrots, peas ...

"I have no source of proteins other than eating snails and worms and I'm not into that at this stage."

People keep telling him to build a chicken house, but he says there's a flaw in that logic.

"The chicken system is dependent on imported grain. There is a shortage of grain. The prices are going up."

Many poor countries are struggling to get enough rice for their people, he says. "One of the reasons is biofuels. America is now using about a quarter of its grain crop to keep the cars running. The last thing we should be doing is keeping cars going or planes."

Kevin Moore plans to put barbed wire along the top of the fence that surrounds his property.

"I can do all this stuff and some marauding band comes along and kills me to get my food. Hence you have to think about the security thing."

It will come to that unless the community wakes up, he says, because people won't have anything to eat.
"All I'm telling you is facts, not my opinions."

By 2012, it will be pretty well over for everything. There's not much time.

New Zealand is in a far better position than many countries because of water, low population and its environment.

Life in the future will be similar to that in the 14th century, if we're lucky, he says - stone age if we are unlucky.

"I have changed the lives of at least 100 people. One person read my book, bought some land, planted fruit trees. My efforts have raised awareness, but most people are unreachable. It's easier to do nothing.

"I've been preparing for this mentally for the last five years. I've been preparing physically for the last 18 months."

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Essentially, They are Saying, "Prepare for a Nuclear Attack"

Once again, the basic message being communicated about widespread disaster remains cryptic, yet quite apparent--Prepare your household, as no cavalry will be there to answer your distress calls.

Read the whole Washington Times article by clicking on the article title below ...

Nuclear attack on D.C. a hypothetical disaster
by Gary Emerling
April 16, 2008


A nuclear device detonated near the White House would kill roughly 100,000 people and flatten downtown federal buildings, while the radioactive plume from the explosion would likely spread toward the Capitol and into Southeast D.C., contaminating thousands more.

The blast from the 10-kiloton bomb — similar to the bomb dropped over Hiroshima during World War II — would kill up to one in 10 tourists visiting the Washington Monument and send shards of glass flying the length of the National Mall, in a scenario that has become increasingly likely to occur in a major U.S. city in recent years, panel members told a Senate committee yesterday.

"It's inevitable," said Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia, who has charted the potential explosion's effect in the District and testified before a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "I think it's wistful to think that it won't happen by 20 years."


However, the experts emphasized that the explosion would not impact most of a major city and that in many cases, residents could remain safe by not evacuating immediately and clogging area roadways.

"It is also expected that, due to lack of information getting to the public, many people will try to flee by car or on foot, often in the wrong direction, again exposing themselves to high levels of radiation, as vehicles provide virtually no protection," Mr. Carter said.

Mr. Dallas said a major problem facing most cities is a lack of available hospital beds for victims of burns that would result from a nuclear blast. He said up to 95 percent of such victims would not receive potentially life-saving care.

"We're completely underprepared," he said. "Most of them will die."


Area officials have spent millions of dollars in recent years to develop evacuation plans and stockpile emergency supplies after a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said local preparation for a disaster was "not sufficient."


"We are confident that the District is prepared to respond to a catastrophic incident affecting the District," Mr. Darnell said.

Still, Mr. Dallas said the majority of victims in a nuclear explosion will likely have to fend for themselves in the first hours after an attack.

"These people are going to be on their own," he said after the hearing. "There's no white horse to ride to the rescue."

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Headlines to Make the Imagination Wander

I know there are still a whole lot of people out there who are blissfully unaware of the spiraling state of our comfortable existence. But day by day, their numbers are shrinking.

Even those who are not in the habit of staying up on current events, through their weekly trips to the grocery store and their stops at the gas station, are finding cause for some well-warranted level of alarm.

Personal experience aside, today, a cursory review of the headlines adds to a rapidly heightened awareness ...

Today, April 15, 2008, I see these bold headlines at just a couple of mainstream news sites:

"Oil Sets New High Above $113 a Barrel"

"Wholesale Prices Soar in March"

"Foreclosures Jump 57% in Last 12 Months"

"House Prices Decline at Record Levels"

"Food Costs Rising Fastest in 17 Years"

"Wave of Bankruptcies in Retailing Causes Alarm"

We could go on, but what's the point? The reality is sinking in and being absorbed by even the most insulated of consumers. Things are changing--for people around the world, and yes--here too in America.

The time we have left to prepare wisely is short. As more folks jump in to play catch-up, the faster the supply-side situation becomes critical and unresponsive.

