Well Our Destination Is Final! Wyoming Is Where We’re At.

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Well after a recent move for a job in Wyoming it looks like this will be our home base now. We will be offering new items in our store soon so be sure to check that out. We may begin some classes and workshops in the area East of Gillette. So if your in the … Continue reading Well Our Destination Is Final! Wyoming Is Where We’re At.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: Surviving an Active Shooter

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has produced a video presentation on Surviving an Active Shooter. As the site ActiveShooter.lasd.org states the likely hood of being involved in a situation is low. But as we all “should” know is that it is better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best than be passive and assume everything is fine in the world. The video is at least an effort by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to try and education the populace.

Are other county sheriff offices in America done the same? If so let us know we will post it as well.



Using Bulk Stored Goods – Taco Seasoning and Corn Bread

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Recently, I made it home from work before my wife did. Since she’s such a trooper in dealing with all the things that make most folks look at me in a strange manner (at least living here in town), I thought it would be nice to make something for dinner. Doing a quick poll on […]

17 Tips To Start Your Homestead Right

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Welcome! It’s so fabulous that you’re here and I hope we can get to know each other better. I want you to know that you can homestead – it doesn’t matter where you live, really! City, town, village or completely rural? You can do this. There are urban homesteaders, living in the heart of major cities.  There […]

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5 Accessories to Enhance Your Hunting Trips

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Hunter Accessories

Spring is prime turkey hunting in several states and typically the first hunt of the year for avid outdoorsmen. But it’s also the time of year when hunters take inventory on equipment and make upgrades and additions when necessary.

5 Must-Have Hunting Accessories:

Technology has made hunting accessible to more people and streamlined several processes that used to require a lot of time and effort. These five items are sure to enhance your 2015 hunting experiences.

1. Magellan eXplorist 350H GPS System

Magellan tested the eXplorist 350H in the most remote parts of Alaska to ensure functionality and accuracy regardless of terrain and location. The eXplorist 350H, in conjunction with a subscription to satellite imagery service DigitalGlobe, allows you to scout your hunting grounds prior to arrival. There are more than 30 pre-programmed waypoints for plotting trails, landmarks, animal tracks, and other observable land features.

The eXplorist 350H is waterproof, gets 18 hours of power on two AA batteries, and is durable enough to survive being dropped on hard surfaces. Your next hunt will be more enjoyable and productive with the eXplorist 350H at your fingertips.

2. Brunton Hydrogen Reactor Charger

Long days of sitting in a blind waiting for that perfect shot mean your smartphone, tablet, and other devices are going to need a charge at some point. While portable solar chargers are great during the daytime, they are useless after sunset. But the power of hydrogen can be utilized 24/7.

The hydrogen cores of the Brunton Reactor Charger combine with oxygen in the air to produce enough power to charge any USB-compatible device. Granted, at five watts the Brunton Reactor Charger provides less punch than the typical 12-watt iPhone charger. It will take about twice as long to fully charge an iPhone, but it can be accomplished under any conditions, any time of day.

3. Nikon ProStaff 7i Rangefinder

The ProStaff 7i was first introduced in 2012 and has continued to gain popularity with hunters. It has two settings for determining shot depth: Distant Target Priority and First Target Priority modes. The previous is ideal for densely-wooded areas, whereas the latter tells you the distance of the target closest to you.

The ProStaff 7i Rangefinder features a 7.5-degree field of view, LED display for easy nighttime usage, and cold temperature functionality down to -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s also water-resistant and fog-proof thanks to its O-ring seals.

4. Replacement Sunglass Lenses

It’s typically around May when Midwesterners can be confident there will be no more snow until autumn. Sunlight and fresh snow lead to blinding reflections that can impede your ability to shoot accurately.

Replacement lenses for your sunglasses can provide total UV and glare protection without sacrificing style. Make certain to purchase impact-resistant lenses and those that repel dirt and moisture.

5. Mud River Blind for Dogs

There’s no better way to keep your hunting companion concealed until it’s time to strike, than a blind. Waterfowl dog blinds by Mud River feature enough space for an average-sized dog to move around inside, while also providing both front and rear entrances. Its pop-up design makes it easy to both setup and take down at the end of the day.

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Op_Ed_SCBY: Op-Ed Contributor – South Carolina

I am privileged to write a periodic blog for the new site, “What’s Between the Lines”. As we move through the next weeks, we’ll explore our changing world from the prospective of finance (perceived value), psychology (why we believe what we believe), preparedness (what’s meaningful and what’s not) and risk (priority vs. urgency).   The narrative will explore current events, trends, and perceived social momentum through the blended eyes of the empiricist and the spiritually influenced. Our goal is not to sensationalize, but to deepen our scope of understanding, thus enabling us to make better decisions in our personal life. I welcome your comments and opinions as we work to give voice to our South Carolina community and understanding to our diverse and dynamic culture at large.

So, let’s begin our journey with current events and a discussion of ISIS. Well, technically we really can’t refer to the ideology any more as ISIS because it’s no longer an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Using the vernacular of medical science, we could however begin to think about ISIS as the modern day index case or patient zero. Geographically, the dogma has expanded to Afghanistan, Pakistan and southwest Turkey as well as the upper latitudes of the African continent, giving rise to the label ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Philosophically, the ideology has gained some traction with the world at large.

The contemporary reemergence of the Islamic Rebel State was readily identified by highly specialized advisory teams for geopolitical risk assessment to the U.S. government as well as NATO, as far back as the late 1970s debate for U.S. aid to the Afghan mujahedeen. The Islamic movement calls for a ‘holy war’ against all those who do not set the Quaran (central religious text of Islam) as the definitive word of a universal God. The holy war seeks the very dangerous goal of Islamic global theocracy, leaving no room for other spiritual disciplines.

The movement is not unique in history as evidenced by the Wahhabis in the early 18th century who waged jihad against non-Muslim beliefs and was eventually defeated by the French. There have been other attempts at proliferating Islamic theocracy in the late 1800s but the movements were unable to gain sufficient traction primarily due to a lack of infrastructure. In the 19th century Czarist military assets put down a similar holy war with extreme predigest responding in kind to perceived jihadist brutality. Historically, forces dedicated to expanding Islamic theocracy have failed because they were unable to create the centralized government needed to organize and finance the campaign. ISIL’s coalition is spiritual; its antagonism is social suppression and wealth accumulation. Aspirations of overrunning the Vatican are greatly exaggerated however, historian David Motadel notes; “we need to recognize where these groups really are. Referring to them as a ‘cancer,’ as President Obama has, is understandable from an emotional standpoint, but simplifies and obscures the phenomenon. Jihadist states are complex politics and must be understood in the context of Islamic history.”

So, is the Islamic theocracy a threat today? I believe the answer is a resounding … yes, and can be counted among many troubling theologies. Past deficiencies of infrastructure are being addressed. Present day jihadist are better funded and more socially sophisticated than any time in history. The bureaucracy uses sophisticated organizational hierarchy and funding comes primarily from oil, human trafficking and proliferation of illegal drugs, with the latter two funding sources seemingly in unlimited supply, and demand. Islamic jihadists employ sensationalized violence to stay forefront in the world news. Proficient now in social media, recruitment has expanded from regional to the world, targeting the misguided who seek social belonging and theological conviction. The seemingly infinite recruiting pool is sustained through domestic and international economic and political dysfunction. Ideologies are no longer constrained by geographic boarders. Individuals sympathetic to causes, unlike any time in history, can easily follow events and participate in the movement through rogue actions or physically join forces as they wish. Economic and political dysfunction, coupled with the industrialized world’s first highest priority of ‘profit’, ensures substantial human assets and sufficient resources to perpetuate the movement, short term.

Of course, no third world force can hope to stand, toe to toe, with NATO, Russian or Chinese military might. Radical Islamic leadership (Boko Haram withstanding) understands this and will certainly attempt to associate tactical defeats by imperialist nations with martyrism.

In the late 1700s the Revolutionary War further evolved the art of war. Instead of opposing forces positioned 200 yards apart on a grassy battlefield exchanging fire, Francis Marion (a South Carolina native), perhaps better known as the Swamp Fox, decided a better way to engage (and survive) a larger and better organized force may be to stand behind a tree or rock, and shoot the opposition from cover. British commanders referred to the tactic as terrorism. This strategy later evolved as guerrilla warfare or irregular warfare and can be very successful for opposition to regular forces as long as the guerrilla forces are sufficiently supported and supplied by the local people.   A good example would be support of allied efforts by the Maquis (French resistance) against Nazi Germany in the mid-1940s. Expanding on the next evolution of guerrilla warfare would be terrorism, a resistance by smaller less organized groups or even individuals. In the example of Frances Marion, we’ve learned that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Therefore, one could easily extrapolate that since Islamic extremism cannot stand toe to toe with regular forces, the movement will have no choice but to resort to terrorism. As economic and theological dysfunction abound, Islamic and other radical ideologies will likely thrive.

In the 3rd or 4th century BC, a philosophy was recorded that loosely translated says, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Islamic radicalism will therefore attempt to unite with existing global social unrest seeking to undermine the social fabric of first world nations. However, by design, DHS and the NSA in concert with MI6, Russian, Chinese and German equivalents will deny the Achilles heel of centralized organization and the ability to finance the efforts. Further, near field communication will enable a cashless society in the next three years (estimate but I believe highly accurate). The immediate goal of this technology will be to transition from the credit card magnetic strip antiquated technology, largely bypassing the newer credit cards with chips that must be in place by October 2015, and move directly to electronic payment (with subsequent implied recordkeeping) through a smart phone. As a side note, it’s interesting that over 40% of U.S. residents do not have a relationship with a financial institution however the saturation rate for smart phones in the U.S. is in excess of 87% by most estimates. Therefore, near field communication used by Apple Pay and in the developmental stage by banks, etc., can and will replace credit cards … soon. So, as the U.S. and others move to this new technology and full electronic recordkeeping, money laundering, financing for terrorism, etc., will dry up. Thus, without the infrastructure of reliable secure communication and adequate financing, the Islamic extremist initiative, as a global initiative, is doomed to failure in the near future (likely 3 years).

Further, any home grown terrorism, beyond the random rogue operative will almost certainly result in immediate Martial Law, with all its implications. (I’ll discuss the insinuations of Martial Law in later blogs.)

Preparedness for U.S. homeland terrorism is however a prudent initiative. Increasing global and domestic social tensions are inevitable. It is a fact that the job of domestic police is to, clean up the mess. It’s not to serve and protect (as evidenced by recent litigation rulings). I encourage everyone to develop situational awareness. Proper licensing, hunting, concealed weapons, passports, etc., are as important as a proper cash reserve and having a 90 day supply of needed meds on hand.

There are dangers that will likely result in a tear in the fabric of our civilization … or the next evolution of our civilization … but that’s a topic for later weeks…

Best Food in Survival Situations

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Which one is really the best homemade survival food, Pemmican or Biltong?

Here is another crowd sourcing interest for the survivalist out there with the hopes of helping other like minded individuals. We want to hear from you if you have made either one of these how long it actually lasts and what you are doing to preserve it for long periods.and let’s see which comes out on top as a good survival food when the SHTF and you’re on the run.


Biltong is a variety of dried, cured meat that originated in Southern Africa. Various types of meat are used to produce it, ranging from beef and game meats to fillets of ostrich from commercial farms. It is typically made from raw fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain.


PemmicanPemmican is a nutritious, preserved food created by Native American Indians. The term Pemmican is derived from pimii, the Cree-Chippewa word for fat. Pemmican consists of a mixture of cooked, dried and shredded buffalo meat, or fish, which is combined with melted fat. The pemmican was tightly packed into a bag made of buffalo skin and used as a convenient type of long lasting food.


The Go-Book: Medical Information

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aesculapian-307609_640This week we are going to be putting in our medical information. Not only will this be extremely helpful in an emergency situation, but it will also be helpful to just have this information written down. Having one location for the phone numbers of your doctors, pharmacists, dentists and the like will make it quite handy when you simply need to give them a call.

We’ve included a few other things under the medical information. If the company you work for gives you benefits, this would be a great spot to write that information down. I had to look it up this week because I wasn’t sure exactly what my benefits covered. You might be surprised at what is covered, like massage therapy.

