Food Shortages and Inflation: How to Survive

Find us on social media:

(Disclosure: some links below may be affiliate/referral links. This means that we receive a commission/store credit if anyone purchases through those links. It does not change the price for the consumer but is an easy way to support Black Rifle Homestead, so we can continue to create free content for you!)

Economic Uncertainty

If you’re an average American, nobody needs to tell you that we are in a very unstable economic environment right now. You’re seeing grocery costs go up and the phenomenon of “shrinkflation,” and you practically have to sell your first-born in order to fill up your gas tank. If you have an infant, chances are you are having problems finding formula. You may be changing your driving habits and foregoing certain products or foods in order to stretch your budget. Very few people are unaffected by inflation.

If you prefer to consume content in video form, check out our YouTube video below:

Unfortunately, we probably haven’t seen the worst of it yet. According to a report by pollster Frank Luntz, we are less than 2 weeks away from an “inflation explosion.” See video embedded below. But the bottom line is: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Coming Food Shortages?

In the video above, Mr. Luntz points out that while prices are outrageous, we’re still able to at least get the food we need right now. They’re available for the most part. But the real problem comes when we can’t even buy food because it’s not there. I write this in order to prepare you. We must be aware of what’s happening so that we can steward our families well.

We’ve already heard about the coming global wheat shortages due to both the war in Ukraine and crop failure in the U.S., particularly in Kansas. According to an article by NPR, “many fields planted with wheat months ago now look like barren wastelands.” They won’t have any wheat to harvest, let alone sell. Combine that with the crop failure in the Ukraine, and the result could be disastrous.

The average American consumes around 180 pounds of wheat in a year, or 0.49 pounds per day. This is not just bread consumption: wheat is found in many products at the grocery store, as are other major crops like corn and soy. Now, if you’re a family like us where you have a family member (I, Malori) who needs to be gluten-free, wheat consumption is considerably lower for us. We hardly buy any products with wheat in it since I do the majority of grocery shopping and cooking. The same goes for soy since it is not a healthy food product.

There are a couple ways to deal with this coming scenario: 1) change your diet so that wheat is not part of it (i.e. go gluten-free); or 2) stock up on flour or preferably wheat berries. The latter lasts a much longer time (flour can go rancid quickly) and it is much healthier to grind your own fresh wheat. (If you do store wheat berries, make sure you have a grain mill in order to grind it into flour!)

Wheat is not the only major food source failing in the U.S. – Kansas again in particular. Just last week, thousands of Kansas cattle died due to extreme heat. (The website estimates about 10,000 cattle.) This couldn’t have been worse timing. Beef is a major staple for Americans as well and is a great source of calories, protein, fat, and nutrients.

Like what you’re reading so far? Please share with a friend!

How to Have Food Security

So you get the picture that things are turning dire. You are now probably wondering: what should I do to avoid famine conditions and to provide for myself and my family in the months to come? Taking steps NOW is key to not only your survival but thriving through the storms ahead. The sooner you start acting on these tips below, the better prepared you will be. Starting yesterday is best, but starting today is better than tomorrow.