Scary? Yes. But reality increasingly sucks.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Businesses More Responsive than Government Providing Necessities After Disaster

Makes sense ...

Empowered to 'do the right thing,' employees gave away supplies and offered sleeping space after the 2005 hurricane. Local knowledge allowed big-box retailers to respond before FEMA could.

Hurricane season is just around the corner, so Americans should know where to turn to if disaster strikes. It's not the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A new study suggests Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's would be a lot more helpful.

The study, by Steven Horwitz, a professor of economics at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., stresses that successful disaster relief depends upon responders having detailed knowledge of a local area and the right incentives to act on that knowledge.

Examining federal and private responses to Hurricane Katrina, the study says why FEMA was destined to fail and why for-profit companies succeeded at disaster recovery.

It also looks at the Coast Guard -- the only federal agency lauded for its Katrina performance -- which rescued more than 24,000 people in the two weeks after the storm.

Local knowledge critical The study says Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's made use of their local knowledge about supply chains, infrastructure, decision makers and other resources to provide emergency supplies and reopen stores well before FEMA began its response. Local knowledge enabled the big-box stores to make plans ahead of the storm and then put them into effect immediately.

"Profit-seeking firms beat most of the government to the scene and provided more effectively the supplies needed for the immediate survival of a population cut off from life's most basic necessities," Horwitz wrote in the study, which was published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "Though numerous private-sector firms played important roles in the relief operations, Wal-Mart stood out."


Get Ready ... Seriously -

Sandia Study on Pandemic Indicates Just 28% Worker Absenteeism to Shut Down Freight System

Statisticians, scientists, and eggheads of all persuasions will be pleased to find more than enough data in this study to pore over. Most folks though, just want to get to the bottom line.

In a nutshell, in a pandemic, if the freight industry (ports and railways in particular were looked at in this study) experiences a level of absenteeism of 28% or more, we can figure on the whole freight-carrying system to grind to a halt. You might want to think carefully about what that would mean.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Friday, April 11, 2008

FREE CELOX with Qualifying Mountain House Purchase--Till April 15 Only

It's a very busy time at Safecastle these days. The frail global economy and the developing food crisis are two very strong motivations for people to be laying in supplies.

As always, we're here to take care of our friends and members first and foremost.

We recently pointed out the Mountain House freeze dried food situation. As a reminder:
  1. Oregon Freeze Dry is again raising their prices this summer.

  2. As scheduled, they will be switching over their production lines to other product lines starting May 1. But as a result of current excessive demand for #10 cans, they expect their backorders on those products to immediately reach 3 months. (In the meantime, this month, orders are delivering promptly, within three weeks.)

  3. Our three-case variety package buy is in swing. We have our initial bulk order of food in stock and will be starting to ship next week to our customers.

Bottom line, Mountain House cans are about to get harder to lay hands on ... and when you do find some available, they will be pricier. We continue to offer all MH products at the maximum allowed discount, plus we ship free to the lower 48. Those things will not change.

However, we do try to help you along sometimes with a little something extra. So, for the next few days only ...

Through April 15 (or until supplies run out), we are sending one FREE pouch of CELOX to folks for every 6 cases of MH cans (36 cans) purchased during this special offer period!

Any six MH cases will do. ... Two of our 3-case kits get you a FREE pouch of the life-saving wound hemostatic agent, CELOX; one of our 8-case packages gets you two free pouches of CELOX; a 25-case order gets you 4 pouches; etc. (To see our buyers club pricing, mouse-over the main listing image).

Log-in to your member account, make your Mountain House purchase, and the CELOX will automatically be sent.

Still need to become a Safecastle Royal Buyers Club member? Make the membership purchase first. It's a $19 lifetime membership that gets you 20% or more off all our listings all the time, plus FREE shipping to the lower 48 on everything we sell!

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Rice Prices Climbing, Hoarding Becomes a Punishable Offense

Once again ... this is just the leading edge of what is coming, to include continuous food price hikes and worsening supply problems in the USA. There are no near-term solutions on the horizon.

Rice jumps as Africa joins race for supplies
By Javier Blas in Nairobi and Roel Landingin in Manila
Published: April 4 2008 15:23 Last updated: April 4 2008 19:22

Rice prices rose more than 10 per cent on Friday to a fresh all-time high as African countries joined south-east Asian importers in the race to head off social unrest by securing supplies from the handful of exporters still selling the grain in the international market.

