Home Grown Food Summit Begins April 6

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Hey folks! Just a quick reminder to check out the Home Grown Food Summit.

It’s online.

It’s Free.

And it starts next week.

Sponsored by Marjory Wildcraft, the queen of Grow Your Own Groceries, you know it’ll be good.

Lest you are anticipating a Summit that is all about gardening, let me correct your thinking – it’s not! There will be webinars on raising chickens, canning, deer hunting, aquaponics and more. With more than 30 presentations, you know they’re going to cover lots. There’s a complete list of speakers here.

We’ll be there! Hope you can join us.

You’ll also receive four bonus ebooks when you register.

The post Home Grown Food Summit Begins April 6 appeared first on The Approaching Day Prepper.

A Month Ago

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I actually could not believe it has almost been a month since I last posted. I think this is the longest I have ever taken off.

We have been cooking chili almost every weekend here and there. It’s kinda been a hit and miss on making it in the top ten or the first in the trash. Last year our chili did great and this year it is only mediocre. The only thing to do is to keep cooking it and maybe it will turn around. This picture here was a couple of weeks ago in Dallas. Me, Candy and Jessie cooked with some great friends of ours and we all walked.

A three weeks ago my youngest girl Kylee started cooking with us and last weekend she won first place. She cooked against 48 other seasoned cooks with some being in the “Big Dog” category. I am so proud of her to do this on her second cook off. It makes it all worth it to see the younger generation doing things like this.

The House,
Well the house is coming along, slowly. Our goal was to be in it by May and that is not going to happen. I guess if I made it my number one priority then we would have made it. Here’s the deal, even though it’s a camper I have a roof over my head and I have a bed to sleep in. The house will get done when it gets done.
So let me show you some of the updates,

With the bathroom finished, I moved on to the hallway and the closet. I went ahead and tiled the hallway floor, but carpeted the closet. Then Candy wanted sliding barn doors to go with the horse stall look so I built the doors and installed them per her design. The hallway and closet is now completed.


We have already filled the closet with clothes and dressers just to get them out of boxes and out of the camper. It is so nice to be able to move around the camper again.

We have now moved into the bedroom and started work in there. We have the insulation in and the interior walls finished. This week I plan to insulate the ceiling and get the tin up. Once the bedroom is complete then we will shift gears and start on the kitchen. That is what will take the longest.  

Until next time,


How to Build Your Emergency Bag in 7 Easy Steps

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Why do we need a 72-hour kit? When planning the contents of your 72-hour kit, remember that this is only for 3 days max. Keeping that in mind should help you to not over pack. There are many situations where this kit could come in handy – not just during a disaster. There may be short-term reasons to keep a 72-hour kit in your car, in the office, as well as at home.

Fort Meade Gate attack

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Fort Meade houses the National Security Administration. (Source: WJLA/CNN) So what really happened here? Hopefully some one in the area will let us know and give us the real story instead of what the media and the NSA poster boys will say.

(CNN)Two men tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the probe. An NSA police officer shot one of the men dead, and seriously injured the second. Aerial shots show two vehicles at an intersection that appear to be damaged. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings.

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Breaking OpSec

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EV001408Traditional thinking about OpSec (Operational Security) is that we should keep quiet about our preps. In a catastrophic event, the thinking goes, civil unrest immediately follows and those who don’t have food will steal – by force, if necessary – from people who do. Everyone who has talked to many people about their prepping activities — that they store food, water, medicine, and supplies — has been told by someone, “If anything ever happens, I’m coming to your house!” Being interpreted, that means they have no intention of spending their time and money to prep. Why bother? You’ve already done it all for them. And when times do go bad, they’ll remember that you have what they need. And they’ll tell their friends and family about you, too. And all of them will tell their friends and family. So good OpSec dictates that if you want to keep what you’ve stored, you keep your mouth shut and not reveal to anyone what you’re doing.

I agree with that…to a point. But I’ll get to that.

We have purposefully gone against traditional OpSec with this website because we think that it’s important to get the word out to others about the need to prep. And we want to inform you and encourage you to prepare your family for the time when life continues, but with some major changes from how we know it today.

About a month ago we attended PrepperFest in Columbus, OH. It was our first prepper conference and we found it to be well worthwhile. One of the workshops was by Black Dog Survival School. I found the instructor’s take on OpSec to be surprising and so much more realistic than the traditional perspective. He asked a question that went something like this:

“How long after SHTF do you think it will take for those around you to figure out that you have food, shelter, heat, fire, and water?”

His answer – about two days after they run out, which will probably be about three days after the catastrophic event. I think he’s probably right. That means that by Day Five, unless you live in a really remote location, your OpSec will be shot, too, and you will have to make some critical and difficult decisions:

Will you share what you have and, if so, with whom?

In the cozy security of life-as-we-know-it, you may be able to take a hard line and answer that question very narrowly – you’ll share only with those you’ve prepped for or with. In other words, anyone else who comes knocking at your door will be turned away, probably at gunpoint. Or maybe you’re more generous and think you’ll share with your extended family and neighbors. But how far does that extend?

Will you really be able to say “no” to your children and their spouses and children? What about your in-laws and their families, including that brother-in-law who drives you nuts? What about your children’s in-laws?

As I recall, the speaker said when they honestly looked at their family tree, they decided that they would be prepping for fourteen people. Yep, fourteen. Because to do otherwise meant that they would be saying to people they love (and/or have an obligation to), “No, I can’t give you food – you will have to go hungry.”

Phil and I don’t have children, so we don’t have to deal with the heart-wrenching decisions of giving our rapidly decreasing food to our children and their in-laws. Sadly, we also don’t live near our siblings, so we don’t face sharing with them and their families either. (I wish we did.) But the question extends to our friends. Would we really tell our closest friends, “Sorry, we can’t share our water with you”? I can tell you the answer to that is “no” because we’ve already said, “Brother /sister, if you are in need and we can help, please come to us.” Just because life has changed doesn’t negate that promise we’ve made.

Of course, the problem is exacerbated when we know that some of the dear friends we’ve said that to have grown children and grandchildren. Despite our best efforts to convince them of the need, they are not preppers. How far does our grace extend? In all honesty, we struggle with that question, because supplies will disappear rapidly in a truly catastrophic event.

And then there is the neighbor who sees that we have food and water when they have none. Will we really say “no”? And will that honor God?

The conference speaker encouraged three actions that I totally agree with:

  • Think through this discussion with your spouse honestly. Lose the bravado and macho attitude. Pray about it. What would God have you to do?
  • Prep more food and water. More than you need for your family. More than you need for your extended family. More.
  • Break OpSec with those you care about. Talk about prepping with your family, friends, and neighbors. Don’t be the crazy doomsday relative or neighbor, but plan get-togethers and get to know one anothers’ skills and assets. Encourage prepping in whatever way makes sense for each person. Challenge each person to go a bit beyond what they think they can or should do.

So what do you say the person who simply says, “If that happens, I’m coming to your house”? I’ve developed a new response to that. It’s something like, “OK. What are you bringing to the party? What are you prepared to contribute to the group?” And if there is an opening, I continue, “You see, you are welcome at my house and I will share what I can with you, but understand that if I share my year’s supply of food with you, we then only have a six months’ supply. And if you bring your husband, we now have only a four months’ supply of food. And four months isn’t long enough to grow enough food for all of us to continue to live on. So what will you contribute?”

Overwhelmed by this? Thinking, “Hey, I’m still trying to get enough food for me and my family set aside and now you want me to do more?” Then step away from this article and revisit it in a few months. We’re all at different places in our preps. Over the past few months I’ve just come to realize that more really is better. And that our goal of having enough food and water for “Phil and I and some to share” needs to be modified to “Phil and I and LOTS to share.”

The post Breaking OpSec appeared first on The Approaching Day Prepper.

Preparation and Proximity

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Less than two weeks ago, Ryan Giroux went on a rampage in Mesa. His actions killed one person and wounded five others in a spree that shut down parts of the city. What is even more frightening about his actions is that they took place in a part of town that I regularly traverse. The […]

The post Preparation and Proximity appeared first on Smart Suburban Survival.

Sunday Dinner: Teriyaki Chicken and Rice from your Food Storage!

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Too often, I hear that folks shy away from using Food Storage Staples as they have this perception that it somehow substandard.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice….a Sunday Dinner!

I want to show you how you can prepare a wonderful meal using items in your Food Storage. For heaven’s sake….who doesn’t love Teriyaki Chicken?  
Before I left for Church this morning I decided that we were going to have Teriyaki Chicken so, I took out my trusty Crock pot.  I put in Chicken Breasts that I had frozen in pairs and coated them with Teriyaki Sauce.  (See the link to learn how simple it is to prepare your own and have it on hand).  I turned on the Crock pot and got ready for Choir Practice. Hours later, I entered my home to that magnificent aroma of Teriyaki.  It filled the entire house.
I wanted to have rice with my amazing chicken….so we did.  I pulled out my the Minute Rice that I dehydrated myself.  Now, just to clarify I didn’t set out to make my own Minute Rice the first time that I placed it in the dehydrator.  The fact of the matter is that I had a lot left over from a family gathering.  This rice had butter on it too. I have frozen rice before, but I never have wanted to wait for it to unthaw. (Yes, I am very impatient…..).  I decided to try to dehydrate it.  I took out my dehydrator and the fruit leather inserts.  When it was finished, I dry packed it into jars and vacuum sealed it with my Food Saver.  
Today, I opened my jar and poured in the desired amount of rice.  (By the way, I always check to see if it is rancid when I break the vacuum seal.  I am happy to report that it never has been).
When I add water, I just barely cover the rice.  I then bring it to a boil and cook it until it is the consistency I desire.  I literally takes a couple of minutes once the water starts to boil.  Just for your information, the rice still tasted of butter and it was delicious!
So far, we have discussed using Frozen, Canned, Dry Packed, and Dehydrated foods for this meal.  In my Cold Storage (my 2nd refrigerator), I retrieved apples and sliced them with this handy device that most people think is only for canning.  Not around here!
Once we got home, I had dinner on the table in about 15 minutes….that’s right….15 minutes.  I LOVE THAT!

Take Home Message:

  • Food Storage is vibrant and delicious!  You can have a wide variety of meals if you plan and prepare for them.
  • Food Storage meals can sometimes be a great convenience as it was today. I made this meal in a less time that it would have taken to go to the Drive-through at a restaurant.
  • I know the quality of my ingredients….because I chose them all!  I am not dependent on someone in a back room choosing the ingredients and putting it all together for me.  If I have special dietary requirements, I can management them by stocking up on items that fit with my limitations.
  • I believe I made this meal for 2 for under $4.00 today.  Take that big box restaurants!
  • I am rotating my staples and trying out recipes at a time when I could always make something else if this didn’t work out.
  • I am gaining skill sets by thinking of meals that could use any of the following types of foods:  Canned, Frozen, Dehydrated, Dry Packed, and in Cold Storage.


INFOGRAPHIC: Risk Areas Of Natural Disasters in the USA

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Life throws you curveballs, and there are many things in life that you can’t prepare for. However, you can prepare for natural disasters and severe weather that’s likely to come your way. Different areas of the United States are more likely to encounter certain kinds of dangerous weather, and by knowing what your region is […]

What I Didn’t Say on TV

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dohWhen did you last have one of those “Doh!” moments? You know, one of those Homer Simpson slap-yourself-on-the-forehead, what-an-idiot-I’ve-been moments? Sometimes it’s because of something that you’ve said. More often it’s because of what you forgot to say.

Sandy and I were on national TV recently. We were featured on a show called Biblical Preppers that was broadcast on the Destination America cable channel. Many of you are probably reading this as a result of seeing us on the show. (Welcome. We hope you like what you see. Be sure to subscribe by filling in your email address in the box at the top of the column on the left. Thanks.) Those of you who have seen the show have the advantage over me. I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t find out that it was being broadcast until the show was actually on and I missed the first half of it. That would be, of course, the half in which we were featured. I’ll catch one of their many reruns.

The production company sent a producer and video crew to our home for two days in December 2013. Two days after the crew had packed up and left, I slapped myself on the forehead and shouted, “Doh!” I had just realized that I left something out – probably the most important thing I wanted to communicate. I didn’t tell them what I believe about the things that are happening and the real reason why I became a prepper.

