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Monday, April 15, 2019

Ideas for DIY Root Cellars, Home Defense Shotguns

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources



"Chuck Norris doesn't dodge bullets, they dodge him." 


Home Defense Shotgun Still Your Best  Bet in My Book

In a real-world, home-defense scenario where it’s just you against an unknown number of assailants, being stealthy can increase your odds of survival. If an attacker doesn’t know where you are—or if you’re even around—he’s less likely to harm you. Sure, there are times when making some noise could help you, but because you don’t know for sure, it’s usually best to remain silent in an attempt to get the upper hand.

 So, until any actual shooting starts, the shotgun itself should be made silent, you should practice noise discipline in your movements and your plan of defense should involve the element of stealth. Here are a few points to consider.

First off, make sure your staged shotgun, with whatever accessories you choose for it, is inherently silent. Some shotguns—especially some of the semi-automatic, piston-powered guns—naturally have some clanking parts to them. To tell if yours does, hold your gun, rotate it up and down and shake it. If it clanks, find the problem and remedy it if possible, or find another shotgun. If your setup wears a sling, make sure the swivels aren’t squeaky. If they are, oil the friction points, then give it a wrap of duct tape. Make sure your spare shells don’t rattle in whatever spare-shell holder you choose. (This is another good argument for a sidesaddle-type shell holder.) Moleskin, rubber bands and duct tape are your friends if any of your gear rattles, clicks or clanks during training—where you should find this stuff out. Just remember to practice with them to make sure your gear still works as intended.

Nearly all serious hunters know how to load, shoot and reload their shotguns with the least-possible noise. When hunting wild turkeys, for example, if a hunter mistakenly snicks off a safety when the bird is in range, that hunter will most likely be going home empty-handed because the turkey will run off before the hunter can shoot it. Rather, the astute hunter learns how to work a trigger-guard safety between the thumb and forefinger so it’s totally silent. Mossberg-style tang safeties are a little more difficult, but it can be done with practice. You should practice with your shotgun until reloading it and taking it off “safe” becomes second nature and silent.

If you need to check your shotgun to make sure it’s loaded, practice this until you can do it as silently as possible. Remember, several semi-automatic shotguns—like Benellis—have rotating bolt heads that need to go all the way back into battery or they won’t fire. Know what fully back into battery looks, sounds and feels like, or else you run the risk of hearing the loudest click you’ll ever hear. And then practice checking and reloading with the lights out.

Current NRA Director of Education and Training Eric Frohardt stresses the importance of moving through your house (if you must) stealthily.

“Any firearm manipulation should happen before you start a patrol, so the biggest stealth challenge is simply walking around the house without making noises,” says Frohardt. “There are a number of squeaky spots in my home and I actually practice avoiding them.”

You should, too. Also, think about the little things like opening door handles quietly and being aware of your shotgun’s muzzle so you don’t bang it into every door jamb. Like everything else, this requires practice.

Lastly, while most home defenders will be doing good to wake up in the middle of the night and coherently grab a shotgun and a flashlight, if you could opt for one more thing, it might be a pair of sneakers. Sure, socks are quieter, but socks are dangerously slippery on bare floors. Sneakers are quiet, provide traction and offer protection if you must dash outside, walk over broken glass, fight or whatever.

Building a cellar can be a daunting task, but I found that it’s well worth the effort.

This is something I’ve pondered for quite some time & have reviewed it from many perspectives…in particular, I do not want to alert local township officials of what I am up to for privacy reasons and they sure as hell don’t any more fees from me!

The size and construction preferences are different for everyone. Some cellar systems are nothing more than a buried metal trash can and others are rooms with concrete floors and shelving. No matter what the perfect cellar system is, the first steps are the same.

Budget and Needs Assessment

If I am a single person looking to store just enough vegetables to last through winter, burying metal cans is the best answer for me. Large families need more. Decide how much space is needed. Do not forget to account for the space you need to store any non-food items. Think medications and first aid supplies.

More often than not, your finances determine how much you can get done. Determining the budget for a project and making that budget fit what I want to do can take some creativity. Shop at local home stores, then go online and look for sign up discounts or coupons for percentage off. Coupon codes can make the difference in being able to put in extra shelving or better ventilation.


Cellars need to be at least 10 foot underground to get the most stable temperature and moisture to optimize the storage of fresh food. Moisture content anywhere above 85% to 95% is ideal. Anything less than those percentages will leave food dry and you will see wrinkled skin on your fruit and veggies and experience food loss.