The rise in prices – 50 per cent in two weeks – threatens upheaval and has resulted in riots and soldiers overseeing supplies in some emerging countries, where the grain is a staple food for about 3bn people.

The increase also risks stoking further inflation in emerging countries, which have been suffering the impact of record oil prices and the rise in price of other agricultural commodities – including wheat, maize and vegetable oil – in the last year.

Kamal Nath, India’s trade minister, said the government would crack down on hoarding of essential commodities to keep a lid on food prices. “We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible measures, including using some of the legal provisions that we have against hoarding,’’ he said on Friday.


Get Ready ... Seriously -

Thursday, April 03, 2008

How Far Can We Fall?

Excellent article here:

"Will a Pandemic Bring Down Civilisation?"

05 April 2008
From New Scientist Print Edition
Debora MacKenzie

FOR years we have been warned that a pandemic is coming. It could be flu, it could be something else. We know that lots of people will die. As terrible as this will be, on an ever more crowded planet, you can't help wondering whether the survivors might be better off in some ways. Wouldn't it be easier to rebuild modern society into something more sustainable if, perish the thought, there were fewer of us.

Yet would life ever return to something resembling normal after a devastating pandemic? Virologists sometimes talk about their nightmare scenarios - a plague like ebola or smallpox - as "civilisation ending". Surely they are exaggerating. Aren't they?


Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

U.K. Media Making the Call--"U.S. Depression"

There are those outside U.S. borders who are of course anxious to cast stones in our direction. But obviously, worsening economic conditions here are reaching very difficult levels.

USA 2008: The Great Depression

Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive – a sure sign the world's richest country faces economic crisis.

By David Usborne in New York
Tuesday, 1 April 2008

We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families.

Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

The increase – from 26.5 million in 2007 – is due partly to recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit cards. But above all it is the pressures being exerted on ordinary Americans by an economy that is suddenly beset by troubles. Housing foreclosures, accelerating jobs losses and fast-rising prices all add to the squeeze.

Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes. But now the crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's economic health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story.

Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry, has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in 2000. "We have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, but we have also seen it climbing more in recent months," Maureen Sorbet, a spokeswoman for Michigan's programme, said. "It's been increasing steadily. Without the programme, some families and kids would be going without."

But the trend is not restricted to the rust-belt regions. Forty states are reporting increases in applications for the stamps, actually electronic cards that are filled automatically once a month by the government and are swiped by shoppers at the till, in the 12 months from December 2006. At least six states, including Florida, Arizona and Maryland, have had a 10 per cent increase in the past year.

In Rhode Island, the segment of the population on food stamps has risen by 18 per cent in two years. The food programme started 40 years ago when hunger was still a daily fact of life for many Americans. The recent switch from paper coupons to the plastic card system has helped remove some of the stigma associated with the food stamp programme. The card can be swiped as easily as a bank debit card. To qualify for the cards, Americans do not have to be exactly on the breadline. The programme is available to people whose earnings are just above the official poverty line. For Hubert Liepnieks, the card is a lifeline he could never afford to lose. Just out of prison, he sleeps in overnight shelters in Manhattan and uses the card at a Morgan Williams supermarket on East 23rd Street. Yesterday, he and his fiancée, Christine Schultz, who is in a wheelchair, shared one banana and a cup of coffee bought with the 82 cents left on it.

"They should be refilling it in the next three or four days," Liepnieks says. At times, he admits, he and friends bargain with owners of the smaller grocery shops to trade the value of their cards for cash, although it is illegal. "It can be done. I get $7 back on $10."

Richard Enright, the manager at this Morgan Williams, says the numbers of customers on food stamps has been steady but he expects that to rise soon. "In this location, it's still mostly old people and people who have retired from city jobs on stamps," he says. Food stamp money was designed to supplement what people could buy rather than covering all the costs of a family's groceries. But the problem now, Mr Enright says, is that soaring prices are squeezing the value of the benefits.

"Last St Patrick's Day, we were selling Irish soda bread for $1.99. This year it was $2.99. Prices are just spiralling up, because of the cost of gas trucking the food into the city and because of commodity prices. People complain, but I tell them it's not my fault everything is more expensive."

The US Department of Agriculture says the cost of feeding a low-income family of four has risen 6 per cent in 12 months. "The amount of food stamps per household hasn't gone up with the food costs," says Dayna Ballantyne, who runs a food bank in Des Moines, Iowa. "Our clients are finding they aren't able to purchase food like they used to."