  1. If you haven’t started a garden, start TODAY! Gardens can be grown spring through fall in most places of the U.S. You don’t need a lot of land to produce a significant amount. Use fences, wire panels, or wooden pallets to create vertical gardens for plants that grow tall or like to climb (like beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peas, and winter squash). Consider a community garden if there is a parcel of land shared by several neighbors. If you have very limited space, use your front/back flower beds for growing edible plants instead of ornamentals. If you live in an apartment or don’t have any yard, use a space-saving vertical growing container on your porch or deck, like the Greenstalk. (If you use our referral link to buy a Greenstalk, you will get $10 off your purchase of $75 or more!)
  2. Start learning different food preservation techniques as listed below.
    • Canning: The basics to know is that there is water-bath canning and pressure canning. Water-bath is for acidic foods or foods that can be made acidic: tomatoes, jams, and pickles. Pressure canning is for non-acidic food: meat, soups, beans, carrots, and most other produce. You can have separate water-bath and pressure canners, but to save money just get a pressure canner and you can also use it to water-bath. We have the 23-quart Presto pressure canner. (Use our affiliate link and coupon code TAKE20 to get $20 off your purchase of $150+ from Lehman’s.) It’s important to always follow USDA-approved recipes for food safety reasons. Canning books by Ball are reliable resources (this is the one we have). I also love Melissa K. Norris, a 5th generation homesteader. She has a blog, YouTube channel, and podcast. Make sure to stock up on canning jars and lids/rings! If you see them on sale, GET THEM. There have been canning supply shortages over the past couple of years.
    • Dehydration: This is an extremely easy and cheap way to preserve food. It’s my go-to method for preserving fresh herbs! Leafy greens can be dehydrated for making into greens powder, fruits can be made into dried fruit or fruit leather, and you can even make jerky in a dehydrator. (The Excalibur is a favorite in the homesteading community.) We have a simple round dehydrator machine that was a hand-me-down. You can also dehydrate using dry warm air or in the oven that is turned down to a very low setting.
    • Freezing: This is another easy way to preserve food, though it’s not the most reliable way in an emergency. Think power outages, rolling blackouts during the summer, etc. We like to keep a deep freezer stored full of meat from a cow share. I also like to freeze shredded zucchini and pumpkin puree since those are not safe for home canning. But don’t rely solely on freezing.
    • Root cellaring: Many types of produce can be stored in their whole, raw form for many months if kept in the right conditions. Each item will have its own specifications – some like drier air and some need a little moisture, some need colder air than others, some need to be cured, etc. But some examples of produce that can be stored in a root cellar are: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, onions, and winter squash like pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash. (Think about how long whole fresh pumpkins last just sitting out on your porch in the fall!) Root cellaring is by far the least expensive and easiest way to preserve food, if you have the right environment for it.
    • Freeze-drying: Going to the other end of the spectrum, freeze-drying food is definitely the most expensive way to preserve food because a freeze dryer costs several thousand dollars. (The Harvest Right freeze dryer is a dream purchase for us!) But if you have the means to procure one, freeze drying is by far the BEST way to preserve food because it can last decades if stored properly, and it’s light and doesn’t take up much space. You can use it not just for emergencies but for easy meals on camping and road trips. It would also be more economical to make your own freeze-dried emergency food rather than buying the big buckets. (However if you don’t have the capacity to freeze dry food, buying emergency food from a place like My Patriot Supply is a fantastic idea.)
  3. Create planning space (aka breathing room) for a food emergency. This means purchasing (or making) a one month supply of emergency freeze-dried food, as mentioned above. One month is the bare minimum of emergency food you should have. If you can afford more, then get more. In addition, begin to stock up with shelf-stable foods every time you grocery shop. Just yesterday I bought canned corn, carrots, beets, and spinach – each can was between 67 and 85 cents each. Other shelf-stable items would be: dry pasta, rice, oats, other grains like wheat or quinoa, dry beans, instant potatoes, dried fruit, canned tuna and chicken, canned or jarred tomato products, coffee, tea, applesauce, crackers, cereal, dry milk, etc. Keep in mind to only buy what your family likes and will eat. If you’ve never eaten canned oysters before, an emergency is not the time to try them (though they are nutritious!). If you have a baby that needs formula (or might need formula in the future), stock up on that. For our 10-month-old, we use Mt. Capra homemade goat milk formula. The recipe meets all FDA guidelines for infant nutrition and the ingredients are high quality. Stock up on all these ingredients, as they are shelf-stable. (Make sure to use our referral link and code BRHGOATMILK for 10% off as a new customer!)
  4. Ensure your water sources are clean. This means having a way to purify water even if you have no power. Our favorite is the Berkey water filtration system. Not only does this filter your water, but it can also purify. You can pour dirty pond water into it, and it will take out bacteria, viruses, particulates, and bad odor (among other things). It works without electricity and it’s our day-to-day water filter. The filters can last several years as well! Other ways to ensure clean water are with water purification straws and water purification tablets. We recommend having all three methods – you can’t be too prepared when it comes to life-giving water. In addition, if you don’t have access to a natural source of water (well, lake, creek) keep gallons of spring or purified water on hand as a last-resort. The recommendation is 1 gallon of water per person per day. So for our family of 4, we would need 112 gallons of water to last us one month. Right now the average price of a gallon of water is about $1, so if you slowly buy them over time you will eventually get stocked for a month.
  5. Have your favorite resources printed off from the internet or in book form. What if the power goes down and we can’t access the internet? A family prepper I follow on YouTube suggests printing out all your family’s favorite recipes. Books on medical basics and first aid are good to have, as are books on plant identification and survival skills.
  6. Stock up on basic medical supplies. A basic first aid kit is the least you should have. Make sure to keep things like basic OTC meds (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, Gas-X, Tums, Imodium, Benedryl, stool softener, guafinesin/cough medicine, children’s versions of these things), Bandaids, gauze, medical tape, Quick Clot, medical scissors, tourniquet, topical meds (Neosporin, benzocaine gel, aloe vera gel, sunscreen, anti-itch cream, bug spray), thermometer, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, tweezers, and any natural remedies your family likes. Colloidal silver is a must for us, as are essential oils and manuka honey. If you can, keep extras of any prescription medication your family takes. Some doctors may be willing to write prescriptions that are larger quantities. A couple times a year, go through your stash and discard anything that is expired – and then restock!
  7. Have other basic necessities stocked on your shelves: bath soap, shampoo/dry shampoo, lotion, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, diapers, baby wipes (even if you don’t have a baby), diaper cream, disinfectant spray and/or wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, fire starter and matches, batteries, flashlights, dish soap, laundry detergent, bleach, etc. Consider having reusable products like cloth diapers, cloth feminine hygiene products, and rags in case it’s not possible to buy disposables.
Having Peace and Being Prepared