I believe that God’s hand of protection has been taken away from America.

America has its detractors and it’s easy to find fault with it at any time in its history, but I don’t think you can find a better place to be in the 200-plus years of its existence. That’s why people have flocked to its shores and continue to do so by the millions. Those who are critical of America ignore or discount all of the good things that this nation has done for the world. You can’t be on Facebook for fifteen minutes without seeing that someone has put up the poster that says the only ones who would freely die for you are Jesus Christ and the American soldier.

Yeah, we’ve been just that kind of place. We’ve been just that kind of people. But things are changing, and they are changing rapidly. This was once a nation that knew God and sought to follow Him. It used to be that when the word “God” was spoken in a room with 100 people, about 90 of them would have the same thoughts about God go through their heads — who He is, what He’s like, etc. That is far from the case today.

At work I am required to ask people what their religion or denomination preference is. Overwhelmingly, the most common answer is “none.” For some people that means that they see no distinction in one religion from another – any one is as good as another. For others it means that they want to be free from religion and any thoughts of God at all. They don’t want to be ultimately accountable to anyone. To them, God is dead or never existed in the first place. But increasingly, especially among people under the age of 35 or so, when I ask the question about their preference, they don’t even understand the words that I’m speaking. I repeat it, thinking that they didn’t hear me, but it’s not the volume that’s the problem. It’s the vocabulary. They don’t know what the words “religion” or “denomination” mean. Honest to God! They live in a society that is so far removed from God that they have no words for Him or His culture. And friends, while it may not be the case around you and your immediate family and associates, it’s the society in which you live today, too.

God has been systematically removed from America for the past 50 years. My company held its annual Day of Prayer yesterday during which we prayed for our employees, clients, and key contacts by name. We prayed for one woman at a client company who, if you mention a problem or difficulty, will openly tell you that’s she will pray for you, and always closes every call with a “God bless you.” We marveled that she is allowed to get away with that at a major U.S. corporation in this day and age. Such speech is increasingly becoming prohibited in America today. Someone might become offended. We shouldn’t pray for people. We should never bless them in the name of God. Not in the workplace. Someone might complain. Or they might even file a lawsuit against us. This is the kind of place that America has become in my lifetime. Keep God to yourself or suffer the consequences. You will be persecuted prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Culture does, too. If you take something out, something else will move in to take its place. America is increasingly removing God from our society. People are turning away from the God who has blessed them, led them, and protected them. So what takes His place? Lawlessness. A casting off of all restraints. Corruption of moral standards, justice, and God’s word. (For more on this, see this hard hitting article.)

How does God feel about? A close reading of Jeremiah chapter 2 will spell it all out:

The word of the Lord came to me.  “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’” declares the Lord.

 Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.  This is what the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’ I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.”

That second paragraph tears my heart out. God is asking the people He has loved and cared for and who have turned their back on Him, “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols.” Some might hear that spoken as an accusation. I hear it as spoken from a grieved and broken heart. Still, God’s justice demands that He judge such behavior. Read his response to being abandoned by the people from the latter half of Jeremiah 2:

“Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children. Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.

Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder? Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted. Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.

Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way? Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates? Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”

Jeremiah is the story of God calling His wayward people to repentance over and over again, and their stubborn refusal to listen to God, heed His warnings, acknowledge that they had strayed from Him, and return to Him. As a result, God disciplines them by sending the Babylonians to eat their lunch in the bag they brought it in and carry them off to captivity for 70 years.

I believe that America is guilty of everything that brought judgment and destruction on the Israelites. I believe that God is calling us to repentance, but America is stepping up its resistance to Him instead of returning to Him. And I believe that God is removing His hand of protection from America.

That’s why I prep. I believe judgment is coming. Like Noah, I’m building an ark, so to speak. I trust God, but I see trouble coming and I take action.

And that’s what I forgot to say on TV.

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Prepper Books of the Week

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Looking for new prepper reads? Look no more! Here are two new prepper books out that discuss prepping your pantry. Even if you’ve been prepping for awhile, reading what other preppers are doing can be a fun and valuable way to get new ideas.

PREPPER: The Ultimate PREPPERS PANTRY Guide for Beginners: The Best Strategies and Advice You Need to Know to Store Food and Water in Order to Survive a Disaster!

This book contains proven steps and strategies on how to stock a successful pantry that will last you through any crisis or survival situation. 

Disasters are inevitable. They are not always preventable. The best thing you can do to ensure you and your family and friends’ well-being is to be prepared. One of the best ways to do this is through the effective storage of food and water. 

This book will take you through the process of preparing an operational prepper’s pantry. It will show you the options you have for storing food and water, the pros and cons of these options and how to know if they are right for you. 

It also outlines some of the basic mistakes that most people make with food storage, so that you can avoid them and be well on your way to building up a stockpile that will be vital in case of any emergency. 

Don’t let yourself be caught unaware. A well-executed food and water storage plan can make the difference between life and death. 

Be ready, be prepared and survive. 

Prepper’s Pantry: 55 Most Popular Convenience Food for Tasty Life Saving Meals (Prepper’s Pantry Books, Prepper’s Pantry, prepper survival)

55 Most Popular Convenience Food for Tasty Life Saving Meals

Who says that your emergency food stockpile has to be filled with bland, flavorless junk? With the right advice and the right amount of ingenuity, you can recreate a familiar, delicious, nutritious, and most of all comfortable variety for your family. Even in the worst disaster, you can use the act of preparing and eating meals to offer a slice of normalcy and comfort to your entire family. Nutrition is important, but it’s just as critical to make sure that you can provide that comfort to your family in a stressful emergency situation. 

Circumstances can often make many of those “comfort foods” unavailable, but fortunately there are more shelf-stable options available for preppers than ever before! Just because you are living off of emergency rations does not mean that you will be eating beans and rice every day. This book will offer suggestions that will add flavor and variety to your emergency food storage! This book will teach you about: 

This book will teach you about:

  • How to incorporate a variety of different fruits into your diet when they’re not available fresh
  • Enhancing and increasing the quality of convenience foods
  • Finding a balance between ready-to-eat meals and shelf-stable ingredients
  • Maximizing your family’s comfort in an emergency situation through food
  • Being creative and flexible with what you have on hand
  • Much, much more!

What are some of your favorite prepper books?

Be Safe & Organized with an Epson Safety Label Kit

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Safety Label Kit

I’m an organizing fanatic! Even when I was little I had issues – I would be in a waiting room with toys and I would organize them instead of play with them. I even taped off part of my room that I shared with my sister and told her that her junk better not cross the line (yes, I should probably help pay for her therapy now).

Anyways, I feel every area of life could benefit from a little bit (or a lot) of organizing, including preps!

That’s why I jumped for joy when Epson offered to send me a Safety Label Kit to review! My mom is the label maker queen, but I had no idea they had one specific for safety and preparedness until recently!

Fluorescent - Reflective - Glow-in-the-Dark Label Tape

The different types of tape in the Safety Label Kit are what really make it stand out!

Here are the tapes that are included and some ideas of things to use them for: 

  • Reflective Tape – Helmets, Bikes, Sporting Gear, Strollers, Running Shoes
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Tape – Emergency Supplies, Exit Routes, Circuit Breakers, Shut-Off Switches
  • Fluorescent Tape – Expiration Dates, Caution Alerts, Medication Containers, Emergency Contacts

Printing First Aid Label

Awesome Features & Benefits of the Safety Label Kit:

The Safety Label Kit is perfect for printing durable, customized labels to improve safety in the home, office, classroom, or just about anywhere else.

Quick and easy-to-use, the LabelWorks Safety Kit creates an endless array of possibilities, whether adding reflective tape to sporting gear, ensuring emergency supplies are labeled with glow in the dark tape in the event of a blackout, or brightly noting expiration dates on food supplies with fluorescent tape.

Including built in memory and over 300 symbols, the LablelWorks Safety Kit ensures that labels can be effortlessly customized for all safety needs, while easily recalling previous labels made.

  • Choose from 14 font types and 10 font styles
  • Built-in memory stores up to 30 label design files
  • Prints up to two lines of text
  • Has over 300 symbols & 75 frames
  • Accommodates tapes from 6mm (1/4 inch) to 12mm (1/2 inch) wide
  • Works with industrial strength glow-in-the-dark and reflective tapes, as well as sticky labels and printable ribbons (sold separately)

Using the EpsonWorks Safety Kit

Using Your Safety Label Kit:

I immediately busted mine out and started playing with it. Even though my mom was a label addict, I had never used a label maker in my life. I still did things the old school way – with a printer or a sharpie 😉

Surprisingly, it was much easier to use than I thought – because of course I didn’t bother reading the instructions first. You just literally slap some batteries and tape in the back of it and it’s ready to go.

The only thing I did learn, is DON’T pull on the tape to get more out – trust me!

Don't pull tape out of labeler

Below are my very first labels made with the Safety Label Kit – big moment 😉

I loved how you could add pictures to it, change the font, use different types and sizes of tape, and really do anything your imagination could come up with to create the perfect label.

Safety Labels made with the Epson LabelWorks Safety Kit

Label Your Preps!

I immediately started thinking up things to label. The only problem is, once you start you can’t stop!

First Aid Kits

You may know it’s a first aid kit, but what about everyone else in your home, or even the babysitter?

Plus, when blood is oozing everywhere, you don’t want to waste valuable time giving explicit instructions on the exact location of your first aid kit – so just label it!

First Aid Label with Fluorescent Tape

Also, I stole this idea from my mom, but I think it’s brilliant – label everything that is in your first aid kit on the side of it. That way you know which kit to grab if you have multiple ones. It also helps you to know what needs replaced or might be missing.

Labeling First Aid Kits

Shed & Tools

Kuddos to you men that know how to organize your tools! I rarely walk by a garage that doesn’t look like a disaster zone, but when I do I stop to gawk –  It’s super impressive!

I just love when everything has a home, and with a label it makes it even easier to remember where everything goes. Labels are especially important when you have items that are different sizes, because if you put something in the wrong area, the other items won’t fit.

Glow-in-the-Dark Label Tape used for shovels

Organizing tool shed with labels.

The glow-in-the-dark-tape worked really well too!

Epson Glow-in-the-Dark tape


Labels have been especially helpful for my pantry shelves, buckets, and even my large food rotation system so I know exactly where certain foods go and how much of each item.

It makes for a quick inventory to see what I’m missing & how much I need to fill everything back up to have a years worth of food.

Fluorescent tape is also a good reminder when you need to replace anything in your pantry 🙂

Use Fluorescent tape to label food.

Label Everything…

I guess you don’t have to label everything, but if you have a label maker – why not 😉


Label Presents with Epson LabelWorks Printer.

Makes labeling presents a breeze, especially around Christmas!

Toys & Pets

Label your pets ;)

Yeah, he’s a tiger, but they named him Cheetah!

Danger 😉

Label Dangerous Kids

He may look sweet – but danger is his middle name (or at least it should be)!

Do You Label?

So what about you? Do you label or have a way you like to organize your preps?

I appreciate the opportunity to review the Epson Safety Label Kit! Definitely check-it out if you’re ready to be safe and organized by just the push of a button – literally 😉

Find One…

You can find the label printer & tapes at Amazon.com, Staples.com, and at OfficeMax (in store and online).

Label Printer:

Label Tapes:

You can find the entire Epson LabelWorks Safety Kit with the items listed above at Epson.com.

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DIY Soda Can Stove

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What’s the easiest and fastest way to make a DIY soda can stove? Glad you asked. There are actually a TON of valuable uses for this little powerhouse of a stove. And whether you call it a soda can stove, a penny can stove, or even a hobo stove, this compact stove can literally save […]

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How To Deal With Electric Shocks and Electrocution

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How to Deal With Electric Shocks/Electrocution –by Guest Contributor, Dan F. Sullivan

Although information about survival and preparedness is abundant these days, it’s extremely hard to find information about electrocution. Knowing what to do if you or anyone else gets electrocuted is of paramount importance particularly after a tornado or a hurricane, when the power lines are down….