And the next monthly job numbers, to be released this Friday, are likely to show 50,000 more jobs were lost nationwide in March, and the unemployment rate is up to perhaps 5 per cent.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Food Supply Fears Growing

I bounce around in cyberspace from time to time, visiting interesting forums and blogs mostly. A few of you have perhaps seen recent posts out there in which I am seemingly going alarmist with regard to the current food supply situation.

Some may think it's some kind of self-serving hoo-hah. I understand that. That's why I've always tried to stay grounded and unattached to most of the scares-of-the-day that roll in and roll out regularly.

My mantra has always been to get prepared ... to do it in a way that fits your budget and to do it over a period of time, systematically, logically. Get there and you'll find peace of mind ... so whether you ever have to count on your preps to actually survive, you will certainly have at least gained the assurance and well-being that comes with preparedness.

Well, I've now reached the conclusion that the time for that approach is past. There is growing panic in the preparedness and food marketplaces, and I believe it's becoming more plainly visible even at the local grocery store, etc., now.

My own company and my preparedness-providing peers have been swamped with brand-new near-panic-stricken buyers for the last couple of months. Supplies of many types are dwindling--and in some cases gone now. Prospects for replacing many of the stocks are at least a few months off. That of course assumes that demand levels off.

The problem is, there is no sign that will happen. In fact, panic begets more panic. It feeds off itself. As supplies become harder to get and prices rise, more and more people become determined to get "theirs".

We're seeing it now. The fear out there is getting to me. I'm as fully prepared as I can possibly be, but I mull what all this means to our communities, our relatives, our country. That's what is scaring me more than anything else right now.

I've been trying to find a counterbalance among my peers out there--my own suppliers, etc. I want someone, anyone, to tell me that there is a light at the end of the quickly darkening tunnel. I've gotten a couple of small "maybes" attached to big "ifs". MAYBE things will turn around for the better by fall IF a bunch of things go just right in the ag and economic worlds and no other wrenches are thrown into the works.

But all are telling me confidentially that my company should buy as much food and prep stock as I can afford right now before further price spikes and stock depletions put the whole business at risk. Also, unbidden, they are saying that I need to buy as much of the kind of food at the grocery store that I normally depend on to feed my family as they see panic buying about to become the norm, quickly magnifying the food shortage issues.

To put this plainly--I am not finding the reassurances or hope I desperately have been seeking. So I am relaying this info now to you, my friends. Buy groceries and food, buy other daily necessities as much as you can afford now.

I feel like the guy with the sandwich board that says "the end is near".

I doubt it's the end ... but that's not the point. There is a strong probability that feeding people in America is about to become a far different proposition than what we are all used to.

Consider that as being a burden dropped off my shoulders at your feet.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mountain House Prices Rising, Backorders Soon to Go to 3 Months

ACT Now to Get Your Best Pricing and Quick Delivery ...
TWO Brand New MH 3-Case Variety Kits to Choose From!

Added NOTES: -- Oregon Freeze Dry will again be raising Mountain House food prices this summer. No surprise, since of course all food prices are skyrocketing, including MH's supplier prices. So consider that in your emergency food planning.
-- By May 1, Mountain House canned foods will be on backorder for up to 3 months due to very high demand and the transition of OFD's production capacity to products for their other markets. In mid-April, however, we are still seeing orders being delivered within the normal 2-3 week period.

April Group Buy

We're conducting another one of our ever-popular Mountain House group buys ... this time on TWO brand new 18-can, 18-variety packages. Choose either one or both and get the widest variety of top-quality emergency storage foods available, at the lowest possible legal price.

You can't get these anywhere else.

We put them together for our best customers only, and this time, we're offering two different packages.

Members get their standard GIANT discounts, AND FREE shipping to the lower 48. (Members--be sure to log-in before adding anything to your shopping cart to have your discounts applied. Email me if you need your log-in info.)

To join the buyers club, it's just a one-time $19 fee--and you get 20% off everything in the store plus free shipping to the lower 48 all the time!

This group buy will run through April. The 3-case kits are already shipping out to our customers as early as April 14.

Check out all the details on this unique limited-time opportunity in our new store:

Whether you buy-in on these special three-case deals ... or you opt for some of our other excellent packages ... or you decide to custom-build your own order from our MH listings ... do please consider acting soon before we are again forced to increase our prices and/or MH backorders extend to several months.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

H5N1 Critical In Indonesia; New Strains Emerging, Pandemic Form in Sight?