All of this might seem overwhelming at first. If you mostly live week-to-week with groceries and only have the minimum of what you need on your shelves, all this might seem like a LOT of products to buy and have on hand.

But the truth is that whatever you buy this week is most likely going to be cheaper than what you buy next week and the week after that. If you have more than you need right now, then if we get to a point where some foods are unaffordable or completely unavailable, you’ll be able to ride it out with your stockpile. One way to cut down on costs is to shop at places where you can get money off fuel, like the Kroger brand of stores. The other day I got a dollar off gas which made it $3.69 per gallon – a massive discount these days!!

Shop at membership warehouses like Costco. Buy in bulk from a food co-op like Azure Standard – they have things that stores don’t. If something is on sale, buy double or triple of what you’d normally buy. Keep an eye on circulars and store coupons. Shop from your local farm or farmers market – with fuel increases, staying local will reduce how much the farmers have to charge based on fuel. Consolidate errands in order to use less fuel. Buy 1/4 or 1/2 cow for your freezer. We are still eating on beef we bought in December 2021, when food was vastly cheaper than it is now!

There are endless tips we could give, but that’s it for now. In the end, do the best you can with the resources and knowledge you have. You might be thinking, “But what if it’s not as bad as you’re saying?” To that I say, “What if it’s worse?” Don’t let this instill fear and trepidation. We are called to trust in God and steward our families to the best of our ability. Do what you possibly can, and leave the rest to God. It is possible to have peace in the most turbulent of times!

If you use any of our affiliate/referral links, THANK YOU so much! Nobody is paying us to write these blog posts and it does take time, so affiliate income is one way we make money. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support Black Rifle Homestead. We appreciate you! If you want to hear about any topics in particular, please comment down below! We look forward to providing more helpful and relevant content in the days and weeks to come.

Homestead Preparations in a Nuclear Emergency

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” -Revelation 8:10-11 (NIV)

So what does Revelation 8:10-11 have to do with preparing for a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) emergency? Good question! Apart from prophetic implications for Christian believers, many people find little or no meaning. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. We do know several ancient cultures from the time period the Book of Revelation was written possessed knowledge of biological and chemical warfare. Necessity is the mother of invention and when you are conducting siege warfare on a fortified enemy, the imagination sparks. From simple poisoning techniques against an adversary’s water and food supplies to use of poison gas against enemy troops, there was plenty of inspiration out there. We can glean plenty of information from ancient texts in terms of understanding the factors that drive an event that poisons the water, land, air, and food supply we rely on.

If you prefer to consume content in video format, check out our video below:

Like we mentioned in our previous article on cyber and nuclear warfare, the risk of miscalculation is the primary driver of the evolving threats laid out here – it is a reality we must face. The capacity of both human achievement and stupidity bleed off the pages of history. We don’t have to look too hard to tease out the subtle drivers leading to hapless human-sponsored disasters showing up in places like the Bible. A case in point is the recent news where researchers programmed Artificial Intelligence to generate over 40,000 new and potentially devastating chemical weapons -bad actors around the world now have a new tool to exploit. In other examples, humans trained artificial intelligence systems on data from the Internet with all of its most vile content that we humans generate! Combine that with actions like training artificial intelligence on datasets to more effectively kill humans with chemical weapons and we have a ticking time bomb. We aren’t saying that “judgment day is inevitable’ as the Terminator coldly states but when we factor in the human capacity for stupidity and violence, it is difficult not entertain the thought.