Outdoor cellars work best with dirt floors. The floors should be packed earth, not loose dirt. Stay away from trees when you build your cellar. Roots grow and can compromise the integrity of walls in a dirt cellar. Use wood shelving. Wood does not conduct heat or fluctuate in temperature the way that metal does. Metal stabilizing poles are fine, but don’t use metal to store food on.

Concrete floors are better in an attached cellar like a basement. A great place to convert to a cellar is cisterns that were built on to homes outside city limits in the Southeast US in the 1950-70’s. I‘m not talking about farmhouses, these homes could be less than 500 feet outside city limits. In the 1980’s most of these homes stopped using cisterns once the city annexed their neighborhood or county water became available. These cisterns dried up and became the perfect place to use as a root cellar.

Cisterns were built with a block wall separating the water reservoir from the basement. By knocking out a doorway and modifying the existing ventilation, you can get a large root cellar with minimal investment.


For ventilation you need two pipes coming from your cellar. One needs to be high up in the cellar to vent gasses and warm air. The other pipe will come in lower to the ground to introduce cooler air thus stabilizing the airflow within the unit.

I highly recommend investing time into building a cellar. Having a cool place to store some produce and the foods you’ve canned is important, especially if you have no basement or your basement doesn’t stay cool. Check out “The Complete Root Cellar Book” by Steve Maxwell and Jennifer Mackenzie. It has detailed plans and tips to successfully build a cellar.

10 ft. x 6 ft. Below-Ground Tornado Storm Shelter [Home Depot offers several sizes/costs]

Inexpensive Root Cellar, Easy to Build in Your Own Back Yard, Will Protect Your Life and Preserve Your Supplies in the Next Crisis [Fee-based]

15 Free Root Cellar Plans DIY


Yours in Self Reliance,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom - and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.
-Benjamin Franklin


A Final Note…

Contributors and subscribers enable the Poor Man Survivor to post 150+ free essays annually. It is for this reason they are Heroes and Heroines of New Media. Without your financial support, the free content would disappear for the simple reason that I cannot keep body and soul together on my meager book sales & ecommerce alone.

Useful Resources

Old ammo cans are incredibly useful if you're a prepper. They're designed to be sturdy, stackable, waterproof, and easy to transport (with handles on the top and the front). That's why militaries have been using them for decades.

There are several sizes and shapes, but they all have the same basic design which hasn't been modified since the 1950s. If you're a prepper, you should consider acquiring some ammo cans as they have many uses in addition to storing ammo.

In this video, Sensible Prepper comes up with 25 uses for ammo cans. Here's his list...

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Won't Help You Live Longer, and Could Cause Harm: Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals can lower your risk of an early death, but they should come from food instead of supplements, a recent study suggests
Baby Boomers Face Retirement Crisis — Little Savings, High Health Costs and Unrealistic Expectations: It’s National Retirement Planning Week, which means it’s time for another round of depressing stats about how unprepared we all are for retirement
We’ve already told you for a long time Alexa spies on you and this bears repeating [your cell-phone photos Geo-tags your locations]

Hidden Data in Your Photos Exposes Your Personal Information

Whenever you use a digital camera, whether it be the one in your smartphone or a conventional camera, each picture is encoded with a lot of identifying information. And when you post the picture online, you are sharing it with the world. This includes the date and time the picture was taken and sometimes even the GPS location. Here are ways to prevent this identifying information from being recorded

You Can’t Buy Life Insurance After You’re Dead-Prepare NOW for Emergencies…

Finally, grab an emergency power cell or solar/battery radio weather radio!

Having the Patriot Power Cell on-hand for emergencies keeps your essential electronics up and running in case you need to call for help. 

“The Cell is a workhorse of power — it’ll charge your phone soup to nuts 3 to 8 times… I think of the Patriot Power Cell as “everyday prepared.” Awesome for travel or avoiding inconveniences while saving your bacon in an outage. It’s a MUST HAVE for your survival lineup."

10,000 mAh Battery/Water Resistant/2 LED Flashlight/1.5 Watt Solar Panel/6-Hour Charge Time

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Ray said...

I'm with you in that I would want to construct a "fruit cellar" on the 'QT' - no need for local bureau-twits to know what I am up to. All they want to do is collect more money & record into a public database what I have on my private property-enough of that BS! We didn't need that crap when constructing storm cellars & related underground 'non-living' spaces & and I'm not about to start now. Hell, in some places you need a permit to build a damned dog house!

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Bob said...

Although a short barreled shotgun is what I too keep at home for self defense, I still keep a 5-shot .38 bedside for easy access and use along with a small high beam flashlight for night time break-ins. I am a very light sleeper & keep smoke bombs handy too as I'm upstairs & can flip these down the steps to confuse intruders along with other alert systems we have in place. Good stuff as always.