Here is what we included on our medical information sheet:

Medical Professional. You want to put their name, the description of what they do (family doctor, obstetrician, dentist, etc), and their phone number. Under their description, you could put the name of the clinic, or the address.

Health Insurance. For each family member, put their provincial or state (if you have it) health card number. You will also want to include any benefits you and your spouse get from the companies you work for. That should include the name of the company your benefits are through and the policy number. It’s nice to have all this info when you lose your wallet, which had all your health insurance cards in it. You will still be able to let your health professionals know the policy number. That way you can still receive help while you wait for your replacement cards to arrive in the mail.

Prescriptions. Here you want to list each family member, their prescription, and the pharmacy you get it from. The pharmacists name and number should be located under the first section of this chapter, Medical Professional, but this could also be a great place to put their contact information so all your prescription information is in one spot.

Other Medical Information. This could be a spot to include things like any illnesses in your family history. Most health professionals ask if you have any of the major diseases in your family history. You would want to include the family members name and what they had or have. It will save you time and effort to have it already written down so when you go to a new doctor or have to let anyone know, you can give them all that information. This could also be a good spot to list allergies you or your family member have. In fact, I would make sure you include allergies in this section. This is a great section for babysitters or care givers to look to find out what foods or medicines to avoid when dealing with your family members. The last idea I have for this section is blood type. If you know it, you should include you and your family members blood type in this section.

I would love to hear what other Medical Information you think should be included in this section. Please comment and let me know what your ideas are!

Vaccine Refusal

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Historically, the biggest killers of humans have been diseases. Until recently, diseases like mumps, measles, polio, and others hung like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of children throughout the world. During the last century though, various medicines and vaccines have all but wiped-out these diseases in modern countries. However, certain diseases are making […]

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Adding a M.E.S.T to your kit

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Many of you know, I am really getting into utilizing tarps based on a previous post. Based on this, I had purchased a M.E.S.T. (Multipurpose Emergency Survival Tarp) 5’x7′ from bushcraftoutfitters.com because they did such a great job on the 10’x12′ coyote version I use for camping, typically in A-Frame configuration. The M.E.S.T. stays in my … Continue reading

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Busy Filming Beekeeping Videos

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I had a wonderful visit with a local beekeeper this weekend.  I took along my video camera to record the experience in an effort to retain more than my memory would have allowed.

It ended up being such a tremendous amount of information that I have chosen to edit it into a YouTube mini series.

It contained about 49 minutes worth of beekeeping gems so I cut it into three segments for brevity.

If you are interested,  head over to YouTube and search for me: OrangeJeepDad to see my list of videos.


1 Winner, 16 Prizes Homestead and Survival Giveaway ($343 value)

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Today I have exciting news! A whole bunch of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and just-plain-awesome people from the survival, homesteading, and prepper community are giving some of their best stuff to you. Well, to one lucky you. 16 prizes — and it’s worth $343.53 in monetary value. But the REAL value is how this bundle […]

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5 Things The Bible Can Teach You About Preparedness

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bible passages survival preparednessThe foundation of preparedness goes back to the beginning of time; its principles are found throughout the Bible, with numerous passages dedicated to preparedness planning and survival. Some people have said the word “BIBLE” can be an acronym for the “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” and you don’t have to be a Christian, Catholic, or any other denomination to heed the wisdom in this great book. Especially when it comes to preparedness.

Follow the link below to learn…

5 Bible Passages That Teach About Preparedness

Planning to Regroup

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One aspect of your preparedness planning that is often overlooked is giving thought to the fact that family members may be separated when disaster hits. Sure, it’d be nice if everyone were safe at home when it happens but odds are that won’t be the case. Kids may be at school, adults may be at work. Some may be out shopping, at the movies, out to eat, or Lord only knows where if teenagers are involved. With that in mind, there should be a plan in place for regrouping.

One part of this plan should address emergency communications. Depending upon the nature of the emergency, calling everyone’s cell phone might not be feasible. Phone lines often become overwhelmed during a crisis. However, text messages may still get through as they run on a different system. Create some sort of code word or phrase that, if received, indicates they should head for home immediately. It needs to be stressed that the only time this code phrase is used is in a true emergency. Also, there can be absolutely no mistaking the importance of receiving the message and acting upon it immediately. If your son receives a text from you that says, “Code Red,” he is to drop whatever he is doing and head for home using the fastest route possible.

But, what if the nature of the emergency prevents an easy travel back home? What if, for example, there is massive storm damage between your son and home? If he’s unable to safely travel home, he should seek other shelter and hunker down. If at all possible, he should contact those at home to let them know, whether via phone call or text. Ideally, he’ll transmit his location and that he is ok.

Children who are too young to travel home themselves will need to be picked up. A plan needs to be devised to lay out who is picking up the children and, if it is from school, that person should be noted in the school file as an authorized pick up person. Schools are, rightfully so, rather insistent upon this.

On top of all of this, there should be one more plan – what if home isn’t safe? What if, instead of having everyone meet at the residence you need for them to meet elsewhere? Choose an alternate location, someplace that is relatively nearby but not immediately next door. Say, a park in the neighborhood, for example. If this is the message received, “Code Red, Location B,” they know to head to the park and meet up there. The idea here is to give yourself options, which is what prepping is all about. I’m not suggesting you have 87 different locations, each with a different code phrase. We’re not talking 007 stuff here. The point is to have an alternate meet up location, just in case.

Give serious thought as to where your family members may be if disaster hits. Make a plan to allow for fast regrouping, should the need arise.

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10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning

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By Denis Korn

These 10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning – AND RESILIENCY – and the suggested links are in my opinion an essential component to beginning, improving and solidifying an effective, successful and beneficial preparedness and disaster survival plan.  You are encouraged to conscientiously evaluate and embrace the information given and the guidance provided by the questions contained in the linked articles.

The wise and foolish builders

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

MATT 7:24 – 27 (NIV)                                                                                                                                 

1 – Attitude

The importance of a proper and confident attitude is essential and key to not only planning for an emergency, but also surviving an emergency.  The right attitude is the cornerstone and foundation of the preparedness process.  The 3 aspects of an appropriate attitude include: the pragmatic and realistic; the emotions and thoughts: the religious and spiritual.

An appropriate attitude is essential not only to survival, but also to effective functioning during a serious emergency. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint are the sustaining components of enduring any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress and anxiety, which will affect your health and well-being.

How serious are you?  Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning?  Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength and hope? Where is your faith?

Without a thoughtful, reasoned, sincere and discerning attitude regarding potential emergencies with potentially devastating circumstances, conditions and outcomes, or the possible detrimental effects on family, friends, groups and community – this article or any presentation or investigation into preparedness planning and resiliency is an exercise in futility.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

— Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps  

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

READ: Your Attitude is Your Decision – Own it!

2 – Critical Thinking and Discernment

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are in fact vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking are essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships and making effective and appropriate decisions.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

READ: Barriers to Critical Thinking

3 – Overcoming the Normalcy Bias – The attachment to inaction

The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.  Denial is the operative state of mind. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made by many in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred to them then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the perceived danger.

READ: Normalcy Bias – Why People are Attached to Inaction

4 – Scenarios

What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? 

What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?  (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services? Do you have back up power?

How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?

This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)

5 – Knowledge and Skills

What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?

How about the knowledge of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you personally have or have access to?  How confident are you that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be responsible and effective for yourself and family during an emergency?

The realization that you have the appropriate knowledge and have adequately prepared for unforeseen emergencies is an essential factor in discovering and embodying peace of mind.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

6 – Preparation and Action

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unexpected circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

7 – Supplies

For most people planning for emergencies is similar to planning for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure where the normal conveniences of home are not available. The biggest difference is determining whether to plan for being away from home or being in your own residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity and length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and outdoor explorations will require more extensive planning and provisioning.

Important questions to answer as you do your planning:

Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are, or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?  What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made?  Who is affected?  What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?  What will the climate be during the emergency or adventure?  What is the probable availability of essential goods and services where you are going for your adventure or during your anticipated emergency?

Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the appropriate quantities. Many of these items will be essential for bartering if supplies are exhausted and the emergency you are preparing for is long term.  Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only you but also your family and friends.  Don’t forget the special needs – medical, food or otherwise – of you or your family.

Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?

Is it prioritized?  Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?

During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?

This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?

READ: Checklist of Essentials for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

8 – Considering Others

Many conscientious preparedness planners are realizing that individuals, groups and churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in time of emergency.  They feel it is the groups’, churches’ or an individual’s responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members or others.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

As far as churches are concerned, some feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Family and neighbors often do not take responsibility to provide for themselves during emergencies.  Considering others while one engages in the preparedness process is a very personal and important factor to consider.  Whether it is provisions, education or a desire to teach and motivate, all planners need to contemplate whether or not they will address the essential needs of others.

READ: Why Are So Many Christians Being Called to Prepare?

9 – Communication

What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?

This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held walkie-talkies? Satellite phone? Short wave radios? Citizens band radios? Emergency radios and/or ham radios with two-way communication capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates are essential for survival. What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless? How will this affect the equipment you are relying upon?

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

10 – Networking

Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?

Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?

During a serious and/or prolonged emergency it will be vital to have available to you and your family the support and expertise of others in your neighborhood and community.  Everyone has a skill that they can share during challenging times.  The sooner you discover those who are compassionate and sympathetic enough to network with others, the better it will be if an emergency occurs.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

The post 10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning appeared first on Learn To Prepare – Expert Emergency Preparedness Information.

Sailing the Apocalypse on Destiny Survival Radio

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I had another interesting conversation with John Wesley Smith recently, this time discussing my latest novel, Sailing the ApocalypseA Misadventure at Sea. John has posted his thoughts about the book in a review on his website: Destiny Survival.

I was pleased to hear that John liked the story a lot, and found it entertaining. My main purpose in writing it was to entertain, but if you take something more from it, that’s good too. Here’s an excerpt from John’s review:

“I believe Scott has hit upon something much bigger than telling an entertaining tale. It has to do with our attitude toward the world as it is and how we will prepare to face what’s coming. Will we see an instantaneous collapse? Or will it be a slow burn? And, most importantly, how should we respond?”

You can read the full review here: http://destinysurvival.com/2015/02/19/sailing-the-apocalypse-a-different-kind-of-sea-story-for-preppers/ And you can listen to the interview here:


Book Review: Aftermath, A Story of Survival

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OK, first off, when I heard about the chance to review the first book released by the author, LeAnn Edmondson, I asked…almost begged, to have a reviewer’s copy of Aftermath, A Story of Survival in order to review it. I have stalked the author from time to time on her blog, HomesteadDreamer.com (click the link […]

7 Beginner Prepper Mistakes To Avoid

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Beginner Prepper Mistakes Beginning Preppers can be a curious lot. They are usually filled with a new sense of purpose and urgency, and throw themselves into their new hobby/lifestyle with vigor! Unfortunately this can lead to a lot of fumbling and mistakes that waste time and resources. These are the 7 Beginning Prepper Mistakes To […]

The post 7 Beginner Prepper Mistakes To Avoid appeared first on The Backyard Pioneer.


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Here is a sneak preview of what the bathroom is looking like.

We set the toilet last night and finished the inside plumbing. It sits off to the right of the tub.
This weekend I will build the shower curtain rod and get that installed but tonight we will be doing the outside plumbing and hooking the house up to the septic tanks and water supply.
The washer dryer combo will sit in the back right corner and will be installed at a later date.

Then it’s out into the hallway and closet to get those areas done. It should take about two weeks to complete those I hope then on to the bedroom.

We are taking a month off of chili cooking so I am hoping to get something done on this huge project I put on myself, the pressure is building.

Gotta run,

Threats to Survival – Part One – Darkness – Friend or Foe?

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Many times the greatest threat to our survival is influenced by irrational fears. While there is some basis to our fears, it is our understanding of those fears which will strongly affect the outcome of our survival. Learning to cope with these fears requires a basic knowledge of why we have developed an irrational response to threats to our survival.