Why prepare? Just read the news. As we predicted in our previous article, Russia is threatening to park nuclear weapons in the Baltics in response to Finland and Sweden planning to join NATO. We see that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasing the nuclear warfare threat between nations while serious questions remain regarding current deterrence measures. We see Russian forces haphazardly disregarding several nuclear reactor sites in Ukraine to include the infamous 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. In case you weren’t tracking, the Chernobyl site is still very much a threat to Europe and the world. Did you know large amounts of radioactive material went missing in Ukraine? More than enough to manufacture radioactive dirty bombs.

Find what you are reading interesting so far? Please share it!

The fear and concern are justified. We are seeing increased demand for bomb shelters around the world. If you have serious cash flow and capital to spare, you can ride out any long duration emergency in style with one of these aristocratic bomb shelters! Yes, while the bombs fall overhead, you can work on your backstroke in your very own underground swimming pool for a cool $10 million. Don’t forget to invite family, friends, and us if you decide to drop several million bucks on these insane bomb shelters like these by Atlas.

Basic Steps to Prepare:

(Disclosure: some links below may be affiliate/referral links. This means that we receive a commission/store credit if anyone purchases through those links. It does not change the price for the consumer but is an easy way to support Black Rifle Homestead, so we can continue to create free content for you!)

  1. Understand the threat to your locale – educate yourself and ask questions
    • This resource gives a visualization of a nuclear blast for your locale.
    • This resource can help you understand the nuclear fallout potential at your location. Take for example Dallas, Texas. The prevailing winds are from the south and the calculation assumes a ground detonation of a 100-kiloton nuclear warhead on a population center (Dallas). I recommend using a planning factor of 20-100 kiloton yield based on this FEMA resource. Note that the radioactive fallout from a ground detonation is significant and follows the prevailing winds well into Oklahoma. Another point of significance is that Russian strategy prefers ground detonations in the target country’s breadbasket regions to make the soil unusable for crop production through substantial radioactive fallout.
    • Read this FEMA resource for better understanding of the planning factors in response to a nuclear detonation. Many apply to your homestead especially if the threat is radioactive contamination from a dirty bomb detonation.
    • Basic rule of thumb from the FEMA resource:
      • If possible, move perpendicular to the fallout zone – based on the prevailing winds for your locale – within 10-20 minutes after initial detonation. If movement is not possible, then shelter in place.
  2. Shelter in place considerations. (Depending upon the duration of nuclear attack and other factors, you could be sheltering in place for 9 days or more until the radiation falls to safe levels.)
    • Have a primary, secondary, and tertiary method for power generation in your homestead. (Battery generators from Goal Zero are highly recommended.)
    • Have potassium iodide tablets readily available (carefully read instructions from the CDC before consuming). If you already have a stock of these, check expiration dates periodically and resupply when needed.
    • Immediately begin filling bathtubs with water.
    • If you find yourself in a fallout zone, then you must get as much material as possible between you and the outside wall of your home for radiation shielding. Deep basements or interior rooms are best.
    • Turn off air conditioning units and close windows.
    • Have an emergency radio on hand for further instructions from local, state, and federal authorities. (Check out this one for another option.)
    • Buy and store at least one month of food for your family (take into consideration calorie needs per person). We recommend My Patriot Supply for freeze-dried food that lasts up to 25 years! Until April 30th, 2022 they are offering $50 off a 4-week emergency food supply. You can also stockpile canned and bulk dry foods. Or have both, like we do on our homestead!
    • Purchase a water purification device to filter water in your water heater. (Plan on city water being unavailable or contaminated.) Berkey is our day-to-day water purifier of choice – it sits on our counter and requires no electricity. We also recommend keeping a portable water purifier in each person’s emergency bag. These are very affordable.
    • Stockpile respirators, protective clothing, tarps, essential medication, medical supplies, and duct tape. (These will be needed to create a “clean room” for decontamination.) My Patriot Supply carries survival gear in addition to emergency food. Lehman’s is also another good resource for emergency supplies (and other wonderful homestead products!).
    • Anyone or anything that you bring inside your homestead during the fallout period will probably have radioactive contaminates on the body, hair and clothing. Thorough washing is required with regular soap and water. Remove and discard clothing. Pro-tip: Do NOT wear hairspray or hair gel in order to avoid radioactive particles from sticking to your scalp and making you ill.
    • Purchase a Geiger counter and monitor levels. Also consider having a dosimeter that can be carried in your purse or wallet.
    • Have a trash removal plan that accounts for you not leaving the interior of your home.
    • Have a plan for chemical toilet (e.g., kitty litter, plastic bags, and a couple buckets).
  3. EMP considerations (see here)
    • Rule of thumb: EMP damage to electrical equipment will extend several miles from the blast center and is dependent on several factors.
    • I recommend keeping your back up radios, and other important electrical devices in this faraday bag or something similar.
  4. Communication and aftermath
    • Understand the signs and symptoms of acute radiation sickness. (Many of your neighbors will not be so fortunate and may not fully appreciate the threat – fallout may only appear as fine dust and fool many into going outside too soon.)
    • If able, maintain a neighborhood communication network using HAM radio, satellite phones, or cell phones (if still working) to share news and information. Like a well-functioning neighborhood watch, it is smart to meet with your neighbors before an emergency like this to go over details and PRACTICE.