Lest we forget there is more to disaster than just economic meltdown ...

Bird flu in Indonesia could mutate into human form: UN agency

Tue Mar 18, 12:14 PM ET
ROME (AFP) - The bird flu situation is "critical" in Indonesia, where the virus could mutate and cause a human pandemic, the UN food agency warned on Tuesday.

"The prevalence of avian influenza in Indonesia remains serious despite (national and international) containment efforts," the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement.

The FAO's chief veterinary officer, Joseph Domenech, said he was "deeply concerned that the high level of virus circulation in birds in the country could create conditions for the virus to mutate and to finally cause a human influenza pandemic."

H5N1 is endemic across nearly all of the sprawling archipelago nation, and of the total 105 human deaths reported there, 11 have occurred this year alone.

"The human mortality rate from bird flu in Indonesia is the highest in the world, and there will be more human cases if we do not focus more on containing the disease at source in animals," Domenech said.

"Indonesia is facing an uphill battle against a virus that is difficult to contain," the statement said, urging improved surveillance and control measures.

"We have also observed that new H5N1 avian influenza virus strains have recently emerged, creating the possibility that vaccines currently in use may not be fully protecting poultry against the disease," Domenech warned.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Preppers Everywhere Shifting into High Gear

At the risk of pointing out the obvious ... people everywhere are now getting VERY serious about laying in supplies and gear for lean times ahead. Prices are going up fast, risks are growing in the marketplace, and the world geopolitical dynamic is more precarious than ever.

I say this to our friends now--it is too late to be ahead of the wave crashing in to shore, but if you start paddling right now, you can catch it and ride in with the crowd on that leading edge moving enmass to get crisis preparations completed.

Suppliers everywhere are being swamped with orders. Products are increasingly on back order. And everyday now the customer orders pile up.

Act without further delay if you need something to complete your storage program--food, gear, whatever it is. You may have to wait a bit to get your order completely filled, but the alternative is far worse.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Check Out Our New Buyers Club Store

We've been working for months on getting a whole new buyers club website up and running that would be a bit more useful and customer-friendly.

Our brainchild is now squirming around at

Buyers club members are registered there and they should have received their log-in info March 11 by email (passwords have changed from the previous store site). Members, please email me at if you need your new login info again.

1. We have a bunch of new products in the new store.
2. Member pricing is more evident (mouse over the main product listing image).
3. And no coupon codes are required, as once you log-in, your discounts will be applied.

We used a web template made for wholesale businesses. Wholesaling is a reasonable facsimile of what we do with our buyers club, so it served as a good model, and we believe the resulting site is an upgrade from the previous store (which is still live for the next couple of weeks at In two weeks, assuming nothing major emerges as problematic at the new store, it will be moved to the safecastleroyal domain and the old store will be taken down.

* One cool thing that is new is the integration of video into the store. We have added several to the site, to include a club-intro video and several product-related videos. More will be added as we find good ones.

Hope you'll visit and have a look at what we've added.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Female 19-Year Old Medic Earns Silver Star in Afghanistan

Bravery comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, and genders ...

By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer

CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan - A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.

After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.

"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.

Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later this month. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April 25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.

"We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag," Brown said.
She started running toward the burning vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had scrambled out.

"I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire," Brown said.

Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in frontline combat roles — in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.

Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army's Web site.

Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.

"So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."

For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away, treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary."

The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Friday, March 07, 2008

This Man's Mountain House Stockpile is at 30-some Years and Counting

From the September 2007 Idaho Observer

Mountain House: Food that has lasted half a long lifetime

by Paul James

Photo caption: Paul James, 85, standing beside some 200 cases of Mountain House freeze dried food. Purchased and trucked all the way cross country from Oregon in 1975, this "mountain" of food was recently pulled down from where it was stored for 37 years. This photo was taken July 29, 2007, moments before the mountain was loaded into a moving van headed back across the country to Idaho.

The year was 1975. At that time many Americans were concerned that the Cold War with Russia could turn hot. People all over the country were building bomb shelters in their backyards and storing large quantities of food.

I was one of them. I didn’t build a shelter, but I did order $10,000 worth of Mountain House freeze dried food to be delivered to my home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. When the shipment arrived from Oregon, my family sampled some blueberries which we all liked. After that the food was stored in the attics of our house and garage. There it rested until August, 2007.