Many of us have a basic fear of the darkness. This is due to a variety of factors from our own life experiences. Tales of the boogeyman when we were young made us fearful of the dark but had little or no foundation in the truth. It was simply a way parents controlled unruly children but their actions also instilled a healthy respect for the dangers that can be encountered in the dark. Many dangers of the dark are real but many of the dangers are ones of our own making.

Simply put, darkness is the absence of light. Thus the ability to conquer any fear begins with a thorough understanding of that fear. This is important in order to develop ways to conquer the darkness that will alleviate our fears. One of our most severe shortcomings is our inability to see in the darkness. Our night vision is extremely poor and pales in comparison to other creatures present in our world. This creates problems when it becomes necessary for us to move about or perform tasks in the darkness. Even the simple task of moving from one place to another can create a dangerous situation. We risk injury from falling or tripping over an object even in the safe confines of our home if we move about in the dark unaided.

The darkness comprises nearly half of our existence and it is necessary to deal with this fact. One of the means to conquer a fear of the dark is to combat it with its opposite. Light can banish the darkness and reduce our fears. A flashlight, a simple candle or a roaring campfire can and will help to reduce your fear of the dark. You have given yourself the means and ability to see things more clearly. Those dangers which lurk in the dark have now been brought into the light and your safety and well-being is increased.

The darkness can hide many things. This is the reason a majority of predators; including the two-legged variety, use the darkness to disguise their movements. The darkness can also be your friend because it can hide your presence or activities if necessary. The important thing is to use the qualities of darkness to your advantage to increase your chances of survival.

The darkness is both friend and foe. While we are basically creatures more accustomed to sunlight, it is your actions and a rational response to the darkness that will ultimately determine the outcome of your survival. Understanding our physical limitations caused by darkness and using relevant actions to overcome them will prevent the darkness from becoming your enemy.

Got dark?

Staying above the water line!


And We're Back!

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And we’re back!


There’s been a flurry of activity behind the sabbatical at Preparedness Pro so that I could move it forward to what I really, really wanted it to be. And today I’m going to share with you the results thereof because chances are, if you’re reading this, then that activity will indeed impact you, and very soon too, I suspect.


Over the past several months I’…

Take Control of Your Life

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Take Control Speedometer Think Big Want ChangeThis article isn’t for everyone. Hopefully, it’s not for you. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive. It’s about not accepting life as it is, but about having a vision for a better life and doing what it takes to make it happen. I’ve titled it “Take Control of Your Life.” Sandy thinks I should have titled it “Enjoy Your Life.” She might be right. Because that’s ultimately what it’s about.

My inspiration for this post has came from different sources over a number of years. It’s like I’ve been hearing variations on the same message for a long time, and they’re just now really coming together and forming a more complete picture.

Inspiration #1 — Several years ago, I had the opportunity to see sales trainer and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. If you’re not familiar with this great man and his teaching, I think you could benefit from his wisdom. Zig started his talk by asking if you could think of five things that you could start doing right now that would improve your life. No problem! I can come up with a list that’s as long as my arm — eat better, exercise regularly, learn new skills, save for retirement, spend more quality time with my wife, develop meaningful relationships with the people God puts in my path, etc., etc., etc. Each and every one of those things is well within my ability to do right now.

So why am I not doing them? In some cases I’ve taken the path of least resistance. I’ve chosen to do what’s easy rather than what’s right. In other instances I’ve just fallen into a rut and mindlessly put my life on auto-pilot. Work, eat, TV, bed, repeat. Too often I operate by being reactive instead of being proactive. I don’t take the time and effort to consider if there might be a better approach that I should be taking.

I’m certain that there are a huge number of other factors at work that hold me back and prevent me from taking control of my life and making it the kind of life that I really want it to be. I need to become actively aware of these things and fight against them at every turn. I need to bust out of these ruts of inactivity and take control of my life.

Inspiration #2 — When Sandy and I were first married, we lived in an apartment that had a large rectangular space that served as the living room and dining room. The side wall was something like 27 feet long and was all white. The TV was against that wall in the living room area. We sat and stared at our little 19-inch TV for a couple of years before either of us noticed that the TV and the stand it sat on were the only things we had on that long expanse of white wall. It was like that on the day that we moved in and we had done nothing to change it or to make it our own.

Last summer I found Sandy doing some work out in the yard. She was changing something that had been just as it was since we moved to this house nine years ago. I said to her, “What are you doing??!!” She looked up at me and said, “I decided that this is our house and our yard and I can make it be whatever I want it to be.”

She was absolutely correct, of course, but this was just so unlike either of us. Our tendency, although never consciously thought out or expressed in any way, was that we just accept things the way they are and work around them. We play the hand that we were dealt. Sometimes there can be virtue in that approach, but in this case it was shackling us to the way things are and keeping us from enjoying the liberty of how things could be.

Inspiration #3 — We got a lot of comments on our last blog, including a couple from a reader who goes by the handle of “Snake Plisken.” My new buddy Snake made a point that resonated deeply with me. He said:

Getting back to your original topic, prepping makes me feel secure. I can feed myself, warm my house, provide clean drinking water, and defend myself for many months, if required.

For instance, I resigned from a job last week that I’ve had for 7 years and am in the job hunt process outside of the industry I’ve been in for 24 years. I would never have done that drastic move if I didn’t have months of savings and plenty of supplies on hand. I’ve got that cushion to rely on and am now aggressively pursuing new and interesting opportunities. I could have never done this had I been unprepared. Luck favors the prepared mind and yeah, I’m a bit scared and anxious, but prepping has given me the opportunity to pursue what I want to do.

Dang, Snake! I want to be like you when I grow up. Snake nailed it when he talked about the freedom that prepping brings us. Because he has a storehouse of goodies, not only is he able to provide for his family if a disaster strikes, he also has the security to voluntarily leave a job that he really didn’t want anymore in order to pursue something that’s more to his liking. Is it risky? Could he burn through all his preps and be no better off at the end? It’s possible, but at his age and with his skill set it’s a manageable risk with the potential of a great return. The important thing is that he isn’t just sucking it up and sticking with something that doesn’t make him happy and riding it out until retirement. He’s leaving the old behind and making a change that will make his life be what he wants it to be.

As a result of reading this article, I would like each of you to try something that you have an interest in that you’ve never done before. I want you to answer the question that Zig Ziglar asked and begin just one thing right now that will improve your life. When the poo hits the fan, most of us won’t be in a position where we can take risks. Our preps will help us through, but but we’ll be cautious about using them. Right now is the best opportunity to do it. I don’t think the world is getting any better or more secure. The time to take control of your life is now.

By encouraging you to step out, take a risk, and do something new that could improve your life, I’m not issuing you a License to Be Stupid. Talk to your spouse and talk to God. Pray, listen earnestly, and if God doesn’t tell you not to, give it a shot.

Snake Plisken is leveraging his preps to improve his future, not just hoarding them to subsist when the approaching day hits. He is “rearranging the furniture” of his life instead of just doing what he’s always done before. He never would have taken the plunge if he didn’t have his preps to live on while he’s pursuing his dream. Because it helps you take control of your life, prepping is a very, very good thing.

What We’re Reading

I got this for Christmas from my mother-in-law. Almost 800 pages of self-reliant goodness, this fat book is a compilation of articles on topics by multiple authors, ranging from solar power to gardening to hunting to foraging to you name it. It’s all written at a very approachable level, making it perfect for prepping newbies. If you want to pursue homesteading on any level, whether on a patch of untamed wilderness or at your home in the city or suburbs, this book is a great reference that will help you on your journey to becoming more self-reliant.

The post Take Control of Your Life appeared first on The Approaching Day Prepper.

The Go-Book: Emergency Contacts

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GhostBustersI am sure for most of you, your emergency contacts list usually consists of your spouse, and not much more. Or if you’re not married, then one of your parents. Since we are doing this emergency contact list for our go-books, we will want to make a larger list of emergency contacts.

I know I have said this before but we always need a backup plan, and your backup plan needs a back up plan. The same is for your emergency contacts. It’s good to have your one emergency contact. That is better than nothing, but what do you do if you can’t get a hold of that one person. What do you do next?

I remember back in the day, before cell phones, we would memorize each others phone numbers. It was big deal to remember that cute girls number, because then she knew you really did like her. Now-a-days though, who memorizes numbers anymore? Not me. I just store it in my phone. This poses a large problem.

Your phone dies. Who do you call? (Not the ghost busters…I guess you might, depends on the emergency I suppose) You call your main emergency contact right? So, can you say what their number is right now without looking at your phone? Great job if you can! Not shocked if you can’t.

So now that your phone is dead and it turns out you haven’t memorized your main persons number (chances are this will be your spouse and is the only other number you would have memorized), how do you call them to let them know of the emergency?

This is why writing them down in your go go-book is such a good idea. Your phone is not the only phone in the world, so as long as you can borrow one or find a land line you will be able to call anyone on your list.

Who to include

Here is who I suggest be included on your list of emergency contacts:

1. Family

2. Friends

3. Church leaders,

4. Parents of your children’s friends.

5. Gas

6. Electric

7. Poison Control

8. Police

9. Hospital

What to include on your list

Here is what I suggest be included on your list of emergency contacts:

1. Are they a key holder to your home? Y/N

2. Do they have a 2-way radio? Y/N If yes, what channel will they be communicating on?

3. Name

4. Main phone number

5. Other phone number

6. Address

That’s it. Not much. But you want to do this for as many people you can think of. The more you have on your list, the more ‘backup plans’ you have.


Hello all and “off topic”

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Hi all – 

Hope everyone is doing well. I am sitting here watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead and listening to the ice fall outside. No – I didn’t get the snow I wanted but I feel like a little kid again with a little winter weather. Much of the north has been battered by snow – YARDS of snow. Unreal.



I have been enjoying my two husky’s. Not sure if I have shared the picture above or not. This was taken a few weeks ago during a hiking trip near a local river. I never thought I could grow so attached to a couple of dogs. I love these dogs – Jake and Bella – like they were my kids.


I experimented with dipping cotton make up remover disks in wax as fire starters. They work excellent. One improvement though would be to leave just a bit of cotton showing to make them easier to light. Super cheap and inexpensive. I like those combinations.

As usual I am into my guns. I have recently built an AR-15 and put a gun on layaway(Kel-Tec PMR30). I have plans to build an AR pistol and another carbine – or two. Why? Fun.

Also picked up a new bag and trying to build a new “Get Home Bag” to keep in my Jeep. 


Here is another picture of Jake. He is awesome and loves climbing rocks in my backyard!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

So – how is everyone doing? Anything to share?





© 2015, Seasoned Citizen Prepper. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.


The First Buckeye Egg

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If you have been following along you know I got some Buckeye chickens for myself and my brother right before Christmas. One ended up dying on him but the other two have been laying eggs for a month or so but mine hadn’t laid until today. Mine turned out to be two roosters and two hens. Today I got my first egg from them and I am so excited. It wasn’t a normal pullet egg either which usually is a small egg. This one as you tell from the pictures (the Buckeye egg is the one on the left of the picture) was as large as my other chickens lay. Not that it matters really, as an egg tastes like an egg no matter what size.

Visit to the Navy SEaL Museum

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While it is apparent to some, others may not know that I have always had the desire to be a Navy SEaL (Sea, Air and Land). These men form an elite team that do more than just infiltrate and destroy. These men are what I call, true heroes. As a child, I desired a few … Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

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Red roses from CostCo were only $15

I caught myself making a reservation at the top restaurant in town for Valentine’s Day.

Hostess: “Will 8:30pm do? It is all we have left.”
Me: “Sure. That will be fine.”
Hostess: “Great. I’ll pencil you in. We are having a special just for Valentine’s Day. For only $59, you get a choice of salad, a main meal and a desert.”
Me: “Um, ok.”

And I hung up…stunned. Why in the world am I making a reservation that will cost me $120 for a meal for two…and that doesn’t even include a tip?

Traditional pink pancakes on V-Day paper plates

I thought of all the things we could buy with $120.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day. After sleeping in, I began cleaning the bathroom. I cleaned our toilet and the girls’. I cleaned the bath tub, both sinks and mirrors. Anything that I could picture Wifey saying “I really don’t want to clean that today.” is what I cleaned.