It is good to hope for the best, but the smart homesteader prepares for the worst. Like when we see an approaching storm with the potential for damage (tornadoes, high winds, etc.) we make preparations as best we can in the moment. For more serious scenarios like nuclear war, we can and should start now with our preparations because we see warning signs on the horizon.

If you are still reading, I’ll leave you with this eerie tidbit of information that ties back to the Bible discussion at the beginning of the article: Chernobyl means wormwood in the Ukrainian tongue. Pleasant dreams.

If you like this article, please share!

How to Prepare for Cyber Warfare in the United States

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” – Unknown

“A prudent person sees evil and hides himself; But the naive proceed, and pay the penalty.” -Proverbs 27:12

The purpose of this article is to help those seeking wisdom and understanding to begin thinking of plans and preparations for the months and years ahead. The recommendations given are not exacting which means they are largely dependent on your location, environment, family size, previous training, skills, judgment, and resources available. As the world lunges ahead into an uncertain future, many hope for a future where the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is put back in his box by crippling economic sanctions and our personal lives return back to business as usual. Unfortunately, hope is not a plan.

If you prefer video format or want to get right to our tips for surviving cyber warfare, check out our YouTube video below:

Subscribe to Black Rifle Homestead on YouTube!

The Threat & Rise of the Soviet Union 2.0

As I write this, the world remains in disbelief at the ongoing full-scale Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Such brazen aggression is sadly reminiscent of Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Although some historians may disagree, I argue that history does not repeat but it does rhyme as evident by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The thread of continuity between Poland 1939 and Ukraine 2022 is the inherent unpredictability of the relevant dictator (Hitler and Putin). However, the environment of 1939 did not have as many domains of warfare (e.g., cyber, space). First-world countries like the U.S. in 2022 are heavily reliant on our cyber and telecommunication infrastructures for power, water, banking, communication, and transportation of goods and services. To add complexity, world economies are deeply connected to this cyber and telecommunication infrastructure. Our adversaries (e.g., Russia, China, Iran and North Korea) know all this and watch the news cycle.

For broad context on the indicators and warnings below, several background factors should be kept in mind. Russian conventional strategy (i.e., escalate to deescalate) was developed by Vladimir Putin to justify the use of strategic conventional weapons and – if needed – tactical nuclear weapons in war. There is already significant risk for escalation to another world war due to factors such as fog of war and mistaken identity in the current battlespace with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries bordering Ukraine. These factors alone can inadvertently trigger NATO Article V (i.e., an attack against one NATO country is an attack against all). A NATO Article V declaration against Russia basically means world war. The Russian economy and many European countries are heavily dependent on Russian oil and natural gas exports and is probably why Putin made a deal with China on a large gas pipeline deal during the 2022 Winter Olympics (i.e., Putin was preparing for the inevitable economic sanctions that would come with an invasion of Ukraine). The Kremlin (i.e., Putin) views the NATO as an existential threat to Russian sovereignty and wants to fracture the NATO alliance. Weakening the NATO alliance can occur through capturing and controlling large swaths of Ukrainian gas infrastructure which supplies critical energy to several NATO countries. Russia and China are considered highly capable cyber threats and may select to cooperate unofficially with Iran and North Korea to wage crippling cyber-attacks against various Western (e.g., U.S. and NATO) targets. If such cyberattacks were attributable and directly led to loss of lives, then Article V would be invoked. Alternatively, there are a variety of Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic (DIME) levers and other factors that can serve as off ramps to world war if employed with wisdom. There are also the unknown factors surrounding Putin’s health and lack of succession plans after Putin’s death. Many astute observers have detected a sharp and recent change in Putin’s speech patterns – if that change is due to some kind of health decline, the risk obviously increases for miscalculation and world war. If Putin has become unstable while still in control of the Russian nuclear arsenal, then the world is in great peril. Even if Putin dies in the near term, a world crisis involving Russian nuclear weapon proliferation can quickly erupt without a clear Russian succession plan.