8 Reference Works for Living Without Doctors

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First aid training and resources are readily available for a number of medical emergencies. These skills and resources are focused on mitigating harm and keeping someone alive long enough to get them to professional medical care. But what if there is no professional medical care available? What if it is too dangerous or will take too long to get to professional medical treatment? What do you need to know–what do you need to do–to treat someone who may never see a doctor?


Fortunately for anyone preparing for this kind of scenario, for many people in this day and age this is already a fact of life. Aid workers and missionaries in remote parts of the world, for example, may find themselves dealing with all kinds of medical conditions in places with not enough medical professionals and not enough medical supplies and equipment. Ships’ crews on the open sea are also interested in treating medical conditions that would send one to Urgent Care back on dry land. Here is a short list of some of the resources developed for such people, plus some references used by medical professionals:

No professional medical care?

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook

amazon.com      Kindle      FREE download
Arguably the most widely-used health care manual in the world. Practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Special attention is focused on nutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.

Where There Is No Dentist

amazon.com     FREE download
Caring for teeth and gums plus: examining patients; diagnosing common dental problems; making and using dental equipment; using local anesthetics; placing fillings; and removing teeth.

The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide

amazon.com     FREE download
Contains a wide range of authoritative advice – from birth to death, from first aid, general nursing, hygiene and the prevention of disease, to the treatment of injuries and diseases. The recommended measures for prevention and treatment can be safely carried out by an intelligent layman.

The Ship’s Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea

amazon.com     FREE download
Information upon the occasion of an injury to any of the crew or the appearance of sickness among them, to aid in obtaining a knowledge of the act of preventing disease, to give the necessary information as to the means of obtaining hospital or dispensary relief, and to serve as a guide to the proper use of the medicine chest.

Get ready with these medical references:

Bates Guide to Physical Examination and History-Taking

amazon.com      Kindle
An easy-to-follow two-column format with step-by-step examination techniques on the left and abnormalities with differential diagnoses on the right. Vibrant full-color art.

CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

amazon.com      Kindle
Current insight into symptoms, signs, epidemiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment for more than 1,000 diseases and disorders. Many full-color photographs and illustrations.

The 5-Minute Clinical Consult Standard

amazon.com      Kindle
Diagnosis, treatment, medications, follow-up, and associated factors for a broad range of diseases and conditions. Also guides to health maintenance.

The Merck Manual

Essential information on diagnosing and treating medical disorders.

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What If You Run Out of Money?

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My new tiller

Let’s face it…who hasn’t run out of money at some point in their lives? The point of this post is to show you that cash isn’t always king in the real world. Handheld physical assets will always be an acceptable form of exchange.

Trust me. I just did it tonight.

One thing we sorely needed on our new homestead was a tiller to begin our new garden. Tillers can be bought from stores for hundreds of dollars. They can also be rented from equipment rental stores by the day or week.

We are low on funds from our recent move to Idaho so I had to think outside the box. One method of finding things you need, which I have shared here before, is using a CraigsList application on your computer or cell phone to notify you when someone posts something you want for sale. I input several items into my app like “tiller”, “freezer”, “shed” and such. Then, when someone posts an add selling something with those keywords in the title, I get an email or text notification.

The quicker you act on the notification, the better the chance you can score it. Tonight was just such a night for me.

Someone posted a used Husqvarna tiller for $300. I looked up this tiller on Google and found it for sale (new) at Sears for $459. Having no cash, but knowing what items are ALWAYS in demand, I quickly contacted the seller and offered a trade.

I said “Your tiller is just what I’m looking for to start our garden but I have no cash. Would you be interested in trading for something that goes bang?”

His immediate reply was “Absolutely!”

I sent him a few photos of my 12g shotgun bought at last years Black Friday sale over at Cal-Ranch in Flagstaff. It was a $300-350 semi-auto that they had on sale for $199 (only seven were sold at that price.) I had only fired it twice so it was still in pristine condition.

I quickly headed to his house and reviewed the tiller. It barely showed any signs of use and fired up on the first pull of the cord. I was sold! I showed him the shotgun and the deal was done. We wrote up a quick contract of sale and down the road I went.

With no cash to speak of and payday still three days away, I am now a proud owner of a shiny new ORANGE Husqvarna front tine tiller.

Garden, here I come!

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Offer services (like yard work, babysitting, etc) or items for trade and you’ll be surprised what you might get.

My past barters:


The Go-Book: Estate Planning

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RIPThis section could be titled your ” I’m not old enough for this info” page. I know for my self, I don’t feel old enough to worry about half of this stuff, if not all of it. However, this does need to get done because we really never know when our time will come. Also, if you are at the age that I am, and are starting your young family, then these things should be important to you. This may be a bit dry and boring, but we are adults now and these things should get done.

Here’s what to include:

Wills. This is an important one, especially if you now have kids. You want to make sure you get this done because if you do, you can decide where your kids go in the case that you and your spouse die, or become a vegetable. If you don’t write up a will, your family will have to fight over who gets custody of the kids. You will want to include the name of executor in this section as well, so those you leave behind will know who is in charge of your will.

The nice thing about wills is you can write what is called a “ghost will”. This is basically a will written on a napkin. As long as you write it in your pen and sign it, it stands in court.

Power of Attorney. If you become a vegetable, you will want to have someone you trust make the decisions for your finances and other important details. As far as I know, as long as you’re married your spouse will be your power of attorney. Although I think that is only if his/her name is also on the account. I personally feel that it is important to have both names on every account you have. It will make these things so much easier for the spouse that survives. Nothing could be more frustrating then having your spouse die AND not be able to access any of ‘your’ finances simply because your name wasn’t on the accounts.

Personal Directives. According to Alberta human services, “Personal directives are legal documents which allow you to name a decision maker and/or provide written instructions to be followed when, due to illness or injury, you no longer have the capacity to make decisions such as where you will live or the medical treatment you will receive.” This goes along with wills and power of attorneys. This is instructions on where you want your finances spent, who is in charge of what, and when things are to be done.

Cemetery Lot. This is a weird one to think about even at my ripe old age of 30. However, if I was killed in a car accident tomorrow, does my wife know where I want to be buried and how? Does she know if I want to be cremated or not? These are all things we need to discuss now that we have families. Again, still weird to think about at this young age.

Funeral Instructions. Who gives your eulogy? I told my wife I want bag pipes played at mine because I think they sound amazing. Who are the pallbearers?

This will be the one section you just want to get out of the way. It is important to get these details right, and then you should never have to worry about them again.

Your Responsibility

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In recent weeks, I’ve been working on drafting social media policies for several new organizations that I work or volunteer with. And while each organization uses social media differently, one common thread has been evident in each organizational training:

User Responsibility

While an organization can easily say “here is how we will engage in social media,” it is important to realize that your employees, your volunteers and your social media administrators will all contribute to your agency’s reputation in the social space.

But you cannot assume that all of your employees or volunteers understand how to most appropriately engage in social media. This is why training and orientation to your social media policy is of serious importance.

Here are some basic guidelines to consider:

  • Employees and Volunteers are responsible for their personal engagement and their privacy settings in social media.  Not only should this be said out loud to employees and volunteers, but there are a couple of very specific recommendations that I make in this area. They include recommendations to:
    • Conduct the “privacy review” of your settings on Facebook every 3-6 months. Facebook is notorious for changing its privacy settings regularly and it’s important for you to be in touch with these changes as they occur.
    • You should look at your Facebook profile from the perspective of a non-friend. Are you exposing more than you wish to? Often people don’t realize that both profile pictures and cover photos show up publicly on your timeline, including all of the comments of your friends.  You can choose to hide each of these from your timeline so that no one on the outside can see these pictures.
    • It’s also important to look at the “timeline & tagging” setting on Facebook. Did you know that Facebook employs facial recognition in pictures and will ask your friends to verify your identify in pictures? You want to turn this setting off. To do this, look under the “Timeline and Tagging” setting, look for the “Who sees tag suggestions when photos are uploaded that look like you” and turn that setting to “no one”
    • On Twitter and other platforms, don’t be afraid to block or report spam-like accounts. How do you determine if an account looks spammy? If their Twitter handle seems convoluted, they have an egg-like profile picture or if their tweets are highly repetitive, feel free to block these accounts. You don’t need to have spammy accounts following you, even if they share your content.
  • Employees should think twice before being “friends” on social media. This issue can be tricky because, often, people spend so much time with those that they work with that it seems natural to also follow each other on social media, right? The reality is that because you spend so much time together, you probably shouldn’t follow each other on social media unless you truly are friends outside of work.
  • Employees, with different levels of organizational authority, should disconnect from each other. If one employee is responsible to evaluate the performance of another employee, social media posts may present some awkward moments, particularly when employees post after calling in sick to work. It’s often easier to become friends later when you no longer have a power differential in your relationship.

Beyond these recommendations, it is important for your employees and volunteers to understand that you all share in your agency’s reputation online. This means that if they post content that they might regret later, it could also influence how others feel about your organization. If employees and volunteers feel part of your agency team, they will be important supporters and protectors of your agency’s image well into the future.

Bottom line? Good social etiquette is everyone’s responsibility.

It’s a Matter of a Sunday Brunch….From Food Storage Staples!

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It’s Sunday once again. I love Sunday’s because the pace of life slows down just a little.  We can even take naps sometimes!  Because it is so low key, I like to make our Sunday meal from our Food Storage Staples. This allows us to use what we store and also rotate our food.  It also lets us try new things when we have plenty and not wait until the chips are down. Trying new foods where some sort of crisis exists is foolhardy indeed. 

Easy Bistro Chicken

I found a recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken at myrecipes.com.  This recipe calls for a lot of fresh ingredients, which I am totally in favor of. However, I was able to make this same recipe using items from my Pantry and Food Storage.  Let’s see how it went!
The recipe called for canned Italian Style Tomatoes drained and chopped.  I used canned diced tomatoes and I did not drain them.  I will show you why in a minute.  
Chopped Onions and Garlic are part of this dish. I used dehydrated forms of both.
Sliced Mushroom are an important ingredient.  I used my the Mushrooms that I dehydrated a few months ago when they were on sale.
Chopped Pepper is also called for. Again, I used my dehydrated Peppers that I dehydrated some time ago.
Diced Celery is also required for this dish, I used some that I had purchased in a #10 Can.
Remember when I made the decision not to drain my tomato as the recipe suggested?  Well, I chose not to do that as I was putting in dehydrated ingredients. These dried ingredients absorbed the extra liquid.
While the sauce was simmering, I added Italian Seasoning as the original recipe called for “Italian-style Tomatoes”.  I was adding the “Italian” in this manner.
From the Freezer I added Chicken Strips.  Frozen foods are also part of my Food Storage Staples.
I let the Chicken unthaw and simmer in the tomato-based sauce.  I put on some Macaroni noodles (the recipe called for Macaroni or Cavatappi) to cook while the sauce simmered.
When we served the Bistro Chicken, I also added some grated Parmesan Cheese and sliced apples. The Apples came from our 2nd refrigerator and I have a block of Parmesan that I grate for dishes like this.  My second refrigerator is cold storage for fruits and items like Parmesan Cheese. These foods were also from my Food Storage.  

Take Home Points:

  • We had a  nutritious and very scrumptious meal even though fresh ingredients were not used.
  • I did not have to go shopping yesterday to be ready for today, I just used items I had on hand.
  • Adapting recipes to use your Pantry and Food Storage items is usually relatively simple.  If you are using dehydrated or freeze-dried foods, allow for additional liquid.  Frozen foods require some time to thaw and be cooked appropriately.
  • Having the satisfaction of making something great from items on hand…..Priceless!
Here is the recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken (with my adaptions in red)  from Myrecipes.com:

Ingredients for Easy Bistro Chicken:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (From my Pantry)
4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves, skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken thighs (about 1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken drumsticks (about1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
2 cups chopped onion (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
4 garlic cloves, minced (Dehydrated, From my spice cabinet)
1 cup chopped celery (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup sliced green olives (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup capers (did not use)
1 tablespoon sugar (From my Pantry)
Dash of ground red pepper (From my spice cabinet)
2 bay leaves (From my spice cabinet)
1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, undrained and chopped (Diced Tomatoes From my Food Storage with added Italian Seasoning)
8 cups hot cooked macaroni or cavatappi (Macaroni, From my Pantry)
Parsley sprigs (optional) (From my spice cabinet)
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast halves to pan; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken pieces; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add celery; sauté 5 minutes. Add basil and next 8 ingredients (basil through tomatoes). Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
Uncover and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with pasta. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.
Note: You can chop the tomatoes in the can using kitchen shears.MyRecipes is working with Let’s Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Try It Soon!