As I cleaned the bathroom, I began looking at the old step stool that her father had made decades ago. It is quite dilapidated with many splashings of paint mixed about. It had certainly stood the test of time and held up very well. Not a morning goes by during the week that each little girl takes her turn standing atop the stool and getting their hair done by mommy.

I thought it would be a nice gift of my time to refurbish the old stool for all who use it. I video taped the refurb and put it on YouTube. I chose a nice bright red paint to signify Valentine’s Day and the girls were quick to jump on it once I brought it back into the bathroom.

Valentine’s Day ended up costing me a total of $25 ($15 for roses and $10 for paint) and there was plenty of joy to be had.


Another Cake

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This cake was for my daughter Michelle’s friend, Nikki. I really just wanted to practice making some flowers. It isn’t the greatest cake but I have a person who does cakes on my facebook and she told me how to smooth out my buttercream frosting last night so the next one I make should be a lot smoother. I need a lot of practice using the icing tips too and making colors (her name was supposed to be purple but it just wouldn’t turn out right which is funny because I don’t remember having that problem years ago when the food coloring was liquid and not gel.). I got to use my flower plungers, leaf plunger and the strip around the bottom is from a mold (which was easier than I thought).
Anyway, practice can only make me better so I’ll keep practicing and see how it goes.

New Brooder

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I love my new chicks but my old brooder just wasn’t big enough. I can’t feel good about my chicks if I know they are in too small a place, and their droppings cover the floor too fast, and I know they aren’t  clean enough, plus the old brooder just couldn’t seem to stay hot enough. The temperature kept dipping down in the 80’s. That isn’t hot enough for new chicks that should be started off at 100 degrees for the first week (at least 95 degrees!). So yesterday I stopped and got one of the biggest totes I could find. It was $10.57. I got some pine shavings and a real red brooder bulb for the chicks (red bulbs keep them from pecking each other). I got the bulb at Tractor Supply and noticed they had a new bin of chicks. These chicks were black and just labeled pullets (all females). They are probably Barred Rocks. I always loved the Barred Rocks I used to have. Yeah, I just had to get some. So now there are six of those. I went home, got the new brooder all set up and the chicks put in it. It is a relief to know they have plenty of room now and that the brooder isn’t too cold. The red light doesn’t make for very nice pictures but they’ll have to do.

How To Harvest, Prepare and Store Dried Beans

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Do you know what happens when you don’t dry and store your beans properly? For that matter, any seed that you want to store for eating or planting later?  They rot.  And it’s not a pretty sight. In fact, it’s downright depressing.  And a half pint jar full of dried beans, set aside for planting […]

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New Chicks!

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Tractor Supply got in their first order of chicks yesterday and today I went and got some. I was hoping they would have some Cornish X (meat birds) but all they had were layers today. They had California Whites which are a leghorn chicken. Leghorns lay more eggs than any other breed. They had Production Reds and another red chick. I think they were Rhode Island Reds but I can’t remember. All the red birds are fairly good layers. They had Americaunas which often lay green eggs (I have one of these here now that lays lovely green eggs) and they had two different kinds of ducks. Ducks are so cute but terribly messy and I am not ready for that mess again. I bought 6 California Whites and 6 Americaunas.

I’d love to be able to say that they are all doing great but unfortunately one of the Americaunas is failing. I have dipped his beak in the water several times but I have never yet had a chick live that looked like this–listless, not eating or drinking. I imagine it will be dead by morning. The rest of them are moving around and eating and drinking though so that should be the only one we lose. Sometimes they just don’t do well considering they are shipped on a plane with only their body heat to keep them warm, then sit at the post office, then are put in the brooder at the store (their heat lamps are awfully high over the brooders) and then caught, put in a box and then a ride in the car to your house. Sometimes they just get chilled too much and don’t make it.
Anyway, I’ll keep you all updated on how the rest of them do.

Book Review: Prepping for Pennies

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Living on one income isn’t easy. No matter what your personal situation might be, it’s important to realize that you can prep and keep your family safe. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in prepping, it’s possible to do this simply and inexpensively.

This week, I read a book called Prepping for Pennies by Dave Steen. The author sent me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review of the book.

If you’ve read my own work, you know that I love the idea of prepping on a budget. I think books like this are beneficial for parents and large families since they provide plenty of ideas for getting prepared without investing thousands of dollars.

The book starts out with a lot of general information about prepping. This offers a good starting point for new preppers. If you are an experienced prepper or have already done a lot of research on the pros and cons of bugging out, you may not find this section especially beneficial. For new preppers, though, this part of the book gives you a solid overview of basic issues you need to think about before you prep.

One of the biggest things you’ll get out of Prepping for Pennies is that this book offers a ton of pictures. I mean, a ton. Most prepping books, especially books you find on Kindle, aren’t going to offer as many visual aids. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll probably really enjoy this.

There are also a lot of unusual and simple tips for prepping that you might not have thought of. If you’re serious about prepping inexpensively, you’ll learn how to use items you have on hand, how to find things for cheap that you can use to prep, and how you can shop inexpensively. Even as an experienced prepper, I found some new ideas that I hadn’t already considered.

I do also like that the book addresses the importance of weapons. Many prepping books gloss over this issue, but if you’re prepping for a disaster, you need to know how you’re going to protect your family.

Overall, my only complaint about this guide is that there are some ads in it. While they’re easy to skip through, they’re still a little annoying. If you’re looking for a very informative guide on prepping; however, I’m sure you can overlook this and still walk away with all of the information that you need to get started.

Have you read Prepping for Pennies? What did you think?

Stolen Valor, Lies and Exaggerations: How They Harm You and Your Group

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In light of Brian Williams of NBC News embellishing his involvement with the US Army in Iraq we are going to offer some tips and conversational strategies for identifying those who claim to be something they are not.

When Brian Williams claimed to be in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq he was originally questioned, but the controversy gave way to more pressing matters such as the actual war that was happening. Eventually the crew that was actually shot down got enough attention that people began to listen. Brian Williams was apparently never in the Chinook helicopter that went down, nor was he in the next one in the flight. His crew popped in for a photo op and moved on to a new location at a firebase. He claimed that he was looking down the tube of the RPG that struck his bird. None of this was true. He was never in danger, his flight landed after the area was secure with tanks and Bradley Fighting vehicles according to the last story I read. The problem here was not just this lapse of memory but also a series of lies and exaggerations that spans years of reporting the news. Why is this of any concern to us? When someone who is in a position of trust fabricates a new reality, those of us who follow along are misled and may make decisions based on these falsifications. In a survival group such lies can have dangerous consequences to our loved ones and ourselves. Follow along as we layout some clues and strategies for revealing lies and exaggerations by those people who claim to “have been there.”

Most people who embellish or make up a history of service in the military have a tendency to choose a Hollywood job such as Airborne Ranger, Special Forces, Navy Seal or Delta. Rarely do you see someone claim to be a cook, mechanic or in some sort of support role.

A more crafty liar may attempt to lessen any real scrutiny by flying under the radar claiming to have been something more difficult to verify, such as a translator or interrogator, or a more secretive job such as military contractor or agency ghost. I have personally experienced this with someone. No true vet wants to insult a brother’s story but sometimes, there are enough inconsistencies that bring the whole story into question.

When someone who is interested in joining the group claims to have military service it would be wise to have a true veteran feel them out through conversation. This will be helpful in two ways. First, it will help to expose a faker or at least find out if the person was embellishing his or her record. Second, this method will also serve to relax a true veteran by showing that there are others like him in the group that understand what he may be going through.

Veterans are a different breed of people who may have difficulty relating to civilians, this is especially true if the veteran has seen combat or been in service for a long time. They may come off as rough around the edges or impatient with civilians, only someone who has been there can truly relate at their level and establish a good dialogue.

It is also preferential to identify if a veteran was truly trained in a combat arms role or a support role. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the other group members may look at anyone with military service as the answer to all tactical problems, as most civilians only know about military operations from movies and TV shows. However, this is simply not the case.  There are a multitude of support and administrative jobs in the military, and these service members, though they have put the time in and have some tactical training, are simply not prepared the same way that the tactical combat units are prepared.  This is not to diminish their time in the service, but simply to point out that just wearing the uniform doesn’t make you the next Mykel Hawke. This is a problem and it may lead to a false sense of security in the group, which may only be revealed when an emergency tactical situation arises. Such a case could lead to disastrous results.  Imagine if your family had befriended an alleged military veteran who claimed to have experience in tactical and life or death situations and such a scenario actually presents itself. You might make decisions based on this misinformation. The truth is that no matter how much a person wants to believe that he or she would hold up in combat, there is no way to know until it happens. Some people want to belong so badly that they will embellish their own history just to be accepted.

Second, you will also want to know if this person has actually seen combat and how long has it been since he has seen any action or training. Many of the skills we are trained in as combat troops are known as perishable skills. If we don’t practice reading map and compass or tactical shooting we grow rusty.

Another angle that is regrettably all to common these days due to our country being on a war footing for so long is the problem of PTSD. Some people have experienced horrors so terrible that they don’t cope well back on the block at home. If a member of your group is experiencing PTSD how will he operate in a tactical environment? Will he swing into action appropriately or avoid loud noises altogether? Chances are these guys are avoiding the idea of joining a survival group that plans a more tactical footing but it is good information to know when interviewing new members.

The main reason to know if a support soldier embellishes his or her record and claims to be something they are not is the trust factor. If a person feels the need to role-play for attention and or respect, his character should come into question.

Unfortunately not everyone who dons a uniform is a hero and only the true veteran can spot the lie. A certain amount of discretion must be applied as these days many people who were actually deployed down range regardless of duty or MOS (Military occupation Specialty) have seen combat or been exposed to action. If possible use a combat vet as your interviewer as opposed to a support vet.

Suggested Strategies and Talking Points

There are a few simple strategies one can use to ferret out the truth. The quickest way is to lull the person into a position of comfort and feed into his story to get him talking. Save the direct challenges at first to loosen him up. Here are some conversational tips:

  • Use some jargon and see if they understand and respond in kind. If they claim to be in the Air Force and had an MOS, they weren’t there. The Air Force uses an AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code)
  • Ask them where they were stationed, specifically, which base or post. If a Ranger doesn’t know where Ft. Lewis is, or an Infantryman is unaware of Ft. Benning, or if an Airman doesn’t know where Nellis AFB is located, those are clues. If a Marine thinks Camp Lejeune is in SOUTH Carolina, also an indicator that they were never in the service.
  • Often the phony will claim to be so special that he never had to clean while in service. That is a huge clue! Everyone becomes very intimate with cleaning supplies and barracks inspection regardless of service.
  • Often the phony doesn’t take the time to learn his charade in depth. Once you start asking specific technical questions or misleading questions that they can’t discuss that is a clue.
  • If you ask someone what they did in the service and they keep saying that they were so secret that they can’t discuss it, the country or unit, it may be a ruse.
  • If a person is out in public in uniform such as at a parade, protest or at a mall for example and there is not a military post anywhere in the area, this should raise questions. The same should be noted if a person shows up to interview with the group while in uniform. Usually these people have no understanding of proper medal, rank or patch placement. They also are not familiar with the rank structure within their chosen service.

UPDATE: New regulations have began to prohibit the wearing of uniform outside of base or post due to terrorism threats.

  • Equipment is also a trip up for the phony. Everyone who served knows what an FM or a TM is as well as hand receipts and other physical equipment or paperwork.
  • Every soldier also has a load of humorous or service specific stories related to buddies or places served. As you chat you may stumble onto something they say that you are familiar with. That is your opportunity to drop a phony question to see if they blindly agree.
  • If the person claims to no longer be in service ask him for the form number of his discharge. It is either a DD-214 or NGB-22 If he is still in service he will hold an approved ID card
  • It usually takes only moments to out a phony and there are plenty of resources to report such an imposter. Keep in mind that some people don’t want to talk about their service but if they bring it up and claim to be a veteran, they will also likely desire to back up their story. If an imposter is revealed, he should never be trusted or allowed to join your group.


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Free Family Homestead Activity at Home Depot

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Building flower pots for free at Home Depot

One of the things you eventually struggle with when raising children is how to keep them busy (or not bored) while teaching them something fun at the same time. This post reminds some folks who already know of the little gem but also informs the unknowing of a great way to spend a Saturday morning together with you children while learning some skills and walking away with a prize.