Several potential indicators and warnings are unfolding in the news cycle:

  1. Ukrainians are putting up more resistance than Putin probably anticipated while some of the Russian invasion forces are mired in logistical problems (e.g., poor sustainment planning leading to Russian invasion convoys running out of fuel). Comment: This is significant because Putin is reportedly becoming more enraged and unstable by his lack of progress and has already selected to go scorched earth (i.e., employ his escalate to deescalate strategy) on Ukrainian targets using his conventional strategic weapons such as ‘vacuum bombs‘.
  2. For the first time ever, the NATO Response Force (NRF) was activated with an estimated 40,000 troops. Comment: From the standpoint of the adversary (Putin), the activation of the NRF along with crippling economic sanctions (e.g., removal from the SWIFT banking system) is likely viewed as an escalation by U.S. and NATO. At this moment, the Russian economy is in ruins with the Russian Ruble worth about one U.S. cent. Putin’s rhetoric and actions indicate that he is planning to use his ‘escalate to deescalate’ strategy in some form as evident by putting his nuclear forces into special combat readiness. Another form this strategy may take –as Putin may have indirectly threatened – is launching a series of nonattributable cyber-attacks against U.S. and NATO energy infrastructure and banking systems.
  3. Putin already identified potential future invasion targets in his recent speech justifying the invasion of Ukraine and marking the rebirth of the communist Soviet Union (e.g., Former Soviet satellite states such as Poland and the Baltic countries).
  4. The NRF activation may serve as Putin’s future justification to reposition Russian Ground Forces along the Western borders of Russia and Belarus under the pretext to protect the Russian Exclave of Kaliningrad from NATO aggression. Comment: There are also unconfirmed reports that Finland and Sweden want immediate admission into NATO given the invasion of Ukraine. NATO expansion will be viewed as an existential threat to Russian sovereignty and would be another pretext for Russia to counter with its own escalation.
  5. Several NATO countries invoked NATO Article IV discussions. Comment: Discussions are partially due to the burgeoning humanitarian crisis from millions of Ukrainian refugees entering NATO countries. There is a real possibility that Russian maligned actors and saboteurs will attempt to infiltrate NATO countries using the refugee flow as cover.
  6. Due to a host of factors, the U.S. is currently experiencing an economic downturn with record inflation and gas prices. Comment: Hybrid war includes economic warfare against a vulnerable target country’s economy such as the U.S. Such economic warfare may come from more than one adversary (e.g., the Chinese Communist Party).
  7. Belarus is setting the information space to justify joining Russian Ground Forces in the military offensive against Ukraine and stationing Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. Comment: Permanent stationing of Russian Ground Forces with nuclear weapons in Belarus indicates Putin’s intent to engage in his ‘escalate to deescalate’ strategy. These repositioned Russian Ground Forces would then be used to threaten follow on invasions into NATO territory. These invasions would likely follow Putin’s pre-invasion model of Ukraine.

Given the threat described and the increased probability that Putin will select a ‘escalate to deescalate’ strategy against U.S. and NATO, we can expect a series of cyberattacks before the end of 2022. We will likely see a deepening strategic alliance between Russia, China, and Iran given the West has effectively isolated and canceled Russia over Putin’s Ukraine invasion. If NATO Article V is invoked against Russia, then we can expect a limited nuclear war. Nuclear war and the subsequent nuclear winter is the worst-case scenario and is possible given the threat.

What Happened to the Power, Water, & Cash?

Any society can be brought to its knees by interrupting its power, water, and banking system fidelity especially in the cold of winter or heat of summer. Maligned cyber actors have a variety of known tools to attack U.S. and European telecommunications and power infrastructure systems such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and wiper attacks recently seen in Ukraine. Kremlin backed ransomware attacks are clear centerpieces in any subsequent cyberattacks against U.S. or NATO. Many security experts speculate that the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last year was a Russian dry run / response test. Russian intelligence agencies are well known for co-opting criminal cyber groups / private Russian citizens to maintain plausible deniability and non-attribution for the Kremlin (i.e., Kremlin deception is the likely modus operandi for publishing arrests of Russian cyber criminals of the Colonial Pipeline attack).