My Favorite Hiking Apparel

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I never imagined so many of you would be interested in my backpacking clothing choices. You asked, I listened. I’ve received lots of questions lately about apparel selection and articles of clothing that you’ve seen me wearing in photos throughout my blog. It’s great to hear you’re digging around through my older articles. So for those of you that asked, below is a collection of the items that I most commonly wear. These are my “go-to” pieces.

Find what works for you

The clothes that I wear are probably outdated compared to many of today’s more technical fabrics, but each and every item was selected through personal trial and error over the years and I’ve grown to trust them. Each piece has served me well through all manner of situations and weather conditions. I’m confident that any one of the items below will serve you well too, but I encourage you to follow your own path, test different types of apparel under varying conditions until you find what works for you. Don’t just take my word for it. Your mileage may vary as they say.

My basic clothing system

This is my starting point. I would only loosely call it a layering system. It’s really just a collection that I love and feel comfortable in. I can add or subtract from this configuration depending on the needs of my trip or weather. I can swap out my down jacket for my soft shell, or take both. I can add gloves, rain protection, or anything else – but I always start with these trusted favorites.

My Favorite Hiking Apparel - Backpacking Layering System

Items shown above

  1. North Face knitted beanie – I’ve worn this incredibly soft, fleece lined beanie for years. If I ever lose it I’d buy the same one again.
  2. Montbell ultralight down jacket – Ultralight 8oz down jacket. Packs smaller than a 32oz bottle, blocks a fair amount of wind, and is relatively water-repellant.
  3. GoLite Dakota wind shirt – This incredibly lightweight () shirt/smock
  4. EMS techwick 1/4 zip base layer – Midweight base layer with amazing sweat wicking ability to keep you dry and warm. The stretch spandex greatly enhances mobility.
  5. 5.11 Tactical Burner polarized sunglasses – I’m on my third pair of these sun glasses. I lost a pair, crushed a pair (ran over them with my car) and just bought another pair. Best sunglasses I’ve ever had for fit and function.
  6. Suunto Vector – Rugged, reliable, feature rich, and trail tested. More watch than you probably ever need. I wear one constantly. It could only be improved if it were solar powered like G-Shocks.
  7. EMS wool boxer briefs – Whether you hike, run, ruck, or climb — these boxers wick moisture to keep you dry and comfortable on the move.
  8. 5.11 Tactical TDU belt – Belts may not be sexy, but this one does what it needs to do with ease and reliability.
  9. Mountain Khakis Granite Creek convertible pants – Quick-dry, UV 50+ lightweight convertible pants. Perfect for PCT to AT or any hike. Relaxed fit and extremely comfortable.
  10. Salomon Speedcross 3 GTX trail running shoe – Everyone’s wearing them because they rock! Comfortable, high quality, reliable footwear ready for just about anything.
  11. EMS merino wool hiking socks – Happy feet = happy hiking. Get yourself some Merino hiking socks. Warmth, cushioning comfort, and moisture-wicking.

Items not shown

  • Montane Minimus Rain Jacket – Love this jacket. Packs extremely small which means I can always have it with me in my pack.
  • Mechanix Wear Fast-Fit gloves – Lightweight gloves for trail work. May not keep your hands warm in winter, but will protect them during camp tasks.
  • Fitbit Flex activity tracker – I’ve been tracking my daily activity for two years now with my Fitbit Flex. Waterproof when all others aren’t.

Shelter and Sleep System

I’ve had a lot of inquiries about the components of my sleep system and shelter configuration so I’ll start work on pulling that together soon.

The post My Favorite Hiking Apparel appeared first on Brian’s Backpacking Blog.

Off to a Terrific Start

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1st batch, mostly Americaunas.

Boy oh boy are we off to a great start on our new homestead. I haven’t blogged much because I’ve been so busy doing what we’ve been training to do for years.

If you’ve been following my blog (are you two still out there?) you’ll know we’ve been preparing to be homesteaders for about seven years. We started in Mesa, Arizona with a cookie-cutter home crammed between two other homes in a packed subdivision.

We determined that smog filled, crime infested, traffic laden city life was no longer for us. We started studying SurvivalBlog.com, Rural-Revolution.com, and similar websites to learn what we didn’t know…how to be self sufficient. YouTube helped tremendously thanks to some folks like LDSprepper, WranglerStar, Engineer775 and the like.

Most people, I think, sit back and say “We don’t know how” or “I don’t have time” and never start. We made a conscious decision to start no matter what. We began planting gardens on our 0.17 acre city house and attempted to raise chickens. I started learning how to handle different weapons and Wifey started sewing, canning, dehydrating, and crafting.

Simple swing does wonders for children (and teens!)

Did we succeed? Not as much as we would have liked but we learned a huge amount of knowledge. Our chickens were quickly eaten by our dog and our garden succeeded about one third of the time.

I began slowly collecting hand tools and items we could use for self sufficiency. I have about fifteen 55 gallon drums that I’ve been towing around the country that will someday be a rain water collection system, better than the simple two barrel system I experimented with in Mesa.  Along the way, I acquired an 8 x 10 enclosed trailer and slowly built it into a mobile workshop.

Enjoying a gun show less than one mile from my house.

If you aren’t where you plan to be permanently, don’t let that stop you. As a renter, my approach was to make everything modular. Make a workshop that I could tow behind my truck and take it with us when we moved. Same for the garden. Build raised bed garden boxes that can be put in the back of a truck if you move. Same for chicken coops…they can be mobile too.

Fast forward to now. We have attained our three acre paradise and can easily slide into gardening, building rain catchments, canning, planting our orchard, etc.

In the past two months (we’ve been here for almost three), we’ve have:

  1. planted apple trees x 2, pear trees x 2, peach trees x 2, raspberry bushes x 2, blueberry bushes x 2, strawberries and herbs. (video link) Trees were $11.69 at the CostCo in town.
  2. built two pig pens to hold the 4 or  5 swine we will be raising for 4H projects in this May.
  3. rebuilt a Briggs and Stratton hand push lawnmower (you can’t beat a good B&S engine) and slowly started to mow the property. Two were left on our homestead = free!
  4. consulted a local honey grower and learned how to start our own hive this August. (Video link)
  5. purchased 32 chicks at a local coop sale at a wonderfully low price of $0.89 each! Got some different  breeds but mostly blue egg layers (“easter eggers”) to make for a colorful assortment.
  6. built a swing for the little girls to solve some “boredom” issues in our new home.
  7. restored an old timey self playing piano which provides HOURS of enjoyment.
  8. acquired a 1950s large freezer for the garage, absolutely FREE from CraigsList. This will be a necessity when we start harvesting our own pork later this year.
  9. Rewired an old Oreck vacuum cleaner and it now cleans our carpet.
  10. Refurbished Grandpa’s old work stool as a Valentine’s Day present. (video link)
  11. Built a craft room hide-away for Wifey. (video link)
The first four trees of our “some day” orchard.

I can’t tell you have exciting it is to finally be on the property we’ve been praying for. I still have to figure out what to do with about an acre and a half of pasture. With only three water shares, a neighbor tells me that it isn’t enough to grow a crop. Maybe if I can collect water in my rain catchment system that it would be enough to subsidize what my three shares won’t cover.

Now that I have 32 chicks, I’ll need to build them a home in the next couple of weeks. They live in a box in the garage for now. I’m thinking two or three chicken tractors, strategically moved about the property can serve a dual purpose: weed control and free food.

Other projects I am considering:

  • solar panel similar to LDSprepper’s to provide electricity for the whole house for less than half of what we pay to the utility company.
  • meal worm farm for chicken food (I hear they practically grow themselves).
  • a craftroom shed in the backyard for Wifey.
  • build an enclosed hoop garden to protect our stuff during the winter months.
  • build a one room shed in the backyard for the teens to hang out in
  • someday, maybe someday, build a ride-able sized mini train to ride around the homestead perimeter (gotta think of the future grandkids!)

I welcome your comments.


GoSun Sport Solar Stove Cooker Review

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In an emergency, you can’t always rely on having fuel to cook. Solar cookers allow you to cook using just the sun, but not all solar cookers are created equal. Here’s what we think of the GoSun Sport.

You’re reading GoSun Sport Solar Stove Cooker Review, originally posted at Graywolf Survival – Emergency preparedness from a combat veteran by Graywolf.

Getting Better At These Cakes

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Yesterday and today I made this cake for my sister-in-law. Her birthday is Tuesday. Every birthday is now a chance to get more practice making cakes. My sister-in-law has become really interested in chickens since I gave them the three at Christmas so it had to be a chicken cake.
I did a lot of looking in the last few weeks to find a cake that I liked and felt I had enough skill to make. I settled on this one, and I think it turned out pretty good. It is a chocolate cake with cotton candy flavored frosting. They had the little flavor packets at the store for the cotton candy so I thought I would try it with my own buttercream frosting. I only used one packet and I think it could have used another one but it was still really good.

The chicken, leaves, flowers, and her name are done in fondant. The straw is buttercream icing.

The Meat Birds Go Outside

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Anyone who has had meat birds, especially Cornish X, knows that they are just nasty birds. They basically eat and poop and grow. They have to do all these rather a lot if you want them to be ready to eat in 8 weeks. Mine have outgrown their tub already. They kept waking Michelle up at  night because they would get out of the tub and then peep like crazy cause they wanted back in. They also smelled bad and I refused to play my violin in the spare room anymore because of the heat and smell. It was time for them to go out. In order for them to go out the other chicks needed to move. The other chicks had also  basically outgrown their pen and needed something larger. I decided to put them in with my one big mamma bird left from last year. She is a big old meat bird that was always a cripple but somehow managed to live and I didn’t have the heart to eat her. She is in her second year of laying eggs for me which is pretty phenomenal for a meat bird who technically should have died long ago. I have some reservations about that pen however. It is protected from the elements because the pen is under the roof of the back shed, but the pen is open on the top. It does not go all the way up to the roof. I am worried the cats will get in the pen so have been watching it all day. The little bantam roosters did get in and I threw them out, they are also a concern. We’ll just see how it goes as I really don’t have another pen they can go into right now so hopefully this one will work out.

They are quite happy in their new pen and the big mamma bird doesn’t move well enough to hurt them. They have discovered dirt for the first time and bugs and they are enjoying both.

The meat birds are also enjoying their new pen which I had to clean all out and add new pine shavings. They had gotten quite crowded, dirty and hot in the tub and they are now enjoying more space and cooler temperatures. Their pen, unlike the other one, is quite secure.

Here’s hoping everything goes well for the night.

Moose, Lettuce and Spinach, Oh My!

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I’ve written before on how relieved I am that spring is finally here, as evidenced by the warmer temperatures, more birds and the moose coming out of the bush.
Speaking of moose, a friend of mine (Sara Mealey) got some great photos of that same moose I shared with you the other day.
Apparently the moose likes paparazzi. Or should that be people-razzi?

I tell you, spring couldn’t get here fast enough for me. 
Okay, I should amend that…
I want spring, but I really don’t want it to arrive with a body slam that will flood my little town. I mean, let’s be reasonable, very few of us are ready to be cut off from our main city an hour away.
I know we aren’t.

We’ve started our plants with lettuce and spinach first. I’m very pleased with how they’re thriving in their little south-facing window.

On the left is Buttercrunch lettuce and on the right, though looking less vigorous, is spinach.

It’s not a huge start, but it is a start. This morning I started some more lettuce and spinach, because, hey, we’ll want more. I also started some basil.

So why do all this when I can get it in town? 

  • Because veggies aren’t cheap, and neither is the gas required to get them
  • Because nothing beats the taste of homegrown veggies and spices
  • Because it satisfies my green thumb and there is an undercurrent of hope in growing things yourself
What about you? Are you growing anything at home, whatever form that takes?