As far as I know, most Home Depots have a Saturday morning “hands-on” workshop for kids. They provide simple pre-made projects that can be assembled in under an hour and all supplies (and clean up!) are provided completely free to the public.

This project’s apron pin

We have taken advantage of this wonderful program in Arizona and Idaho. We’ve helped our little ones build bird houses, monster trucks, flower pots and many more fun projects that are ours to take home and use or display in all their amazing glory.

This past Saturday, we took our three little girls and built a flower pot from a kit. All materials: wood, screws, nails, hammer and paint were provided. Best of all, the girls were given miniature Home Depot orange aprons just like the ones that the employees wear.

Upon completion of each and every project, every child gets a lapel pin for their apron to show they’ve completed the project. As the years go by and the projects become completed, the kids earn quite a collection of neat little collectible pins.

With each project also comes just a little more earned skill at using tools, paint and the accompanying techniques needed to use them. On this little pot, my girls learned to choke up on the hammer just a little to gain better control of the fulcrum power. They learned how to hold an object from the inside while painting the outside and I taught them how to hammer a nail back out of the wood when driven in too far (among lots of other tricks).

Simple to follow instructions

Have a sick kid at home who can’t make it with his or her siblings? Politely mention it to the HD attendant and they have never denied us from taking an extra kit home for the child who couldn’t make it.

As far as I have seen, these are always held on Saturdays and typically run for at least two hours…usually three. You can show up as early or late as you want during that time frame and HD is happy to allow you the time you need to finish.

There aren’t many FREE activities left these days so this event is certainly worth mentioning. It is a great skill building and family bonding activity that I hope stays around for a long time.

Do you know of another gem like this that you can share in the comments. Good clean fun like this is hard to find these days.


Review of Paleo Meals To Go

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Paleo Meals To Go Review

At last, quality ingredients and freeze dried convenience combine to create delicious, healthy, and paleo-friendly backpacking meals. For quite some time now I’ve wondered how long it would be before paleo diet eating options would hit the outdoor industry. Well now they’re here and thanks to Paleo Meals To Go I couldn’t be happier.

Eating Paleo for three years and counting

I’ve been eating a paleo diet (and doing Crossfit) for close to three years now and it works for me. If you don’t know what the paleo diet is all about and the benefits it provides I’m not about to explain it here. In a nutshell the paleo diet is “a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.” Check out Robb Wolf’s site if you want to read more about the paleo diet.

Paleo Meals To Go Review

The key thing to understand here is that it’s clean eating. Real food, real ingredients, and as unprocessed as possible. Like I said, it works for me and I’m happy with it – YMMV as they say.

Paleo on the trail

Eating clean (paleo diet) on the trail has always been a bit of a challenge though. I wouldn’t consider any of the off-the-shelf freeze dried packaged foods options to be clean eating, at least not until very recently. Heck some of them list ingredients I can barely pronounce or they have insanely high amounts of sodium. So why put that junk in my body when I’m hiking if I wouldn’t eat that at home? Oh and don’t tell me it’s okay because it’s all about calories. I’m not eating handfuls of Fritos just because they’re calorically high for their weight.

Paleo Meals To Go

To address the lack of clean eating options I’ve taken to dehydrating all my own ingredients and packaging my own meals, I know that’s nothing new to many of you. The real challenge has been finding recipe ideas that dehydrate well and rehydrate in a reasonable time and still taste good. Common meal fillers like pasta and rice aren’t an option when you’re eating paleo. For the most part I’ve been pretty successful with chicken and vegetables, but I’ve resorted to a non-cook diet for many trips just so that I didn’t have to deal with this.

Developed by a Crossfit athlete

A relatively new company based out of Denver, Colorado called Paleo Meals to Go has launched a line of dehydrated dinners, lunches, and breakfast options that are completely paleo. They were developed by a Crossfit athlete that struggled with clean eating when outdoors and so decided to create their own. Gott love that.

The prices may seem a little high to some of you, $13 a packet, but you get what you pay for when it comes to food. Pay now or pay the doctor later as they say. Or just skip a Starbucks coffee one day a week.

Quick preparation times

Paleo Meals To Go

I recently took a packet of the Paleo Meals to Go Savory Chicken & Vegetables with me on a routine practice hike with my kids. Side note: they don’t eat paleo despite my attempts to encourage them to do so. The Savory Chicken is categorized as a “lunch” meal and that’s exactly what we used it for.

I fired up my Jetboil Sol Ti stove and brought 2 cups of water to rolling boil. The packet only requires 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of water to be rehydrated, but I always make a little extra just in case I need it. Better to have some. I opened the packet, removed the small oxygen absorber pack and followed the directions.

One of the benefits of not having any pasta or rice as part of the meal is that the rehydration time is significantly faster. The Savory Chicken only requires 4-6 minutes to be ready. Got to love that. As it turned out I must not have been very accurate when I poured the boiling water into the pouch because I had quite a lot of water left after the time was up. Not a problem, I just partly closed the ziploc style top and used it to drain out the unwanted liquid. My dog loved that!

The taste test

Paleo Meals To Go

Once the ingredients were rehydrated and ready to eat I looked inside to see chunks of chicken and vegetables, all easily recognizable. The directions suggest that your stir thoroughly (again) and then eat, which I did. However I noticed that the end result was a little less presentable than before I stirred it. Much of the chicken had broken up (think of canned tuna) and mixed into the vegetables.

Paleo Meals To Go Review

That didn’t stop it from tasting delicious though. My kids both tried some of the Savory Chicken & Vegetables and gave it a thumbs up. That’s pretty amazing for many reasons and I attribute it to the smell and look of the food. Nom nom nom…


Despite the extra cost I’m excited to have some quality, clean eating options for my hiking trips. I love making my own, but these taste far superior to anything I’ve made yet and are super convenient. I’m going to snap up a bunch of these for my Crossfit hiking buddies and see what they think. Do you eat a paleo diet or have you tried it?

Disclosure: The author of Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided with complimentary samples of this product for the purpose of evaluation, testing, and feedback. He was under no obligation to publish a review. His thoughts are his own.

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Strategic Savagery: How to Use Terror

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survival weapon gun control

It looks like there is no sense and order in what ISIS folks are doing while they are terrorizing people and burning them alive, stone them to death, kill captured soldiers or simply women and kids. But spreading terror and pure fear makes lot of sense in terms of strategy, especially in already „chaotic“ times and territories where they are trying to advance.

Terror is a psychological game.

The „they are coming for me feeling“

I have experienced for myself, more than once the feeling that „they are coming for me“. It is that moment when you are armed and ready, together with more folks, who are armed too and we are all waiting for attack.

And guys who are attacking are famous for the fact that they do not take prisoners, or that they have few sick guys who are collecting ears from the captured people, while they are still alive.

No matter how well you are armed and prepared and ready to fight, if you hear about their atrocities for weeks and then one evening you are forced to fight with them it will have impact on you.

You will face stress of battle but also have to deal with your own fear.

Of course different people react in different ways, so some guys will break down or give up even before fight, without single bullet flying through the air.

Some guys will even surrender without fight and beg for mercy, even they listened stories about „no prisoners“ for weeks. Often they are the people who can not imagine how truly evil people act. They think because they would not kill and torture other people they do not know nobody would. It makes no sense, but it is what terror does and why it works. It makes people act without sense, makes them do stupid things, to be confused and not logical.

Terror is advanced level of trash talk in sports where one opponent tries to make the other one angry that he loses focus. When it comes to terror it is just fear that is used as weapon.

I have seen that sometimes only rumor about some infamous unit coming to attack is enough that groups who are very well organised simply fall apart.

If you hear that there is unit coming and they will torture and kill everyone in their way including your kids and woman, you have two choices: To fight to the last or run.

In the movies folks will fight to the last, but in reality most of the folks will simply run. The difference is like walking on edge of the sidewalk or walking on edge of a high building. In both cases you walk on edge but only in one case a wrong step has much worse consequences.

Few times I asked myself why ISIS has so much success over there in Iraq and Syria. One of the answers is terror. Nothing spreads so fast like terror.

I also think the idea you can have ultimate power over life and death of people makes many people want to join them. People get high on power and that they can decide who lives or dies. If this happens in group you usually find people trying to be more brutal than other people in their group. To be the most respected a feared one.

You finally can rule over people, to judge, it does not have anything to do with religion, it is in human nature of some folks.

Few months ago I read some US weapon forum and one of the members shows his rifle and said how he bought it cheaply and how it was probably used in Balkan war.

On the rifle butt there was still small engraved sign of the unit visible. And strangely I knew that unit.
Unit was famous in war because they (like many others) did lots of bad things, rape, kill prisoners and similar things like private prisons etc.

But at the end most of them ended up dead, killed like the people they killed.

Once when people realize that bullets can kill you no matter how famous or infamous you are it all gets easier.

People dealt with them, and today they are just something like weird war memory with a sign on someones rifle butt. This is a lesson you need to keep in mind in situations when you face enemies that cause fear and terror in you.

First you need to accept your fear and terror. Some people do not accept it and try to pretend its not there until it breaks out and makes them unable to function. Often in situations when it matters most.

Be aware of your fear and terror but also confident in your abilities to face this enemy. This is attitude that you need to show openly also to all members of your group. In groups emotions always get amplified.

Just like walking on edge of high building you focus on the task at hand, the walking or fighting and forget about consequences for that moment.

Terror needs to be dealt with brute force, before it spreads way too much to be contained. It is like disease.
You can get sick from terror, just like from pneumonia for example. Symptoms are fear,panic, doing illogical things, or having urge to run away before even you realize who is your enemy and how you can defeat it.

This is why we prepare, practice and learn to focus on what matters to achieve our goals. Terror only works if you give it power.

What do you make of ISIS and their actions? Please share your thoughts on this and how you try to deal with terror in community forum or comments below.

Operations Planning for Your Family

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Due to the nature of survival it is wise to prepare for what to do in case someone becomes incapacitated, missing or leaves for some reason, even if the event or absence is only temporary.  A disruption event can happen at any time; it doesn’t matter where everyone is or what they are doing.

To ensure that the family can come together and continue to operate you will want to do some key tasks ahead of time.

First we want to understand the different types of event that could happen and how they relate to your situation at the time. A tornado, for instance, is a very possible event that will drastically affect a relatively small number of people at one time and usually occurs with predictable severe weather. Often the tornado strikes during the day when everyone is separated, but not always. As for an event from the complete other end of the spectrum, a massive grid down power outage that keeps a city without electricity for many days, weeks or months will affect large numbers of people and cause all sorts of societal problems and could happen at anytime.

In either of these scenarios there is one thing in common, you and your family.  You have already stocked and planned for what to do in case of disaster, but have you planned on what exactly to do if someone is lost or incapacitated? What if that person, or even you, are the only one who knows how to survive, operate a well pump, flip a breaker, shoot a weapon safely, access a bank account, contact relatives, etc. In short, are you or the kids prepared to take over the leadership position in case the worst happens?

In the case of a large scale event you may have to bug out or you may even have people coming to you. In a survival group there are usually several people with key skills, but for a small family, this may not always be the case. In a complex survival situation it will be very difficult to know and do everything by yourself so why not plan ahead so you can keep operating if such a time comes.

Top 5 reasons you will need to consider a continuity or succession plan:

    • A key person is delayed by  disaster conditions or travel restrictions
    • Someone is injured, ill, lost or killed along the way
    • Someone cannot participate because of their own lack of planning
    • Not able to communicate for some reason leaving everyone else in the dark
    • Perhaps a key person just chose to not participate for some reason

How do we get started?

The first steps are to identify who is key to the plan and identify an alternate person who is not in the primary member’s traveling party or immediate family. This is to give the best chance of the alternate showing up and staying with the survival group, family or community. The alternate should be able to perform the duties of the primary and be trained properly. Importantly, the alternate must be made aware of his/her title as alternate, and must voluntarily accept the assignment. At this point the alternate will provide all possible contact info to include an out of area relay contact so that there is the best chance of communication.