Maligned cyber actors such as Russia have been surveilling for vulnerabilities in the U.S. energy grid for years. Some reports characterize the level of vulnerability to the aging electrical grid as the U.S. living in a glass house. Essentially, U.S. vulnerability from a cyberattack is high due to our energy grid’s dependence on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems of software and hardware. A good example of computer worm attacking a SCADA system is the now open sourced Stuxnet virus – and, yes, any maligned actor in the world had around a decade to study and upgrade the Stuxnet source code since anyone can access it on the Internet. Stuxnet ended up destroying several Iranian centrifuges by subtly changing speeds of the centrifuge spin. On March 15, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert that the Russian government had engineered a series of cyberattacks targeting American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems. This Wall Street Journal article goes into detail on the methods used by Russian hackers to surveil and exploit vulnerabilities in the U.S. electrical grid back in 2017.

As a general rule, the more a system is automated and dependent on connectivity to computers (e.g., the Internet of Things [IoT]) the more it is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Effective and wide-ranging cyberattacks on the U.S. can trigger dire second and third order effects. Such cyberattacks can trigger several weeks of disruption to banking services, telecommunication, power, and water for large portions of the U.S. Those citizens that are unprepared will panic within a week after the attacks. Other effects stemming from the cyberattacks are civil unrest, food riots, famine, and an increase in criminality. The impact on the value of the U.S. Dollar and economy must also be taken into consideration so expect severe economic instability. Understand that regional supermarket distribution warehouses may stock up to 72 hours of foodstuff for distribution to local supermarkets. Once those foodstuffs are depleted, real panic for those unprepared will set in. Preparing for a cyberattacks’ impacts on utilities (gas, water, and electric) is similar to preparing for a long duration storm.

Rules of Thumb (Preparation)

Some links below may be affiliate links. This means that we receive a commission if you use our link to purchase, but it does not increase the price for you. Thank you for supporting Black Rifle Homestead!
  1. Prepare your home for a cyberattack. It may sound simple but look to improving your cybersecurity posture. Create strong passwords, have updated anti-virus software, and avoiding overuse of IoT devices (like Bluetooth-enabled devices, Alexa devices or Google equivalent, etc.).
  2. Stockpile at least 1 month supply of food, water, and required medications to last each member of the family. Dried food with a long shelf life is best. Based on your budget and resources, 3 to 6 months is ideal. For a higher level of self-sufficiency, have a stock of heirloom seeds to grow your own food – True Leaf Market is a great source. For water, remember that your home water tank has roughly 30 gallons of water. Have at least two means of purifying the water you do have available such as Berkey or LifeStraw.
  3. Have a secondary means for maintaining safe temperatures within your dwelling if your utilities go down. If you are reliant on utilities, consider purchasing a home generator or a wood burning stove especially for winter. 2-3 cords of hardwood kept in a dry location should last 3 to 4 months for a wood stove.
  4. A home well stocked with food and water is only a free store for criminals absent any defenses. Consider purchasing a handgun and/or 12-gauge shotgun for home defense. Ensure you receive training on safe use, storage, and handling of your firearm/s.
  5. Make friends with trusted neighbors now. Build a community and coalition of those willing to ride out the storm. Building a local community base of support is critical to mental resilience especially during hard times. Community is an important layer of security for your homestead and cross leveling important skills, tools, shelter as needed.
  6. Stockpile barter items. Bartering will be important in your community if banking systems are unavailable. Typical barter items might include car batteries, cigarettes, alcohol, ammunition, cash, gold, silver, extra food, and water purifying systems such as LifeStraws. Learn other exotic methods of exchanging goods and services such as Hawala. Such ancient financial networks are useful to local communities with no banking support.
  7. Get survival and emergency medical training for each capable member of the family. It is important that routine cross training among family and community members occur with these skills.
  8. Communication is always value added: If budget and time allows, consider purchasing a Ham or Shortwave Radio system.
  9. Make your preparations as nondescript as possible. You do not want to draw unwanted attention to yourself or your family when panic has set in after any attacks. If you must travel or go anywhere for essential supplies – become the Gray Man. I recommend Gray Man Concepts for more information. For example, the Gray Man will appear to be homeless in a crowd of desperate food rioters, or the Gray Man will speak like the rioters to avoid conflict or robbery. Displaying flashy jewelry and expensive items like wristwatches will make you a target.
  10. Stock up on paper maps and learn to read them.
  11. Medical supplies such as masks, bandages, and pain medications should be on hand. Consider purchasing a 1-month supply of potassium iodide tablets. In the event of nuclear war and subsequent fallout, you will need to protect your most vulnerable organ in that event -the thyroid -from exposure to radioactive beta particles during periods of nuclear fallout. The good news – nuclear war is survivable. Check out the website for further information about how to survive a nuclear blast.