Feminist wants “White Guys” guns taken away

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This has got to be the most uneducated feminist on the planet. The comments coming out of her mouth; “White guys cannot be trusted to use guns responsibly. It is time to stop giving guns to white guys,” is beyond idiotic, it borders insanity. Where are the “white guys” for black on black crimes? Where are the “white guys” for gang wars that involve black gangs and Mexican gangs? Now for the most part Whites rule the roost when it comes to mass shootings, whites seem to want to get the killing done all at one time. Where other violent crimes committed by minorities are spread over time.

She then adds “I mean, it’s time to stop giving guns to everybody, but we can start with the white guys.” Very few crimes are committed with guns “given” (what I assume she meant was purchased) to them. Now if you want to focus more on tightening the background checks on who can legally purchase a gun then I am all for that.

Ryan-GirouxAn example given in the article is this guy Ryan Giroux, the shooter in Arizona. If this guy bought a gun legally which considering his history of convictions probably wasn’t the case then we do need to have a more strenuous process for purchasing a firearm. Bottom line is legal firearms and white guys (even black guys) are not the problem and people like Andrea Grimes needs to get off her high horse and realize that. Bad people come in all race and colors and those people get guns by other means.

Here is the article


An AXE is just an AXE. NOT REALLY!

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USAF Survival Instructors, now known as SERE Specialists are trained with and live by the Axe. Although they are fully trained and equipped to survive and fight anywhere, the axe is as much a part of them as their boots. When they are instructing in the field they carry it as a safety tool to build fires, shelters, litters or whatever they need. To see a SERE specialist without his or her axe is to assume he/she is working in the office for the day. The Axe is such a part of an instructors life that if you make it to retirement, you are presented with a chrome plated axe in a shadow box.

So what makes a great AXE? When it comes to survival durability reigns supreme. If your axe breaks, bends or the eye opens up then you have problems. There are many professional axes from around the world which are made of amazing steel and are wonderful to use but they all suffer from the same malady. They have a wooden handle. Wood is the best shaft for an axe handle; there is no way to argue that. A good piece of hickory is resilient, strong and can absorb vibration. Unfortunately, wood must be maintained or it will dry out and eventually break.

In a survival/disaster situation, having a broken axe handle (although it can sometimes be improvised from local wood) is a very bad thing. Only one axe on the market today can stand up to the extremes of everyday use in all environments with little or no probability of breaking and that is the Estwing Axe. Estwing axes are completely made of tool steel, just like a full tang knife, and protect the user from vibration with a very durable polymer rubber grip. They are so tough and reliable they are the primary survival tool in the Yukon and Alaska.

SO, if you are serious about saving your own life go buy an Estwing axe.

Overall preparation for what the world can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI understands that survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check out our website at www.usiusa.com

Like us on Facebook

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or send us a message at info@usiusa.com

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Connect with Ben on Linkedin


DIY SOLAR Powered Roto Tiller

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DSCN1048Solar power is a fantastic resource, especially for preppers, and while it is catching on, it still isn’t where it should be. I have been adding raised bed planters to my garden, but couldn’t get a tiller in the boxes to add and distribute the amendments, so I came up with what I feel is the perfect  solution, a SOLAR powered roto-tiller.  It took me about 6 hours of puttering to do the complete changeover, and I used readily available components I had scrounged for free. Take a look at the results HERE

Spring: Not Just For The Birds! For Moose Too!

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Sometimes we forget that with the spring sunshine and birds, come the wild animals.
Like the moose.
They come out looking for food, warmth and salt. The warmth and salt they find on the roads, dangerous though it may be.

Have you ever seen a wild moose? Ever seen one up close?

They are much bigger than we think, being mostly leg, and frequently moose vs vehicle encounters have catastrophic results for both vehicles and moose.

Fortunately this one lived to wander another day.

This photo was taken by Tanner Davieaux on the Searchmont Highway (#556) near the Ranger Lake road cut-off while he was staying at a delightful local B&B, Austin’s Wilderness B&B
Our thanks to Tanner and Austin’s for the photo!

We’d love to hear about your encounters with all things wild. Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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Whether you have 100 acres in the country or a small corner lot in the city, WTSHTF, youFENCE crop will still need to know when someone is trespassing or taking your property. The Mini Sentry trip wire .22 blank alarm can be used on multiple items and large areas, pastures, fences, gates, vehicles, trailers and small items like saws, tools, cabinets and even several items with one Mini Sentry. When you are sound asleep and hear the crack of the high powered load, the bad guys will know that you know. No more element of surprise.

Check the video out HERE

Go to the website HERE

Ten Simple Strategies to Avoid a Crisis

Let’s face it. Even when we’ve had our car broken into and find nothing missing, it’s still very disturbing emotionally. It haunts us that some complete stranger was rummaging around in our world without any sense of decency that we’ve come to expect in our little world, even if it’s naively so.  This type of experience causes us even the most stalwart soul to feel violated somehow. And the…

‘Compromised & gone’: Pentagon lost $500m of weapons, equipment in Yemen

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lost_rightEven in the best-case scenario in an unstable country, we never have 100 percent accountability,” a defense official told the Washington Post.


American military officials admitted to members of Congress that they have lost track of millions in small arms, ammunition, night vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies donated by the US to the Yemeni government.

The US has supplied more than $500 million in military aid to Yemen since 2007 through programs managed by the Defense Department and State Department. But in January, the Yemeni government was toppled by Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran and critical of US drones strikes in the country, who also took over government military bases in the north.

Since then, the Defense Department has lost its ability to monitor the whereabouts of weaponry and equipment. The situation has only grown worse since the US closed its embassy in Sanaa, the capital, in February and withdrew military advisers.


Read the rest of the story here







Marines ‘smashed’ weapons before evacuating US embassy in Yemen

Creating Emergency Preparedness Kits

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Several of the most frequently asked questions in emergency preparedness have to do with kits: “Check out my kit–What am I missing?” for example, or “Help! My bugout bag is too heavy!” When I put together emergency preparedness kits, I go through three mental checklists. These checklists are flexible enough that they are useful whether I am building an EDC, an Altoids tin kit, a Nalgene bottle kit, a get-home bag, a bugout bag, or a 72-hour kit. All I need to do is adapt the requirements for the space and weight constraints I’m facing.

pskThe Rule of Threes

One can survive for:

For air, I might consider such items as a gas mask, an N95-rated particulate respirator mask, and first-aid treatments for bleeding. For shelter, I think in terms of starting a fire, keeping warm, keeping dry, and replacing electrolytes. For water I consider what containers I might want and how to disinfect and filter water for drinking. Because food is something I can go without for weeks, I not only pack food as space permits, but I also think about getting food–purchasing (so cash), fishing, or hunting, etc.–and also I think about what happens when eliminating bodily waste at this point.

Second, I run through David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival.

David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

The 5 “must have’s:”

  1. Cutting tool (knives, saws, razors, etc.)
  2. Combustion (ignition, tinder, fuel)
  3. Cover (tents, raincoats, ponchos, blankets, garbage bags, survival blankets)
  4. Container (canisters, bladders, pouches, etc. for water and cooking)
  5. Cordage (rope, 550 paracord, thread)

The 5 “should have’s:”

  1. Candle (illumination)
  2. Cotton
  3. Compass (compass, maps, GPS)
  4. Cargo tape (duct tape)
  5. Canvass Needle (AKA sail needle)

I like to add another 5 “nice to have’s:”

  1. Conflict (firearms, pepper spray, batons, etc.)
  2. Communication (radio, whistle, marking tape, Sharpie pen, paper, signal mirror, etc.)
  3. Constitution (first aid, medicine, wellness)
  4. Connectors (sewing kit, superglue, safety pins)
  5. Cells (batteries, solar power)

Third, I make sure I can document what Shane Steinkamp calls my IESSEP. This can be documented on paper or some sort of flash memory.


  • Identity
  • Education
  • Skill Set
  • Earning Potential

I travel quite a bit, and having an electronic copy of my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, etc. could come in handy if the original documents are stolen or not available. In the case that I can’t go home again, it makes great economic sense to be able to document my degrees, certifications, skills, etc. and to be able to produce a résumé. I generally include a collection of precious family photos on any flash drive as well.

In terms of quality, I find myself going two ways. On the one hand, many of my kits are only meant to get me through a few days or so. Combine that with the fact that like many preppers I have many kits (OK, maybe I have too many kits), and it’s no wonder the gear in my kits is not necessarily top quality; it doesn’t have to last me for the rest of my life, just for those few days. On the other hand, if I am going to be trusting my life to the gear in my kits, I want the quality to be high enough that I can rely on it if needed.

What am I missing?

If you enjoyed this article, please help me by voting for Still Getting Ready! at topprepperwebsites.com



Our 30 Go To Prepper Sites

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We would take a couple a minutes and fill you in on where we get those things we share on social media. Now we know there are a lot of great sites out there and we most likely will one or two. If we do and you think we should check them out, please comment on this posting in the comment section and we will be sure to check them out.

Mar 17, Employer Testimonials

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Alderleaf’s core programs prepare students to apply their wilderness skills training to make a difference in the world. Hear what employers have to say about Alderleaf graduates they’ve hired.

7 Survival Hacks Start A Fire

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Need to share this infographic with you. It’s my first, and it covers 7 survival ways to start a fire. 7 Survival Hacks Start A Fire Making a fire is probably the most important survival skill all-around that there is. Fire purifies water, keeps you from freezing to death, cooks food, sterilizes tools, closes wounds, […]

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Are You Prepared If Your ‘Significant Other’ Died Unexpectedly?

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Memorial Day has just passed as a day on the calendar, but I would venture to say that the memory of your loved one will linger in your heart for a life time.

Are we ever prepared for death when it knocks at our door?

In the world in which we live, we do our best to protect our family from, and in the event of, unexpected losses, heartaches and disasters. We purchase auto insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, fire and theft insurance and we have a physical disaster plan in place.

We are great at planning for what “may” happen, but rarely do we stop to plan for what “will absolutely” happen. I am referring to our passing from this temporary world into eternity.

Have you prepared your loved ones for your death? Would they know the first thing to do…who they would call?  Have you discussed your final wishes with them?  Do they know where all your important documents are?  Have you made legal preparations for Advance Care Directives, Power of Attorney, Personal Representative, Trustees and more?

I believe the most loving last gift you can leave your family is a specific Plan you have arranged for them to follow when you are Called Home.

You may ask, “How can you arrange a specific Plan…how can you plan for death?”

There are three ways in which we can prepare for death: emotionally, financially and spiritually.

In this blog, I will address the emotional aspect.

When any disaster or crisis strikes, the usual reaction is panic, fear and worry. The ability to think clearly, to make wise, well thought out decisions is thwarted due to the emotional stress.

Often at the time of a death, the simplest of questions, like a person’s middle name, is difficult to answer.

For this reason, it is a good idea to gather information from mortuaries and cemeteries on how your final wishes can be fulfilled. Then discuss with your findings with your loved ones while you are clear minded and not being rushed to make decisions due to a current illness or pending surgery.

Have you ever had the responsibility of making the funeral or cremation and/or cemetery arrangements at the time of a loved one’s death?  It is not a good time to be faced with many questions, presented many options and required to make many decisions while you are grieving, emotionally and physically tired.

For most people, it is a burdensome time filled with tension and anxiety wondering if the right decisions are being made, hoping the arrangements are what your loved one would have wanted…but you will never know for certain.

The time is going to come when you are Called Home. You have the choice today to relieve the burdens your loved ones will otherwise be forced to face if you don’t plan to have your PLAN in place.

When you start to put the piece of this planning puzzle together, you will find a peace of mind and heart that only God can give you.

More on the planning process in the next blog.

Susan Epperly

Advance Planning Specialist

10 years

EternalHillsMemorial Park, Mortuary and Crematory

Good To-Go Food Sample Pack Giveaway

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Good To-Go Foods Sample Pack Giveaway

The start of the year, for me and many others, consists of lots of food testing. I have some old faithful recipes and meals to fall back on, but I enjoy the process of trying new recipes, packaged meals, and just generally tinkering with food before the hiking year gets crazy. Better to test early and find out what my likes and dislikes are rather than discover on the trail that my food options for the next several days suck.