*Important tip: Anytime an out of area contact is to be used as a relay point for information, the information relay person must be made aware of the arrangement and be ready to answer calls from unusual numbers.

Next is to identify key operations. These are tasks or processes that must be done to provide for the safety and welfare of the family or survival group in an emergency.

Key operations may include:

  • Activating the emergency plan

  • Collecting everyone from work, school, shopping or other travels

  • Security: protecting everyone and everything from loss or destruction at all times

  • Food and water provisions to keep everyone going strong for the predetermined period of time. i.e. 3 days, 3 months, 1 year, etc.

  • Sheltering: keeping everyone out of the elements

  • Energy for warmth, power or communications

  • Transportation to re-position resources or evacuation

  • Medical response to injuries and safety oversight during emergency activities

  • Site safety such as immediate response to fire, flood, wind events, dangerous people

  • Communication with each other and outside world. Use your Commo Plan to stay in contact and set up a relay contact that is far away from the event location

  • Evacuation/convoy in case of rapid displacement

But what about the smaller disasters?

Not every event is the coming apocalypse, what happens if a family member is in a car accident? Your wallet gets lost, you must hurry to a family emergency out of town for several days. Who will hold down the fort, feed the kids and pay the bills?

This is when your Family Contingency Binder (FCB) will prove to be a lifesaver, This is a notebook that contains all of your operational information from critical documents such as birth certificates to credit cards to insurance policies and vehicle titles.

The FCB also has your emergency plans, maps to important places, passwords to everything, medical information, wills and trusts, Powers of Attorney for someone to handle your affairs and those of your children and actual written phone numbers to everyone important in your life (just in case you lost your cell phone too).

Just as with planning for alternate key personnel, alternate methods to achieve key operations should be defined, documented and communicated to all personnel within the group or family, not just those involved in those operations. Resilience depends on a group wide effort and everyone should know what is supposed to happen and how it should get done, this way people can adapt as needed and remain close to any defined objectives or wishes. Be sure to keep all of this information secure and under lock and key but don’t forget to make sure that several people know how to access it in an emergency.

If a sudden emergency strikes and you must evacuate quickly, try to take your binder, it will have everything you need to recover from a burned out home, prove who you are and get your life back on track.

When you take some time to prepare the people in your life as well as the stuff on the shelf you will begin to see that you may need less stuff. Share your plans and expectations with the people around you so they can be there when you need them the most and have them do the same. Give everyone the tools they would need to stand in for you if something happens, because something always happens.

For more information on group and family contingency planning, check out The Survival Group Handbook at http://bit.ly/survivalgrouphandbook 

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Play and Work

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I guess that’s how my weekends go, one day for play and another for work.

Saturday we cooked chili down in Irving.

61 cooks showed up and 7 of those were the raining word champion and the other six were ex champs. Among the other folks there, Mexico and the Intercontinental champions, Texas Lady’s State Champion, Texas Men’s State Champion and eight out of the top ten current world ranked chili cooks were there. 
So to say the deck was stacked is an understatement.

Long story short, Candy won 2nd place out of all those heavy hitters. I am so proud of her.

Sunday was nothing but working on the house. We decided to do the bathroom first and move out from there.
This weekend I tiled the floor and got started on the walls and ceiling. I really like this look and I will show some more as we get more done.
This week we will be finishing the walls and getting the tub, sink and toilet in place. 

That’s it for now,


EDC Pocket Dump

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  I have spoken to many of you in regards to my daytime job and how it sometimes requires me to enter secured facilities with several different federal government agencies. The one question that always comes up is, “since you cannot carry a sidearm or matches during your travel, especially on a plane, what do you carry?”. … Continue reading

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A Safer Candle – Revised

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My mother-in-law’s home caught on fire the day after Thanksgiving, just a few months ago.  She enjoys candle light and seems to use candles more frequently around the holidays. On Black Friday, a candle was left unattended and started the house on fire.  The fire department was… Read More

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What is Natural Yeast & 3 Health Benefits No One Tells You About!

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Benefits of Natural Yeast

I often teach classes on putting together a yearly menu plan and how to store foods so they last. One of the things I stress most is the importance of being able to make bread! That’s a critical part of food storage – at least mine.

Inevitable, someone always asks me how to store yeast long-term and I’ve never had a great answer, well… until now.

Baking with Natural Yeast

By chance, I happened to meet Melissa Richardson this year who has written an entire book on Baking with Natural Yeast. I immediately bought the only copy on her and started studying it. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who cooks with Natural Yeast, let alone knows how to start it and care for it.

My main goal in reading her book was to know how to create my own never-ending supply of yeast for my food storage (which it does teach), but I was shocked about what else I learned in the process.

Natural Yeast vs Commercial Yeast

Most of us know we need yeast for bread to help make it rise and keep it light and airy. The most familiar yeasts are Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast® that was developed after World War II and also the RapidRise yeast that came about in 1984.

Natural Yeast was quickly ditched for the convenience of  commercial “instant” yeasts, leaving generations like mine not even realizing that for the first time in thousands of years we are eating bread that is not made with natural yeast.

You might be asking what is the big deal – at least that’s what the rebel in me wondered.

Commercial Yeast Might Be Making You Sick

Anytime you introduce something foreign to your body, you run the risk of your body rejecting it. For nearly 6000 years people all over the world have been using natural yeast to make bread, so to now go to a synthetic yeast may be a contributing factor to some of our society’s recent ailments.

Now before you start thinking I’m anti commercial yeast – I’m not. One look in my freezer will make you wonder if I hold stock in the stuff. I just found it absolutely fascinating some of the health benefits people are noticing when they switch back to natural yeast.

As I mentioned earlier, in the 1980’s most of our society switched to the finer, highly active yeast that is able to raise dough faster than ever before. Around this same time other trends also begin to take place that Melissa mentions in her book…

The 1980’s also saw another trend- the beginning of a continuing spike in celiac disease, gluten intolerance, acid-reflux disease, diabetes, and wheat allergies. There is evidence natural yeast can help combat these problems.

There have been many instances noted where people have been able to finally enjoy bread again without having a diabetic spike, allergic reaction, or heartburn – all because they switched to bread made with natural yeast.

This especially interested me, because my nephew has celiac disease and is banned from anything with wheat. Melissa mentions several people with his same condition who have tried bread made with natural yeast and had no reaction to it.

I’m not sure if my sister-in-law will let me test out this theory on her son, but if she does, I’ll let you know how it goes!

What is Natural Yeast?

So what exactly makes up natural yeast? I’ll let Melissa explain…

Wild, Natural Yeast is everywhere – in the air you breathe, on the bark or trees, on leaves. Have you ever seen the white film on backyard grapes? That’s wild yeast. The same film can be found on juniper berries. For centuries, both berries have been uses as a natural “start” for bread yeast.

Yeast is a single fungus and it’s the first domesticated living creature in history. Modern science has identified more than 1,000 different varieties of wild yeast. These organisms are so small that hundreds of millions, if not billions, fit into a single teaspoon.

But not all yeast varieties are the same. For example, the yeast used to make beer is not the same kind of yeast used to make bread. Different natural yeasts have different flavors – some are strongly sour, some are mildly sour, and some are not sour at all. Some are better at raising breads than others. This is why the best strains of natural yeast have been passed down through generations and communities. – The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast

Benefits of Baking with Natural Yeast

Benefits of Natural Yeast:

It can be hard to give up the conveniences that commercial yeasts offer, but after learning about the many benefits of natural yeast it’s something I definitely want to try!

Here are some of my favorite benefits she mentions:

1- Never Buy Yeast Again!

Before I read Melissa’s book, this was my one and only purpose I had to wanting to learn how to maintain a natural yeast start. Bread plays a critical role in my food storage plan, so knowing how to care for yeast is an important skill to learn if I plan to make bread as often as I hope.

Also, being prepared and living a self-sustainable lifestyle go hand in hand, so I’m always looking for ways to be able to cross off an item and avoid going to the store altogether. That’s my dream at least; I can’t even begin to tell you all the scenes my kids cause there 😉

2- Feel Full & Eat Less

Bread often gets a bad rap, because you can’t stop eating the stuff.

I eat at least a few baskets of rolls every time I go to Texas Roadhouse (ok, maybe a few make it into my purse for later), but those things are seriously addicting.

Science has been able to prove that natural yeast slows digestion so people not only feel full longer, but it helps them to eat less.

3- Lowers the Body’s Glycemic Response to Carbs

A 2009 study from the University of Guelph, showed the following results:

Not only did natural yeast bread lower the glycemic response better than whole wheat bread made with commercial yeast, but the body’s glycemic response also remained lower when eating a meal hours later. No other kind of bread produced the same result.

This may be especially good news for people who have diabetes, but according to the following report, most people could benefit from eating foods that help to lower their glycemic response:

Consistent consumption of high GI foods may increase risk factors associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Conversely, the consumption of foods that elicit low glycemic responses may help to reduce such risk factors. A lower glycemic response is thought to correspond to less insulin release, better long-term blood glucose control and a reduction in blood lipids. While there is no definitive proof that reducing glycemic impact will prevent disease on an individual basis, some research suggests that reducing the glycemic effect of the diet may reduce disease risk. A growing number of studies suggest that reducing the glycemic impact of the diet may help consumers eat fewer calories, however not all investigators and reviewers have reached the same conclusion.

Hubrich B, Nabors, L.O. Glycemic Response. Food Product Design. 2006:3-17.

The benefits on natural yeast don’t stop there. They break down harmful enzymes in grains, makes vitamins and minerals more easily available for digestion, converts dough into a nutritious food source that won’t spike your body’s defenses, and so much more you’ll learn in her book.

Getting Started with Natural Yeast

Natural yeast can be intimidating, because it’s alive and requires daily feeding and maintenance.

I have a hard enough time remembering to feed our turtle once a week, let alone bacteria in the fridge.

Melissa understands this, and in her book she does an excellent job explaining everything step by step with detailed pictures, examples, and lots of great tips and tricks to help keep your new pet alive 😉

Once you’re ready to start baking she has a load of basic recipes your family will love such as: everyday breads, nut breads, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, pizza dough, and so much more. She even adds some detailed tutorials for artisan bread and shaping dough.

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast

Melissa recently just finished her 2nd book Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast that is just as incredible as her first. It begins with a brief summary about starting, growing, and using a starter and then jumps right into recipes that are beyond impressive.

Beyond Basics With Natural Yeast

These are the following sections you’ll find her book along with one of my favorite recipes from each:


Jalepeno Cheddar Sourdough Bread Jalepeno Cheddar Sourdough Bread


Waffles made with Natural Yeast

Carrot Cake Waffles


Cheesy Crackers

Cheese Crackers


Basil Dinner Crepes

Basil Dinner Crepes

Sweet Breads

Swiss Roll Cake

Swiss Roll Cake

Bonus Recipes

Croutons & Stuffing

Croutons & Stuffing

One More Favorite…

Campfire Dutch Oven Bread

Campfire Dutch Oven Bread

As you’ve probably noticed, these books are full off beautiful pictures throughout and it’s laid out in a way that is very easy to follow.

If you’re ready to get started with natural yeast, or take it to the next level, these books are packed with everything you need to feel confident in doing so.

She truly makes me want to get in the kitchen, grab some starter, and begin whipping up some healthy and delicious bread!

I want to hear your experiences –> Have you ever tried cooking with natural yeast or do you think you could benefit from doing so? 

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The Go-Book: Evacuation Plan

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evacPlanHow many of you have this as you’re evacuation plan? Grab iPhone, Get the hell out of there.

Not a very good plan. I really hope you’re dressed when you have to use this plan.

This post will cover the first section of your Go-Books, which is your “Evacuation Plan.” This will cover two things.

1. Your escape route,

2. Your 3 meeting places.

As my wife and I sat down this week and talked about our evacuation plan, we decided on a couple things. We wanted to draw out our floor plan and mark out our escape route depending on where we are in the house, and then create a checklist of things we want to grab when we evacuate.

Having an escape plan for your house is very important. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. You think you’re okay without it because you know your house and where your doors are, but wait until you’re in a real emergency. You’re in your office on the top floor of your house and there is a fire outside the door. Looks like the only way out is your window. Have you prepared for that? Do you have an escape plan? Is it simply to try to break your window and then jump? Or did you take the time to prepare. Now you have a window ladder set up so you don’t need to jump*.