“But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but are you unable to discern the signs of the times?”-Matthew 16:2-3

We Bought Our Seeds! | 2022 Garden Seed Haul

If you’ve ever gardened, or even thought about gardening, the most exciting place to start is when those seed catalogs arrive in the mail. It’s the cold winter, there’s not much, if anything, to be done in the garden, and spring seems really far away.

But when those seed catalogs arrive in your mailbox – or in these modern days, digital catalogs in your email – your eyes light up and spring suddenly doesn’t feel so far away, right? You might spend hours pouring over the seed catalogs, circling each variety that sounds appealing, just like you did with toy catalogs as a kid at Christmas.

After coming down from the catalog high, it’s time to get down to business and REALLY figure out what you’re ACTUALLY going to plant this year. If you’re like us, a military family who constantly moves and doesn’t have a bunch of acreage, then you don’t have unlimited space (or time!). You have to be strategic and plant things you’ll actually eat or use in some way. (Luffa sponges, anyone?)

I, Malori, just released a new video on our YouTube channel, vlogging my journey of buying our seeds for 2022. I chose 3 places at which to buy the seeds: True Leaf Market, Burpee, and….the Dollar Tree! Yes! If you have a really tight budget you still can garden, as seed packets at Dollar Tree are only 4 for $1.

Gus helped film the final segment of this video, in his tractor PJ’s of course. 😉

Go check out the video above! But if you’re more the reading type and you’re curious as to what we bought this year, keep on reading.

Dollar Tree Seeds

Here are the seeds that I bought at the Dollar Tree:

  • Red Cored Chantenay carrot (heirloom)
  • Sugar Snap pea (heirloom)
  • Habanero pepper
  • Cayenne Long Slim Red pepper
  • Early Summer Crookneck yellow squash (heirloom)
  • Genovese basil
  • True lavender
  • Bright Lights Mixed Colors cosmos
  • Crackerjack Mixed Colors marigold
  • Clarke’s Heavenly Blue morning glory
  • Semi Dwarf Pumila Mixed Colors zinnia
  • Giants of California Mixed Colors zinnia

True Leaf Market Seeds

This was the first time buying a large seed order from True Leaf Market. All these seeds are heirloom varieties, except for the calendula.

  • Thai basil
  • Kentucky Blue pole bean
  • Chiogga beet
  • Pacific Beauty Mixture calendula
  • Danvers 126 carrot
  • Iceberg Crisphead lettuce
  • Marconi Red pepper
  • Poblano Ancho pepper
  • Sugar Pie pumpkin
  • Cinderella pumpkin
  • Watermelon radish
  • Spearmint
  • Giant Noble spinach
  • Luffa Sponge
  • Gardeners Delight tomato
  • Mortgage Lifter tomato
  • Costata Romanesco zucchini

Burpee Seeds

The final place we purchased seeds from this year was Burpee. Some are heirlooms and some are hybrids.

  • Scarlet Runner pole bean (heirloom)
  • Tall Utah 52-70 R Improved celery
  • Armenian cucumber (heirloom)
  • Honey Plus Hybrid cucumber
  • Greek oregano
  • California Wonder sweet pepper (heirloom)
  • Small Sugar pumpkin (heirloom)
  • Fourth of July Hybrid tomato
  • Rutgers tomato (heirloom)
  • Blacktail Mountain watermelon (heirloom)
  • Sure Thing Hybrid zucchini

In addition to all these new seeds, we have leftover seeds from 2021 gardening and a few packets I purchased at random times but are still unopened. Not every single seed that we have in inventory will be used this year, as I learned things last year – both in what did well here in Kansas and what was consumed. One of our goals this year is to harvest enough bounty for both fresh eating and for preserving – particularly canning!

That’s it for our 2022 garden seed haul! What are YOU most looking forward to planting in the spring? Did this post give you some ideas on what to buy? Make sure to head over to your favorite garden store or online seed company ASAP because the most popular seeds are selling out!

Happy seed buying!