Good To-Go Foods Sample Pack Giveaway

Amazing Thai Curry

One of the new hiking meals that I tried recently was by Good To-Go Food, thankfully there is absolutely nothing sucky about their meals. In fact, (spoiler alert) they’re amazing – ‘gourmet’ as they like to say. And I have to say that for once I completely agree. The Thai Curry meal is better than versions I’ve had at restaurants – it really was that good. Don’t just take my word for it, try all of them for yourself.

Win a Good To-Go Food sample pack

Good To-Go Foods Sample Pack Giveaway

The kind folks at Good To-Go Food have given me a complete sample pack to give away to one lucky reader of Brian’s Backpacking Blog. All you have to do is enter the giveaway widget below. That’s the easiest way I know to score some amazing meals for your next trip – you lucky devils!

How to enter

To enter simply select any of the options in the Rafflecopter widget below. To gain additional entries you can submit multiple options – it’s that easy. The giveaway will end on Sunday March 22nd and a winner will be selected at random. Good luck to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Islamic State plans to Blow Up Whitehouse

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Islamic State plans to Blow Up Landmarks

Really? The Whitehouse is on their list of landmarks to be destroyed by ISIS. I thought Obama was their buddy since he seems to be trying to move America to an Islamic state, so why would they want to blow his house up? There are endless rants we could do about Obama and the route he is taking America but for now we will stick to the topic. Below is the article based on new claims coming out of ISIS.

The Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization, which is based in Syria and is continuously expanding its influence throughout the Middle East and Africa, has again threatened the West, and notably its famous landmarks.

After months of silence, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani released a 28-minute audio clip in Arabic last Thursday in which he accepted the Nigerian-based Boko Haram terror organization’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS, calling it “a new door opened by Allah” and directing jihadists to join the battle in West Africa.

 Turning to the West, he listed the cities that ISIS is targeting, including Washington, Paris, Rome Jerusalem and Kabul.

“We want, Allah willing, Paris before Rome and before Al-Andalus [Spain and Portugal], [and] after that we will blacken your life and blow up your White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower, Allah willing,” al-Adani said. “We want Kabul, Karachi, the Caucasus, Qom, Riyadh and Tehran. We want Baghdad, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Sanaa, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Amman. And Muslims shall return to ruling and leadership everywhere.”

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Natural Tinder Fires

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As I try to continually learn more about primitive skills, one of the factors that are key is knowing how to start a fire. While the methods of bow drill, hand drill, flint and steel are primitive, I was more focused on the characteristics of tinders during this lesson. In my studies, I found there … Continue reading

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What Preppers Must Know About Rabbit Ranching

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The Hidden Danger of Tularemia in 3 Minutes Many of us feel the decision to raise rabbits as a renewable protein source is genius! It’s not surprising… Preppers are a clever bunch. But with the recent explosion of rabbit ranching are bound to come certain diseases. I’m talking specifically about a viscous little bacteria named … Continue reading

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First Trades after Collapse

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trade post collapseThe items for trade during my SHTF very often changed value, and some of them became unavailable for some period of time, just to suddenly show up again much more expensive.

Yes, situation in the city dictated that, but also people, the black market lords made this happen. The whole situation was always changing where and if you can find what you were looking for.

Some of the items that were circulating in the city were completely new to everyone, one of the reasons was that all sorts of stuff from humanitarian aid was coming to the city through different channels and from all different parts of the world.

Some of those things became popular fast, others remained completely strange for us, but all had some kind of value.

Of course practical things like MRE were very good to have. Some other things like Turkish army crackers (salt cookies, or so called „Turks“) were strange for us. Taste was awkward, thats why they had lower value, but we were starving so of course everyone would eat it and trade it.
In one period there were big amounts of some French cigarettes in the city, we called it „black tobacco“.

It was very very strong tobacco, packaged in nice small boxes, and you simply did not need too much of those daily, even if you were very passionate smoker. Simply way too strong.

Some “smart” guy smuggled this into the city and it is perfect example of successful product besides weapons and ammunition for trading.

There were many new items for us, strange new kind of rice (was much too soft), canned meat without any declaration of meat type or expiration date (we called it „sick horse“). We ate it and used grease leftovers for lamps. Sometimes there were also big metal sealed boxes with dry cookies inside – some of the boxes had expiration dates that said it was expired like 20 years ago, we called it „Vietnam war cookies“ and we ate it and trade it as well.
Of course it was always a good few days when we had some sort of food. In many other periods (most of the time) we ate much much worse things. Often soup with anything we could find that could provide some energy.

One of the items in the beginning of everything that was very interesting for me was powdered eggs.

As I can remember, we did not see that before, I mean we heard it from the stories of the old guys who survived WW2 that they used it a lot in the years after that war (and they call it Trumans eggs) because it was coming in the area as a part of humanitarian aid since everything was destroyed and folks were starving.

Those eggs were interesting for me because we loved eggs, and obviously it became impossible to have real eggs. That is why food in urban survival is just a very bad version of food in wilderness survival. Rats and pigeons and some people probably also ate all dogs and cats. That was in the later months after we were surrounded without any way out and lost all basics like power and drinking water.

One day we heard that powdered eggs can be bought from some guys who had lots of stuff taken from humanitarian aid convoy.

Violence and shootings were already happening everywhere in the city, but it was period when we still believed it was temporary. There were three of us who went there to visit these guys. One of us had pistol, but that was not much help because none of us already realized how dangerous everything had become.

It was time when the police force still existed but on the other hand other „police gangs“ started to operate and you could not say who is who, and what will happen when you run into them.

We had German money for buying the eggs, at that moment you could still buy something with (foreign) money, but you could not expect any fixed price and price of everything was completely based on what happens in the negotiation.

Guys were in apartment on second floor in apartment building that was maybe already half empty.

Man who opened door for us took us to the living room of the apartment after we told him that we want to buy some goods from him.
There were 4 more guys sitting next to table there, actually one of them was sleeping with his head on the table.

One was trying to make some kind of sandwich with dry meat using a big old bayonet, room stank like someone died there.
All of them looked pretty rough and ready for everything, three of us with one pistol looked like easy prey for them.

Man who opened door for us asked us who sent us, we said name and he said:
„Who is that? I do not know him.“

Silence was ankward, I could feel like something is crawling over my back at that moment, especially when I noticed rifles standing next to the chairs where those guys were sitting, and on the carpet under the table there was big stain that suspiciously looked like blood.

Man started to laugh and said „OK, I am kidding, I know him, just say what do you need.“

Fear that crawled over my back started to disappear slowly, but still we were like sitting ducks there.

We said what we wanted and he asked for how much money we want powdered eggs.

My cousin stupidly took his money from pocket and said how much money we have.

Guy said „Give me that!“

Few seconds there was nothing, but when other guys from the table started to stare at us, my cousin gave him the money. From one of the rooms, we herad that someone shouted „Oh you m$@#!erf!*&er“ and then sounds that someone is being beaten.

Man started to slowly count money, looking at us with smile, after he put money in his pocket and said: „Ok, you can have one box of powder for this money“

Three of us knew that we were ripped off, but I just said „OK, it is a deal, we need to go now“.
We took the box and left the apartment.

On the outside hallway we noticed one more guy who was standing there as a guard for the apartment.
When we were entering the apartment we did not even notice him.

We came home safely that time, feeling that we were scammed there was gone very soon because we realized that guys could kill us very easily if they wanted to.

Luckily at that moment they maybe did not feel like it, or what was most probable whole situation in the city had not reached level yet where they could do that easy and openly.

Everyone still thought absence of rules and law are temporary. That changed soon, people started to kill each other as a part of trade scams. Later often just out of curiosity what other guy might still hide in his pockets and did not show.

The one of us who had gun on his belt during the trade said „Oh man, I completely forgot that I had weapon with me there beceause how those guys looked“.

Then we realized it was luck too because he did not pull the gun there in the middle of everything because we would end up dead for sure. Do you see a pattern there? Yes, in post collapse so many things can go wrong and often did.

Thats why learning about survival and preparedness is most important right now. Do not delay when SHTF it comes out of nowhere. We still have registration for limited amount of students for the Survival Boot Camp open for few days if you want to get better insights into this.

I remember that trade very well because we were scared, but much more important was feelings afterwards when we all realized that feelings of „kindness“ but also „fear“ went away. That day we realized we are living in new world with new rules and acting like we did in civilized times or showing weakness can have brutal consequences.

We started to change and learn. We started to look and act like those guys during our trades, and whenever we found someone who was even harder and better at trading we also did what they did to us. We were lucky or maybe smart enough that we learned new rules very fast. There was little room for error. either you end up dead, or learn fast.

That was one of my first trades after the collapse, I traded many times later again, and I often used similar setup of intimidation like those guys there.

But there I learned for the first time few simple rules about trading like: never go to (closed) places where you do not know who to expect, how many, how well armed they are and similar stuff. Never have all your goods (or money) for trade with you, have plan what to do in case of surprises, never accept offers so easily because it can be seen as weakness, and weakness is sometimes call for problem, and many more.

And one more rule that we learned and you should never forget is to never go and risk your life because of pure „luxury items“ like that powdered eggs were for us at that moment.

Please comment below, discuss in our forum or if you act now you can still join my Survival Boot Camp before we close registrations.

AR Pistol Build Part 2

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I finally had a chance to sit down and write the final part to the AR pistol build. Some things have changed with the law since Part 1 was released.
Here is a linkfor you to keep yourself informed and on the right side of the law. If you don’t want to deal with the headache of changing laws, get an NFA trust and buy a sbr and a suppressor. This post will still help with assembling and sourcing parts for any AR platform build. So we are clear, an AR pistol is not a rifle, disclaimer over.

Part 1 ended with the pistol lower being completed. The next phase of this build began with planning out the upper receiver for the pistol. I prefer to support smaller companies for gun parts for many reasons, customer service being on top of that list.

I wanted a top tier billet receiver, choosing SanTantactical was a no brainer. These guys make some of the best uppers and lowers on the market. I picked a burnt bronze for the color to change it up a bit. Enough can’t be said for doing business with smaller companies and will see why throughout this post. The guys from SanTanare all about interacting with their customers on social media; little things like telling a customer how sick their build came out goes a long way. Try getting feedback on your build from Bushmaster, DPMS, or Colt.

The barrel was next on my list. Again I wanted to go with a smaller company but wanted top tier performance. AR pistols have a bit of a bad reputation for having malfunctions due to the short gas system causing short stroking and other various malfunctions. This pistol is to be used as my home defense gun and cannot afford to have a malfunction of any kind. I did some serious research into companies who have the right attitude and put out high quality components. That is when I found Ballistic Advantage.

Deciding on the length of the barrel was not easy, this pistol needed to be easy to maneuver and 100% reliable. If you are having this same issue do this: IGNORE THE INTERNET and anyone who doesn’t even gun. These people will just spew half truths from YouTube videos they’ve seen and act like they know what they are talking about. Do what I did and call someone who actually makes barrels and shoots these guns. I called Ballistic Advantage and explained my situation to the super friendly guy there and without hesitation he said, “You know what, let me get Clint to help you, he makes the barrels.” Again name one company who will do that. Clint got right on the phone, he was genuinely engaged and interested in my build and really gave me that warm and fuzzy of what customer service really is. I told Clint I wanted a 100% reliable pistol that I could trust with my life. Clint asked me a series of questions ranging from what muzzle device, BCG, and buffer weight I planned to use. He made a few suggestions on what he typically does to make his pistols run without issue. We agreed to go with their 10.3” barrel. He then mentioned that he has a line of barrels called the Hanson Series. This barrel profile was developed by Clint Hanson and this is a brief description from their page on exactly what a Hanson series barrel is.

“The Hanson Profile, just like the quality and accuracy you have come to expect from BA, the Hanson continues this pattern. This barrel is essentially shoulder-less, symmetrically limiting barrel “whip”. The Hanson is designed to return to its home position sooner than other barrels which are beneficial for follow up shots at a high rate of fire or full auto fire. It has lightweight feel without the lightweight limitations. It is truly ideal for what an AR-15 is meant to do.”