After we drew out our floor plan, we talked about a checklist we would have when told to evacuate. It turned out to be a bit more complicated than we thought.

First off and most importantly, how much time do you have to evacuate? Does the military knock on your door and say “you have 5 minutes to get your things and get in the bus.” What do you grab then? Most likely it will be about 10-15 minutes, not 5. So we came up with a check list that is actually separated into three sections:

5 Min

10 Min

15 Min

That way we know what to grab depending on how much time we have. In the 5 min time limit you want to put the most important. Here is what we put:

5 Min

Gabby: Set timer on stove, Get kids into coats/shoes/outerwear then into van, grab purse

David: Grab go bags, go-book, and shut off water and power.

That’s it. 5 min isn’t much time. When we are done getting these go-books filled out, we will have everything information wise in our go-books. This includes passports, birth certs., SIN, etc. In your go bags you should have a pair of extra clothes including diapers for infants as well as phone chargers and maybe an extra key to your vehicles. I will actually do a whole post on our go bags and let you know what we put in ours.

So what if you have more time? Say 10 Min. What extra things should you grab? Here is what we put into our 10 min section:

10 Min

Gabby: Grab extra clothes for kids, blankets, and favorite stuffies.

David: Grab water supply and food storage (what you can carry) in a laundry basket.

Once you hit the 5-10 min mark, you are grabbing comfort things. Things that are not necessary but will make your time away from home a bit more comfortable.

Gabby and I actually did a test run for our evacuation notice. We didn’t tell the kids ahead of time either. We did however tell them when we started that we are practicing and wanted to see how fast they could get into their boots and coats and into the van. We gave our self 15 mins. This is what we found:

15 min is a long time. I want to add something here though. 15 min is a long time if you’re prepared. We had our go bags packed. They of course were sitting where they are being stored, in our basement storage room, but they were there ready. We got our kids in the van, got the go bags, go-book, water supply, food storage, cells and chargers, laptop and charger, kids favorite blankets and stuffies, shut off power and water, grabbed 2 sleeping bags, 1 tent, Gabby’s purse, and our new camera. You may look at that list and think, ‘man there is a lot of comfort/unnecessary things on there’. Yeah, there is. And the amazing thing was we were done and in the van in 8 minutes. We still had 7 minutes left. That is amazing. We thought, ‘man, what else could we bring?’

Again I want to point out that we were prepared. It would be a different story if we were in the middle making dinner or already asleep. I am curious to see how long it would have taken us if our go bags were not packed. That means we would have to get luggage out of storage and fill each one with, hopefully, enough of the right clothes. When you’re rushed you might grab all your socks but no underwear. Not cool. Imagine if we only had 5 Min and no go bags. Basically have to walk away from everything.

If you are prepared, you will be able to grab way more things. You can’t live without new socks everyday? Then get prepared! You wont have to worry about stinky day old socks because you have some fresh pairs in your go bags already packed. Plus, if there is more than 5 min, you could grab more.

Onto the 3 locations.

When there is an evacuation notice, you need to have a location you can meet family and friends at. So why 3? What happens if location 1 is flooded out? Do you know where to go next? Do not expect evacuations to happen when it is convenient for you. It will probably happen when one spouse is at home and another is not. It is smart to have 3 locations, set in a certain order, that both spouses know about. That way if I am at work, and Gabby gets evacuated, and phone lines are down (or cell towers, or your cell is dead) I know where to head first. If that location is inaccessible for what ever reason, I know where to check next. Here is what we recommend for your 3 locations:

1 Community(church, school)

2 Family(moms, grandmas)

3. Out of city(family or church in a nearby city)

Always have a back up plan. Always.

It was fun doing the trial run. I encourage all of you that when you get your evacuation plan mapped out, give it a test run. See how you do. You will find out what you missed putting on your list, and what you can change to make it faster and better. It will open your eyes to how unprepared you really are.

Here’s the plan for next weeks post:

Emergency Contacts

What you will need:

1. Pen,

2. Paper,

3. Cell phone full of contacts,

4. Utility Bills,

5. More wrist exercises.

We will be going into what and who to put into your emergency contact section. This may require you to make some phone calls to your family and friends to get some more information from them that we will include in this section.


* According to the Calgary Fire Marshall, you don’t want to use a window ladder. What they recommend is actually throwing a mattress out the window and jumping onto that. We found that out when my wife opened a day home here at the house and they told us that’s what we do with the kids. Throw a mattress out the window and then throw the kids wrapped in a blanket, so their arms and legs don’t flail…ummm. Okay. We will see how that goes when the time comes. I believe they said it is because windows ladders can burn. If the fire is on the bottom floor and then you throw a rope ladder out the window it could catch on the bottom and burn up. So there you go. Have a spare mattress in each room so you can throw your kids and your self onto it in case of a fire.

Top 5 Items You Need to Stash In a Cache

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Depending on who you talk to you, will get several different answers on what you need to stash in your cache. You will also get almost as many answers in reference to where and how to stash your cache. But, the one thing you will hear almost unanimously is that you should cache at least some equipment and supplies to insure that they are ready to use when needed.

Cranberry Juice Again

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If you have been following this blog for years now you may remember me making cranberry juice and jellied cranberry sauce from marked down cranberries. The post is here.  Well, yesterday the bags of cranberries happened to be $ .50 in the store and I got 8 bags of them. However I didn’t get started until 3:00 in the afternoon because Phil and I had to go to town and then went to visit with my brother. Plus after we returned I noticed I didn’t happen to have any pectin so the jellied cranberry sauce will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day but the juice did get made today.
You start with picking through the berries. These bags have sat in the store since Christmas it is only common sense that they aren’t ALL going to be good. If they were all good, they wouldn’t be selling them for $ .50. I pick out any of the berries that have any brown in them, because those I know have some kind of rot going on inside and any that are mushy and soft.
Then you add the water and they go in the pot to boil and pop.

Eight bags is a LOT of cranberries. 

After they cook I strain them. It is a messy job and I was running out of big pans so had to strain some in a pan then transfer it to a bowl and then strain more in the pan. Then you add the sugar (1 cup per bag) and they are put in the canning jars. 

Last time I boiling water bath canned these for 10 minutes but some of the jars didn’t even make it a year before they started to become cloudy so this time I canned them for 20 minutes, just to be on the safe side.

I did a canner full of 7 quart jars then there was a whole pitcher (the same 2 quart pitcher in the other post) and 1 1/2 quart jars left which will go in the refrigerator to be drank in the next few days.

Food Hygiene and Preservation

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Disasters usually strike when we least expect it. It’s very important that we are prepared to face such a situation. One of the main factors to consider is food supplies. How should your preserve your food so that it’s edible? What foods are best to store? If you need more information on this topic, have […]

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Winter Bug Out! When Hell Freezes Over!

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I was editing some photos for the site today and decided to do a article about bugging out in winter and how winter time can literally become a frozen nightmare. Winter  Wonderland Gone Bad Imagine a disaster or military occupation occurring during winter time. History has shown even for modern military troops winter can become very … Continue reading Winter Bug Out! When Hell Freezes Over!

How To Can Meat For Food Storage

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Do you know how to can meat? Many people are used to canning jellies, jams and pickles, but did you know that you can use a pressure canner to put away tasty, tender and convenient jars of meat?  Canning meat with a pressure canner is a fabulous way to store large amounts of food in the […]

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Best Prepper Resources and Recommendations – Feb 2015

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Come check out the best prepper gear, books, blogs (with the most recent posts from each), forums, and facebook pages – all handpicked by me.

You’re reading Best Prepper Resources and Recommendations – Feb 2015, originally posted at Graywolf Survival – Emergency preparedness from a combat veteran by Graywolf.

American Sniper and Oblivious Americans

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I do not often watch a movie in the actual theaters due to the price and if we make it a family event, it can easily be well over $100 especially if you include any snack items. However, I bit the proverbial bullet and went to see American Sniper with my two oldest children on … Continue reading

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How To Use Chapstick For Survival

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As such, finding things that work for multiple different things will benefit you greatly in making the most of your survival kit and packing as many things as possible.  Using this simple product can save your life!

Photo: thebeautybean.com

Keep your skin free from harm in harsh weather conditions.

Use Chapstick to protect your skin from frostbite or sunburns.


Pros and Cons of Two-Way Radios

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Two-way radios, the modern version of the walkie-talkies many of us had as kids, can be a great tool for emergency communication among family members. Provided, though, that you understand their limitations. Bear in mind, we’re not talking about amateur (ham) radio. That’s a whole different ballgame.

These radios all use the same group of frequencies. On the plus side, this means you can easily program several radios to communicate together, even radios from different manufacturers. However, this also means that anyone else can listen in to your conversations if they hit upon the same frequency. Your safest bet when using these radios is to avoid talking about any confidential information on the air.

Manufacturers like to make rather exaggerated claims regarding the range of these radios. You’ll see packages that say, “up to 25 miles” and other such nonsense. Yes, the radio might truly transmit that far…if there is absolutely nothing between the sender and receiver. The problem is that things like buildings and trees easily block the radios or at least inhibit transmission. Realistically, if you can get a mile or two of range from the average two-way radio, you’re doing pretty darn well. However, that also means that anyone who wishes to listen in to your conversation must also be in that range. Which, actually, might not be a good thing when you think about it.

Many models of these radios take the rather common AA or AAA batteries. That makes life a little easier as you won’t have to hunt down some obscure size. However, by their very nature, batteries go dead after a while. If you plan on relying on radios like these, better plan ahead and add a solar battery charger to your preps.

No satellites or towers are used
Unlike cell phones, for example, two way radios are sort of a closed system. The transmission is sent out directly to the receiver, rather than bounced off of a tower or satellite. This means that even if the entire electrical grid is down, the radios will still work (provided they weren’t impacted by the event that took down the grid, such as an EMP strike). There really isn’t a downside to this, other than the lack of towers and such helps to limit the effective range.

Two-way radios are a fun way to stay in touch when you’re out and about with your family. When times are normal, they can help keep you from chewing up minutes on your cell phone. But, if you plan on using them after a major disaster, it is important to understand they are not always what they are cracked up to be.

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How To Use Pantyhose For Survival

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Pantyhose have awesome potential as a multi-purpose tool and deserve a place in your survival kit and is useful for all sorts of things in both temporary and long-term disasters.

Photo: urbansurvivalsite.com

Here are 20 ways you can use pantyhose for survival:

1. Stay Warm. Wearing pantyhose will help you stay warm. Note: Men may have to cut some extra space in the crotch area.

2. Prevent Blisters. This is important if you bug out and spend several hours a day walking. You don’t want to get a blister on your foot that could get infected.


Joining 4H Club

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Last night we had a two hour visit from our local 4H leader. I invited her over to discuss the details of joining and all the activities they do in our area. We discussed all the animals that can be raised and shown at the fair in September.

We also discussed some of the non-animal stuff like dutch oven cooking, sewing, crocheting, and more. After much debate, we’ve just about settled on raising some pigs for this upcoming season.

We’ll buy them around May and care for them until September when the fair is in town. Luckily for us, the county fair is straight down a road not far from our house. It literally only takes us five minutes to get to the fair.

If I wrote the numbers down correctly, sounds like a pig can be had for around $100 at the approximate age of 3 months old. The feed should run around $200 for the four months we will be raising the animal. Then we can either sell it at the fair or process it with a local butcher for around $120.

This will be our first time in 4H and raising anything other than chickens. Any advice gladly accepted.


Does It Take a Village To Homestead

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Homesteading – it’s the ultimate in sustainable and self-reliant living. Or is it? Some people argue that homesteading is such a chancy endeavour that those who choose to do it must live around people who can provide them with ready assistance, resources and even money when things go badly. Is a community an absolute necessity […]

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On The Needles

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I’ve not forgotten about  my promised series of posts on how to take back control of our lives, lately,I’ve been on a bit of a knitting kick.
What’s on the needles? “Dark Cable Socks”. If you’re a knitter, or just curious, the pattern and picture of the finished socks can be found here.
In all honesty, I was getting a handle on my WIPs (works in progress) when a sock order landed and I had to shift gears a little.
So now I’m working on 3 different knitting projects while planning my next post in the aforementioned series. That one will deal with sunday dinner left-overs.
It’s not as boring as it sounds.
There’s a carcass involved.