My wife and I are in our 80s and our daughters, who live in Idaho, felt it was time we joined them. In August, 2007, we moved with all of our belongings and 227 cases of 37- year-old Mountain House freeze dried food.

First we opened a can of peas. The moment I heard the swish air flowing into the can and felt their pellet-like hardness, I was convinced no air had entered the can for 37 years. The peas were fine. We checked the blueberries and found them to taste exactly as we remembered them in 1975; the strawberries also kept perfectly. Since then we have twice served the scrambled egg mix. The added flavor of butter and salt were perfect to our taste.

Are we again approaching uncertain times that could affect the food supply? Will my decision to "stock up" during the Cold War 37 years ago soon be transformed from folly to fortune?

In any event, it is an honor to be in a position where I can safely say that freeze-dried food packed by Mountain House in 1975 (#10 cans, six cans per case), is still perfectly preserved after all these years.

Note: Several sources are reporting that food grains will be in short supply this year because farmers have planted so much government-subsidized, GMO corn for ethanol.
JC: The math is wrong in this article--"75 to '07 is 32 years, but the main point is, the stuff lasts "forever."
Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

$5 Gas This Year?

Posted on Mon, Mar. 03, 2008
Experts fear 'corn shock' ahead for economy
Los Angeles Times

The nation’s growing dependence on corn in fuel as well as food could put the nation in perilous economic straits in the event of a Midwestern drought, economists say.

“We are replacing price volatility from the Middle East with Midwestern weather price volatility,” said Michael Swanson, a Wells Fargo & Co. vice president and agricultural economist.

Corn is a key element of the U.S. food supply. Dairy cows eat it to make milk, and hens consume it to lay eggs. It fattens cattle, hogs and chickens before slaughter. It makes soda sweet. As the building block of ethanol, it is now also a major component of auto fuel.

Analysts warn that a “corn shock” could lead to $5 gas and $3.50 eggs as the effects reverberate across the economy.

It could happen as soon as this summer.

“The risk of a drought right now is higher than normal because of the La Niña we are seeing,” said Bruce Babcock, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University, referring to the cooling of ocean temperatures that often has a drying effect.

Such would occur against a backdrop of soaring prices for basic food items and other commodities that are already stressing the economy. Coffee, platinum and oil prices are already up dramatically.

After a torrid 2007, corn prices have risen an additional 20 percent this year because of global demand for livestock feed, sweeteners and ethanol. The rush by American farmers to forgo other grains to plant cash-producing corn, along with weather problems, has squeezed wheat supplies, pushing the price of that grain up 21 percent. Soybeans have risen 25 percent.

Analysts are already simulating what would happen if a drought hit the Corn Belt. Babcock estimates that corn could reach $8 a bushel from $5.46 now.

As any farmer can tell you, Mother Nature is fickle. The U.S. has suffered four major weather disasters since 1971 that wiped out 21 percent to 29 percent of the corn crop at a time.

Bad weather, including droughts, scorching heat waves and cold, cloudy spells at just the wrong time, has reduced harvests by billions of bushels. Previously, these disasters have raised food prices. The next drought will be the first to affect gas prices.

That’s because ethanol — mostly refined from corn — will make up about 6 percent of the nation’s gasoline supply this year, and that’s expected to rise to 10 percent over the next five years.

But if there were a crop shortfall, the rising price of corn would prevent ethanol distillers from earning a profit, prompting them to slash production, Babcock said.

Oil companies would have to scramble to fill that sudden gap with conventional gasoline. Prices would soar for both fuels, said Philip Verleger Jr., an energy economist in Aspen, Colo.


Get Ready ... Seriously -

Monday, March 03, 2008

OK ... But what's the BAD News?

When the going gets tough, and all that ...

U.S. Faces 'Unusually Complex' Security Environment, Intel Official Says

(PressZoom) - WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2008 – The Pentagon’s top intelligence official today told a Senate committee the United States is operating in a security environment that is “unusually complex.” During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee here, Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, presented an analysis of current and future threats facing the U.S.

“That threat spectrum is bounded on the one side by traditional nation states with significant military inventories, and on the other by non-state terrorists or criminal networks that exploit the gaps and seams between nations, cultures, laws and belief systems,” he said.

Outlining what he called “trends of concern,” Maples said current threats include weapons of mass destruction, increasingly sophisticated and longer-range ballistic missiles, improvised bombs and suicide weapons, outer space and cyberspace vulnerabilities, and underground weapons systems produced by potential adversaries.


Get Ready ... Seriously -