I went with the Hanson series and Clint promised me that if the pistol did not fire every kind of ammo out there without issue to send the pistol to him and he would personally go through the pistol and do what needed to be done to get it running. Again, try to get that kind of guarantee from any major manufacturer.

The next part of this build was choosing the muzzle device, this was a no brainer. I went with the Noveske KX-5. If you build a pistol you will not be disappointed with the flaming pig.

Now that the most difficult part was over I moved on to choosing a rail. I’m active on Instagram (Follow me) and when I was looking at some SanTan fitted firearms I saw this rail that looked like nothing I have never seen before. It was love at first sight. I immediately found out who makes them and was pleased to see they are a small company. I gave SLR Rifleworks a call and again a surprisingly pleasant person answered the phone. I shared my vision for this pistol and explained I wanted the rail to end at the beginning of the brake. We settled on the 10” Keymod Solo Series rail and added a couple hand stops for good measure. These guys have a connection to a company who coats their rails for them and for a small fee I was able to have my rail match my burnt bronze upper.

I wanted a BCG that would run problem free with little maintenance. I decided to go with the Spikes Tactical nickel boron coated BCG, these are a bit pricey but worth it.

Assembling the upper is really easy, just pay attention and have the proper tools. Just hop on YouTube and you can find plenty of great videos with step by step instructions.

Now came the tough part, choosing the optic. I have an Eotech EXPS 3-2 on my rifle with the Magpul Pro mbus and that combo is amazing, but I do not need something like that for this pistol. This pistol’s main purpose is to engage threats at a distance no longer than 100 yards. I didn’t feel the need for backup sights on this. For this setup I went for the Aimpoint Pro. This optic has earned a reputation for being super rugged and performing like an optic that is double the price.

I finished the assembly of the upper and all but sprinted to the range to test fire and zero the pistol. After having three fail to eject malfunctions and overall shitty function I went home crushed. This pistol that I spent this time and effort into was a dud. The next morning I called Clint at BA for some help and he dropped what he was doing to help me diagnose the issue. I explained the issues that I was having and we were able to come to the conclusion that the charging handle I was using was the culprit. It was warped and the finished was terrible. The charging handle was binding up the operation of the pistol, so I swapped the junk one out for a BCM Gunfighter mod 3. I went to the range the following day and wouldn’t you know it, the pistol ran like a sewing machine. I put 300 malfunction free rounds through the pistol and held groups far better than I was expecting for this length barrel.

I wanted to take the pistol to a course that would put it through a serious amount of stress, mud, and dirt. I used this pistol for the second day of Fighting Rifle taught by Tactical Response. The second day of this course was a brisk 45 degrees accompanied by a cold downpour all day.

Post course BCG

The only malfunction I had was due to a muddy magazine that created a double feed. We put approximately 600 rounds through the pistol that day and it ran flawlessly in the mud and rain.
Here is the link to the YouTube video I made from the course. 

Something to consider if you plan to build a pistol; a single point sling is key for maintaining a nice cheek weld while keeping that brace clear of your shoulder. All you need to do is push the pistol out and the sling tension will be more than enough to have a nice tight cheek weld.

My three favorites!

I couldn’t be happier with this build. The companies I used for this build have gotten a lifetime customer out of me based on this experience. If you have any questions about building an AR of any variation feel free to contact me and I’ll help you as much as I can.

What are your thoughts on the Pistol platform in AR and AK?
Let me hear your input!

Head over to Olmsted Risk Solutions to learn about how to run a PTR like a boss!

Say fit and keep that Warrior Mindset!

Into the River Lands: Darkness After Series Book II

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Many readers of the The Darkness After have asked if there was going to be sequel, and it has been my intention all along to continue this story as an ongoing series parallel to The Pulse Series, which of course, involves a different set of characters in the same grid-down scenario.

Although originally aimed at the young adult market by my publisher, The Darkness After has been well-received by adult readers as well. The only real difference as far as young adult vs. a general adult audience is the age of the characters anyway. In this case, the main protagonists, Mitch Henley and April Gibbs, are both under twenty, but are in a world where survival is up to them and them alone. Readers of the first book will know that Mitch has superb skills as a hunter, despite his age. Those who enjoy survival stories that involve hunting, stalking and tracking will enjoy this one. Unlike The Pulse series, this story is all about living off the land in the woods, and the title, Into the River Lands refers to the deep river bottom swamp lands of Mississippi that Mitch knows so well.

Into the River Lands will be my next book release for 2015 and it is scheduled for publication on June 11.  I’m shooting for bumping that up a bit to sometime in May, but either way, it’s not far out and you can preorder your Kindle copy for just $2.99 on Amazon, or by clicking on the cover image at the top of the sidebar to the left. There will be a paperback version available as well when the ebook is released.

Prepping When You're Down and Out

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by J.C. Martin, Guest Contributor

(Editor’s Note: I’m thrilled to share with you a contribution by one of my friends who’s always good for a smile as well as sensible preparedness wisdom–J.C. Martin. Give him a warm welcome, Friends!)


Those who have prepped for a while know that, although it’s wise to be ready for a monetary collapse or the breakdown of civilization, the…

Lindsey Graham: as president I would deploy the military against Congress

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This is the title from an article on this  website. Basically it is trying to bring Graham across as southern charmed dictator, which is far from the truth. His comment,

“And here’s the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.”

Graham has always been pro military and for good reason, we have the best damn military in the world, it just needs a better leader. But his words toward congress should show us that some in Washington do see what we see, that congress is broken. Is it a “self-coup”he’s planning? I don’t see it as a “self-coup” as much as making congress do what we elected them to do, he just happens to feel strongly about restoring defense cuts. With the way things are in the world why would we not restore defense cuts?

Let’s face it Graham is smart but don’t see him with a grand scheme of being Obama 2.0. If congress didn’t  sit on their ass in Washington and stroke each others ego’s doing nothing in the way that makes this country better as a whole, then this wouldn’t have even been a news story.  Let the military stand outside the doors and if congress grows from this experience and not constantly be in gridlock because one party doesn’t always get it’s way then so be it. Maybe a little “Martial Law” toward congress might put them in their places. God knows Obama and congress wouldn’t have any qualms about declaring “martial Law” on the citizens of America. Legal or not legal when has that stopped our government from doing anything?

M855 Ammo Ban and What’s Really Happening?

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dictatorWe all know how Obama feels about the 2nd Amendment that is nothing new or something that needs to be addressed. What does need addressing is what exactly is going on with this ban/ not banned situation. Since late February, the plan to ban M855 AR-15 ammo was a hot topic across the web and millions of gun owners were in an uproar over what the administration and BATFE were planning which was early February they introduced “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c). The ammo was previously exempted from the Gun Control Act of 1968 because it is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes. That exemption is what was changing, as the law would be narrowed to only two categories of projectiles under the new regulation, both of which would not include M855 ammo. On March 2, 2015 The White House said Monday that President Obama believes a ban on bullets commonly used with the AR-15 rifle will save police officers’ lives. White House press secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying “This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk. So I’d put this in the category of common-sense steps that the government can take to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also making sure that our law enforcement officers who are walking the beat every day can do their jobs just a little bit more safely.” During that press conference, Earnest deflected questions about the administrations involvement in a recent BATFE push to ban common M855 ammunition by claiming that such a move was “common-sense” and that “everyone should agree” with steps that promote officer safety. In doing so, Earnest all but confirmed the President’s involvement with the BATFE’s proposal; however, by invoking the tired “common sense” argument, Earnest essentially conceded that the administration does not possess a reasonable counterargument in the debate.

When using law enforcement as its spear head to lead the charge for the ban the Obama regime apparently failed to consult anyone from law enforcement, which brings us to Fraternal Order of Police’s National Legislative Office, the voice of our Nations’ Law enforcement according to the FOP.net website. Taken from an NRA-ILA article which was then taken from a WND.com site is a quote by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, “I’m disgusted that this administration would use the safety and well-being of our nation’s law enforcement officers to accomplish their gun-control agenda by circumventing the Congress and circumventing the Constitution in rewriting this law… That’s all this is. They don’t fool me. No fraternal order of police, no sheriff is going to fall for this”. The same WND.com piece goes on to cite a public information officer with Georgia’s Cobb County Police Department. After speaking with a colleague regarding the AR-15 handguns the BATFE has deemed a threat to officers, the official noted; “I haven’t seen any, so I called our training range and asked, ‘in all fairness, has anyone ever taken one of those (AR-15 handguns) off the street?’… Any time a weapon like that would be used against an officer, there would be an officer-safety bulletin going out, and the range would be notified. If there was a situation where either they took one of these off the streets or an officer had been threatened with one of these weapons, we would immediately launch an internal memo, and we have never had any of those go out to my knowledge. So for Cobb County police, at this moment, this is not something we are so concerned about.”

Police officer Brent Ball, a 17-year veteran of the force, told the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., an AR-15 handgun would — contrary to the White House’s claims — be difficult for a criminal to conceal because of its size. “As a police officer, I’m not worried about AR pistols because you can see them,” he said. “It’s the small gun in a guy’s hand you can’t see that kills you.” Small guns do not fire the M855 cartridge.

These comments shouldn’t be surprising, as in the 38 years the FBI has been keeping track of data on firearms used against law enforcement officers, there never been an instance of a law enforcement officer having been killed with the use of a .223/5.56 caliber handgun. Of course, it follows that there is no documented instance of an officer having been killed when an M855 round fired from a handgun penetrated the officer’s body armor. You can read the NRA article here.
Now we are at March 10, 2015 and the ATF is stating that the entire backlash for the ban is based on a “publishing mistake”? If it was a “publishing mistake” then why did it fool the Obama administration and bring them forward making statements on why it is a common sense idea and was done to protect our law enforcement officers? If it was a “publishing mistake” why was there over 80,000 published gun-owners protesting the idea, not including the ones that didn’t sign a petition but wrote their congressman directly. If it was a “publishing mistake” why did congress get involved to fight the ban? Something is not adding up with this whole situation and people do not need to let their guard down. This could have been a trial run for something bigger down the line for ultimate Obama’s agenda against the American people that do not agree with his version of America. As I said there were a lot of petitions and names written down in protest of this ban which now is in the hands of the Government. So when we have a president that already despises the 2nd Amendment, the people that stand behind it and now has specific names and addresses of those people we need to be concerned.

Who know he may just fade out and do nothing on his last stretch in the White house, but as Americans we can’t assume that will happen. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature but this guy has seen fit to throw his “executive” power around as he sees fit. In March of 2012 he has bypassed congress on issues like sending foreign aid ($1.5 Billion) to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Jan of 2013 Obama bypassed congress on gun control. July of 2013 he bypassed congress and to order waiver on ban of aid to Palestinians (totaling about $1.3 Billion going to the Palestinian Authority), in 2014 he made it clear he would bypass congress where necessary, meaning what he feels fits his ultimate agenda. There are many more congressional heel stomps he made over his time in the Whitehouse and we know he is a very vindictive president and one that needs to be watched closely.
When you have a dictator in the Whitehouse and he refuses to call ISIS a Muslim extremist group but will bash a right wing Christian to the point of a hate crime, but it’s ok not to be politically correct toward Christians, right? So if you are a Christian and/ or you own a gun you need to keep your eyes and ears open, the fight of your life is just beginning. War has not reached our shores yet by foreign countries or caliphates but it has reached our capital and that battle is being lost. Mainly because the American people just don’t want to see the writing on the wall, they say ignorance is bliss, until it cuts your head off.

I’m just saying I would strongly consider the temporary ban on M855 ammo a strategic move by the Dicktator (spelled correctly for my purpose) in the Whitehouse and not a loss. I truly believe but hope I am WRONG that he has a plan unfolding over the horizon and it will open the eyes of every American, at which point it will be to late to do anything about. So STOCK up on all ammo you have a weapon for and rounds of ammo you don’t for trade or to give your fellow American when the true SHTF.

Get Ready to Garden – Composter Giveaway!

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eartheasy giveaway square

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again, bringing you a fantastic chance to win a fabulous prize!

This week we’re giving you a chance to win this Jora Drum-style composter, valued at $319.00! You can view more details about the composter HERE at Eartheasy.com.

Eartheasy has graciously provided this composter as a prize so that YOU can get a jump start on your gardening this season!