Stay tuned!

Building Your Library the Prepper Way

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One of the most important preps you can have are books.  They are a vital source of entertainment and education.  Without the written word it is difficult to progress as a society.  Isaac Newton said it best, “If I have seen further than others, it is… Read More

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Energy Hogs In Your Home

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According to the statistics, the average North American household uses 30-50 kWh electricity per day, or 900-1200 kWh per month. When electricity prices jump to $0.24 or more per kWh, it’s costing you thousands every year.   Worse, though, if your goal is to move off-grid and gain some independence from the power company, and your […]

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The Go-Book

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Not sure where to start with your preparedness plan? Don’t have the cash to drop on your 72 hour kits/go bags and supplies that go with them? Don’t worry, I know a great place to start your preparedness plan: Your Go-Book. Your go-book is a binder or folder that contains all your information. If you’re told to evacuate, you grab this book along with your 72 hour kits and the rest of your family and you leave. If your house burns down, or is taken away in a flood, all information about you could be burned or damaged. The idea behind the Go-Book is to have all information about your life in one spot. Anything and everything you or anyone else would need to know should be in this book. By the time you’re done filling in this book, it may weigh more than your first born. This project will not be completed in one sitting, but it is still a great place to start.

Because there is so much information that goes into your go-book, my advice is to set up a schedule, maybe once a week, where you take time to fill in one or more requirements. So let’s get into it.  Here’s 10 things you should have in your go-book:

1. Evacuation Plan

2. Emergency Contacts

3. Medical Information

4. Insurance Information

5. Financial Information

6. Estate Planning

7. Personal Identification

8. 72 Hour Emergency Kit Planning

9. Food Storage Inventory/Planning

10. Other

For the next 10 weeks I am going to hit on one of these 10 things and break it down for you. I will show you what we have been doing in our go-book to help give you ideas of what it should look like. We have barely started ours so this will be a great way for us to all work on it at the same time and get it done in just 10 weeks!

One idea I wanted to mention in here was sending your actual documents to someone else’s house. That way they are safe either way (unless that persons house burns down…but let’s not go there). Just keep copies in your home. If you need the actual document (passport for example), then just arrange to pick it up before your trip. Of course you will want to keep track of who has your actual documents. Last thing you want to do right before a trip is forget who has your passports.

Here’s what you should do before next week:

1. Get a binder. Any binder will do.

2. Get paper. Grid is preferred. We will be talking about Evacuation plans next week so be prepared to draw your floor plan. You can actually print off go-book templates. They aren’t necessary but it could help. We will be building a template as we go that we will have available at the end for anyone who wants it.

3. Get a pen. Sorry, no pencils. And no funny colored pens, stick to blue or black (really it doesn’t matter, just a pet peeve of mine).

4. Do wrist stretches. This will be a lot of writing so get those writing wrists ready!

There’s your list of things to do before next week. I will be giving out homework after each post for the next 10 weeks. Sorry but it will help out with getting your go-book done and getting you one step closer to being a preparedness all-star!

Survivalist VS Preppers.

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Is There A Difference? I have came across a couple prepper / survival sites that have articles that compare and try to differentiate between survivalist and preppers. And for some reason certain people believe the term survivalist seems to be associated with criminals and extremists. I know the media seems to describe every criminal that retreats and hides … Continue reading Survivalist VS Preppers.

A Little Bit Of Both

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We finally got a little work done on the House, but first…..

Two weekends ago we went to College Station and cooked some Texas Red Chili with Jessie.

Our best friends and their daughter came with us and we had a great time. Neither me, Candy or Jessie placed in CASI chili, but I did win 2nd in Harley Davidson Show and Candy won 2nd in Peoples Choice Chili. It’s a great cook off and we plan to go every year.

One day I will own one, maybe

Being I have been neglecting my first priority, the house, I worked on it every night after work and really made some progress this weekend.
I finished the plumbing throughout the whole house and pressurized all the lines to check for leaks. Then I installed the Hardi Backer for the floor in the Bathroom and got everything ready for the tile. After that I insulated the Bathroom Back Wall by putting two layers of R30 sheeting behind the pipes and R13 bats in front.

Candy went and bought the toilet, the bathroom sink, tub and sink fixtures, the tile and the wine barrel for the sink to sit on. This pic shows the tile color and what the sink will kinda look like on top of the barrel. The sink faucet will be one of those open flow types that is polished bronze. I think it looks like an old timey hand water pump.  
The walls will be box planks we plan to pick up this week and start on.

As you can tell, we are working on the bathroom first, then the hallway and closet, then to the bedroom and finally the kitchen.

This week and weekend plans are to terminate the electrical through the whole house, tile the bathroom floor, pick up the bath tub, plumb in the drains for the tub, sink, toilet and washer. Then if I have any time left, I plan to start the box planks on the walls.

All that and we will also be cooking chili this weekend in Irving at a big cook off.  We missed this one last year because we went to Rankin to cook, but this time we are staying close to home.

It’s not much, but it’s at least something.

See ya,

Secure Wealth In Unsecure Times

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How do you hold onto wealth during a recession or depression? Economists are starting to talk a lot about the possibility of a recession or even a depression if the oil crash continues. Can we trust national currencies? What can we do to increase our personal security? The first step is to rethink what we […]

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Five Prepper Gems

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Prepper Books. Yes, those little gems of ideas that others have tolled over, put their blood, sweat and tears into in hopes of assisting those of us who need a little guidance in our times of need. These books are great source of ideas, projects and information to get those juices flowing to help us get pass that “prepper block” that we all can experience from time to time.

The New Baofeng BF-F8HP – A Worthy Successor to the UV-5R

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The new Baofeng BF-F8HP looks very similar to the UV-5R, but is a genuinely different and improved model.

The new Baofeng BF-F8HP looks very similar to the UV-5R, but is a genuinely different and improved model.

For several years, the small-sized and even smaller priced Baofeng UV-5R has been the most popular budget HT ‘walkie-talkie’ radio transceiver.  Although primarily intended for licensed radio ham operators, many of them have been purchased by people to use as ‘super’ FRS and GMRS radios, a (mis)use that is notionally illegal but almost never enforced by the FCC.  We’ve written several articles about this lovely radio, see, for example, ‘The Best Radio for FRS/GMRS‘ and also read through our articles on Communications in general for a lot of resource.

Baofeng have released a somewhat confusing variety of other models of radio (in particular, the UV-82 series), none of which have been compelling ‘upgrades’ to the core UV-5R radio.

Confusing the matter further, their various distributors have often rebadged and repackaged the UV-5R and given it new names, or implied it to be a new, improved, updated, enhanced subsequent model.  As far as we can tell, none of their claims have any foundation in truth at all, and no matter what the outside case of the radio, and no matter what its alleged model number, all such versions of the UV-5R are almost exactly the same, other than for occasionally updated versions of the firmware inside them, and all perform essentially identically.  Resellers also make varying claims about being official and sometimes the only official dealers for ‘real’ Baofeng radios, and these claims are also to be taken with a degree of open-minded skepticism – as best we can tell, Baofeng will happily sell their products to anyone who will buy them, and will slightly alter them as major customers may request.

To make it more confusing, the Baofeng radios are also sometimes called Pofung radios (this spelling more closely indicates how the underlying Chinese word is pronounced).  Again, there is no difference.

But now a truly new model has been released, and it truly is better than the standard UV-5R.  This is the model BF-F8HP.  Already, we are seeing a confusing diversity of model numbers surrounding this new radio type, as well.  The F8HP designation seems to be the official default designation, but there are other variants such as F9-V2+ (which seems to attempt to imply it is a later model than the F8) and the F8+ (which is actually a UV-5R).

There are three key differences between this new radio and the earlier UV-5R series, and one very important similarity.

1.  The new F8HP has three power settings rather than two.  The UV-5R had two power settings, and on high power was nominally claimed to be outputting 4 watts of power, and typically was closer to 4 watts on the 2 m band and 3 watts on the 70 cm band.  The F8HP has a low power that is similar to the UV-5R low power setting, a mid power which is similar to the UV-5R high power setting, and a high power which nominally gives you 8 watts and has been tested to give about 7 1/2 watts on 2m and 6 watts on 70cm.  That’s an appreciable boost in power, and may give you a slight increase in range in some settings.

2.  A new battery with more capacity.  The UV-5R typically had a battery claiming about an 1800 mAh capacity (and more realistically giving you 1500 mAh).  The new F8HP has a battery with a rated 2100 mAh capacity and good for about 2000 mAh.  The battery is the same size, but uses newer cells that have higher capacity.  You can never have too much battery, especially if you’re now using it at a much greater rate on the high power transmit setting.

3.  The new F8HP has a greatly improved antenna provided as standard.


The new style antenna is on the left, the old style is on the right.  This truly does make an appreciable difference to the radio’s ability to both send and receive signals a longer distance.

4.  The similarity :  All accessories that work with the UV-5R series also work with the F8HP.  That includes batteries as well as external microphones and speakers, and of course, antennas too.  So whatever you’ve bought already can be repurposed for the F8HP.

There are a few other minor differences too.  The new radio has some slightly improved internal circuitry, and a much better written 76 page manual.  Oh yes, it is also more expensive (but still great value), and currently can be found on Amazon for around $63, which is almost exactly twice the price of the UV-5R (which remains available for sale, too).

The F8HP operates on the same frequencies and has the same wide range of features and options, and can also be programmed through the same programming cables and the excellent free CHIRP software.

So – should you buy F8HP radios or twice as many UV-5R radios for the same amount of money?  We’re always keen to get the latest and greatest and best of everything, but the truth is that many times, the UV-5R will be all the radio you need.  If you get clear and reliable communications when using UV-5R radios, and especially if you are using them in low power mode, then there’s not really any need to get the F8HP.

If your UV-5R radios are struggling to connect to each other, then a better investment might be improved antennas on the UV-5Rs, rather than junking them and buying F8HPs.  A UV-5R with a good antenna (a Nagoya 701 or 771, for example) will generally give you comparable performance to a F8HP with its standard antenna.

But if you still have range issues, then, yes, you should get the F8HP.  A F8HP, on high power, and with an improved antenna, will beat the UV-5R every time.

As for us, we’re not junking any of our collection of UV-5R radios, but future purchases will all be of the F8HP.  Who knows what evolving needs and scenarios might come to pass, and you can never have too much range or battery life in your radio (although note that the UV-5R can also accept the same battery, and both can also use the extended battery or battery eliminators too).

The post The New Baofeng BF-F8HP – A Worthy Successor to the UV-5R appeared first on Code Green Prep.

Wells Lamont Wool Socks Perhaps not the Best Homesteader’s Choice

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This will serve as my update on one of my favorite homestead wares: Wells Lamont wool socks.

Unfortunately, I have to report that after only one year of use they are showing severe signs of breaking down.

Maybe my hopes were a little high after all the good reviews I read on Amazon and other blog posts but I still think a good pair of socks should hold up longer than one year.

I bought a slew of these comfortable fellas after our house fire which was October 2013. Technically, you could say it’s been a little over a year but I didn’t post on this exactly when I started to notice the breakdown.

As you can see by my shotty phone camera, the heels are wearing out in a large area. The seam in that area is also stretching. I have had to mend (yes, guys can sew) one pair already.

I’m not ready to give them up becuase they are EXTREMELY comfortable. I wear them daily and I wear two pair for cushion.

Plus these aren’t exactly the cheapest pair on the market either. My hopes that these would last a while was also fueled by their cost. I have around ten pair.

So, are they comfortable: yes. Do they hold up well with daily, regular use…doesn’t appear so.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? Should a pair of socks only last a year and a half?

Have you found a better brand? Is there a special technique of washing to make them last longer?

I also have a pair of Carhartt thick socks that appear to be doing pretty well although they were purchased more recently. The cushion on the sole seems to be staying thick instead of matting down like most socks tend to do.