The Jora JK125 composter features a rodent-proof, rust-free, galvanized steel exterior, an insulated interior which makes it great for all climate types, and the ease of rotating your compost style with a twist of the drum to aerate your compost mixture quickly and easily.

This particular composter holds 4.5 cubic feet (or 33 gallons) of compost material, and has dual chambers so you can use some and add more to a new pile as you go!

Terms and Conditions

This Jora JK125 Composter Giveaway is sponsored by Eartheasy.com!!!

  • Is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. T
  • Giveaway starts on Sunday, March 8th at 6:00 am (CST) and ends on Saturday, March 14th, 2014 at 11:59pm (CST).
  • The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent.
  • Please check your SPAM email folders.

Good luck to everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Criteria for Barter Goods

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Occasionally while reading survival forums or prepper blogs I run across the following 5 criteria for barter goods, typically accompanied by a list of over 40 goods that match the criteria. Although the posts or articles tend not to provide attribution for the criteria, based on those that do I believe they come from Joel Skousen’s pamphlet, 10 Packs for Survival. I think these 5 criteria for barter goods really nail it:

  1. High consumer demand
  2. Not easily home manufactured
  3. Durable in storage
  4. Divisible in small quantities
  5. Authenticity easily recognizable


Let’s consider why these criteria are so useful:

High Consumer Demand

iPads and HD televisions may be in high demand right now, but if our currency fails the economy has failed and chances are the power grid is failing as well. Look for items that will see soaring demand in the face of likely disaster scenarios–bicycles, for example, or solar panels or wood-burning stoves or water filters.

Not Easily Home Manufactured

It’s not hard to imagine the sorts of things people will start making at home when times are hard: more people will be sewing their own clothes, for example, or growing their own food, or brewing their own cider. But how likely are they to be making their own batteries, pliers, or aspirin? Items that are not easily made will be worth more simply because of that difficulty in manufacturing.

Durable in Storage

Several groups of items, including food and fuel, have relatively short shelf-lives. It makes little sense to stockpile goods for barter that could easily go bad before they are needed. Sometimes an item can last over a decade if packaged one way, but less than a year if packed another way; guess which items will be useful in barter? Sugar and salt will last forever, properly stored; but powdered milk and beef jerky will only last a few years. Knives and binoculars will last; dynamite and cardboard will degrade. Freeze-dried food in unopened #10 cans will outlast the same food by the same manufacturer packed in Mylar envelopes.

Divisible into Small Quantities

Many people would love having a horse for transportation and to help with work around the homestead. However, a horse is the smallest useful unit of horse, unless one just wants the meat for food. Few people willing to trade will be able to offer something as valuable as a horse in exchange. Compare this with something of similar value, say 1,000 pounds of wheat: one could easily dip into the store of wheat and come out with enough to trade for a needle, a roll of toilet paper, or a bic lighter. The wheat is divisible into sacks, pounds, or cups, and so in this regard it fits this barter criteria where a horse does not.

Authenticity Easily Recognizable

I often hear people recommending silver or gold for purchasing goods after the collapse of a currency. But while precious metals can help one retain wealth through a crisis, they may not be the best for barter, even if they meet the other criteria. The problem is that most people won’t know the value of an ounce of gold or silver, or how to know if what you’re offering even is gold or silver. You could try to educate them, but you know how people are–they won’t see you as the most objective source of information in this scenario. You’ll probably have to accept less than you think your metals are worth, rather than much more than you paid. Even when bits of gold or silver are hallmarked or stamped or coined to attest to their purity and value, people will feel more comfortable knowing the value of a candy bar or an axe.

In a similar vein, chemical compounds or common liquids can be hard to assess. Is that codeine or aspirin powder? Is that gasoline still potent? Is that whiskey watered down? Is that water pure or contaminated? Unless you want your barter goods assessed at the lowest possible rate, it’s best to stick with things that almost all people can easily assess.

Personally, I plan to start my barter goods with items I’ll want extras of for myself: medicines, ammunition, firearms, canning jars and lids, and the like, with the thought that if there’s something I forgot to stockpile, I’ll have an abundance of such things to trade. But eventually I see myself stashing small portable items such as needles, tools, salt, and others that fit these criteria for no other reason than to barter.



The Meat Birds

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 I got a few meat birds. I hadn’t planned on it. My sister-in-law posted that the chicks were on sale at Tractor Supply and we went to see what they had and found they had a few meat birds left in a wet brooder. Some of them had been pecked on and I always take those because once I get them home and in a clean brooder they always do fine. So I took them all. There were 9 of them and they were marked down to $ .75 each! These are Cornish Rocks, for those who don’t know what I mean by meat birds.

As for the other chicks (the chicks that will be used for layers…providing they are hens), they are all doing well. Unfortunately, it looks like at least 4 of the California Whites are roosters. That doesn’t help much as I don’t need any more roosters (2 of the Buckeyes turned out to be roosters) and California Whites do not make a good dual purpose breed…meaning they don’t have a lot of meat on them. They will be for stewing at best unless I decide to keep a rooster for breeding more California Whites, which I doubt. 
Definitely a rooster. The one on the ground looks like it may be one as well. 
However, that little white one in front is definitely a hen and all the black ones (they will be barred later) were supposed to be pullets so I will have plenty of new hens eventually. I have no idea about the Americauna as they have a pea comb and I won’t be able to tell them apart until the roosters get sickle feathers. 
I’m not sure if I will try to get any more meat birds. I don’t want to get more than I will feel like butchering myself as Phil does not help with the chickens and I don’t want to get overloaded with things that need doing in the heat of summer but I feel good that I at least got nine of them. 
The Buckeyes were doing well with both of the hens laying almost every day and then one day I went out there and found they had picked the top of one of hens heads completely bloody. She now has a pen of her own and is healing well but I am not real impressed with these Buckeyes now. I like a more calm tame bird for eggs, I think. 

The Go-Book: Financial Information

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FinancialInformationThis section is an important one. This doesn’t just include how much you have in your savings account but everything pertaining to your finances. Again, having all this information written down will save your life. If we can’t get on a computer, or phone lines are down, it will be very convenient to have all this info written in one place.

I don’t think I can hammer this point enough. This is not only your Go-Book, but your Go-To-Book. Having all the information in one place will be very helpful when dealing with your finances.

One point I do want to make as well is since this book has all your information in it, some of which is very private, you will want to hide this book somewhere or camouflage. Especially when you are done with this section.

Here’s what to include in your financial information section:

Bank Accounts

Include Financial institution and type of account. Is it a savings our chequing account? How to contact the financial institution and any log-ins for online banking. Yes, write down both username and password.

Credit Cards. Include credit card number, name on the card and type. You may also want to write down the expiry and the security code. I have three ideas for keeping that secure. One is make your Go-Book a ‘grey book’. That means it is blended in with the rest of your books. Don’t title it “This is all my important information book”. Maybe title it something like “Computer Programing for beginners”, or ” Financial Know-How.” That way when someone comes into your home, they wont see your “emergency book” and take it so they can take your identity.

The second idea is to write down your credit card info in a way that only you know how to read it. Put the expiry and the security code in the middle of another made up number. You could pretend you have two of what ever cards you have. So if you have one visa pretend you have two. One visa number is the regular number and the second one is your  secret expiry / security code number. eg. regular visa: 4520 0879 9890 9989. Secret number 4520 0216 4346 7876. All visas start with 4520, so it would be good to start your secret one the same. Then just remember that the next 7 numbers are your secret numbers. 0216 is the expiry, and 434 is the security code. Just an idea.

Another idea is to hide your book. Just don’t forget where you hid it.

investments/RRSP etc

Include type of investment, where the investment is held, the account number, and the approximate value. Often these are questions your bank or financial institution will ask you to verify it is really you they are talking to. You will also want to write whose names are on the investment.

Credit Reports

Include the paper copy of your credit reports.


Include type of loan, who holds the loan, loan number, and the approximate balance. This is where you would write your mortgage information.

Tax Returns

Include a copy of your current tax return

Key to safety deposit box

Include the key, or a description of where the key is. Again, try to protect it as well. If it is at your moms house, then try to say that with out saying “at moms house”. Maybe say “Shes a first class lady.”

Next week we will be going over the estate planning that should be included. This is the section of important things that no one really wants to do. The not exciting stuff.

Georgia Bushcraft Weekend Spring 2015

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This past weekend was the Georgia Bushcraft Spring 2015 campout. As the time drew closer, I realized I might not be able to go. I had to coach a softball practice on Friday, so I could not go up early. I had to coach a game on Saturday, which meant I could not meet up … Continue reading

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Planting Question: berries between fruit trees?

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Our first four in our orchard.

We planted our first four fruit trees this past weekend. We planted two apple and two pear trees that we bought from CostCo for $11.69 each. There was no documentation on how far apart to plant them so I marked them 12 feet apart.

Wifey went out today and came home with two raspberry and two blueberry bushes. I’m wondering if I can plant them inbetween the fruit trees?

You see, I originally planted the trees six feet apart. Then I reconsidered, dug more holes, and moved the trees further apart so there are holes I could use for the berry bushes in between each tree.

They all (the trees and berries) say “full sun” which is where they are planted.

Does anyone have any pro’s or con’s to doing this? Can they be watered on the same schedule?


7 EASY Things To Do With Rhubarb

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Several years ago, I ended up with 180 stalks of rhubarb. That’s a lot, in case you’re wondering. At the end of it, I blurted out “I’m done with rhubarb!” at church. An elderly gentleman reminded me, ever so gently, “You do know that strawberries will be coming soon, don’t you? Whether you buy them, […]

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A Review…The Organic Canner

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Canning, A Matter of Preparedness

It is no secret that I am a fan of Canning and preserving my own foods.  Even though my kids have rolled their eyes when I have asked them to help (which I think they inherited from me….I used to do that too), several of the items we have canned are preferred items.  A Case in point was when I made a batch of Strawberry jam. My youngest son ate 3 jars before warning me that I needed to make more because it wasn’t going to last the winter. The goal is always to have your Food Storage and Food Preservation last the winter…and a bit beyond.
Anyone who has ventured into the world of canning inevitably has had a few questions.  That is certainly the case for me.  That is why I was really glad to read and review this new publication by Daisy Luther entitled “The Organic Canner”.  (Ms. Luther gracious provided a copy of her work for me to review)

The Organic Canner….

I always wondered how folks canned or preserved items before the likes of our modern ‘thickening’ agents that are used in things like Jams and Jellies.  I also wondered how to ensure that you have removed all the pesticides that may be on your produce.
Additionally (and professionally), I work with families that have children with feeding and swallowing disorders.  Many of them are on some type of elimination diet due to Gastrointestinal or Allergic reasons.  These families quickly learn how to cook from scratch as prepared foods just don’t meet the special needs of their little ones.
These, along with other reasons are why I was interested in reviewing this book. 

Points of Interest:

  • Ms. Luther explains why she has objections to “Genetically Mutated Organisms”.  She even has her own “Manifesto” which explains her views. 
  • She gives ‘doable’ mentoring on how to water-bath and pressure can at home.
  • She sheds light on how to make your own Jams and Jellies without “the box”.  It is straightforward and I plan to try it as soon as berries are in season.  By using her method, you actually get 2 products….the jam and fruit syrup.  
  • Canning meats is also discussed, which is a personal favorite of mine.  She highlights the serious leftovers we all often have during the holidays. Canning the extra Turkey or Ham is a great way to extend their use.
  • Did you know that you may preserve Nuts such as Pecans, Walnuts, and Hazelnuts?  I once had a disaster with nuts in my pantry.  I won’t go into it, but I learned a painful lesson.  I had always thought that I would need to seal nuts in jars with my dry-pack canning device.  However, I learned that you can also do this with Water-bath canning.  Yea!  I’m going to try it!
  • There are many recipes that I have ‘dog-eared’ the corner of the page because I want to try them. Here are just a few to pique your interest: Beef stroganoff, Marinara with Meatball, Cajun Jambalaya, Sloppy Joe Filling, Deep South BBQ, Vegetables and Fruits with a twist, Random Pickled Veggies, Honey Vidalia BBQ Sauce, Taco Sauce and many more.
  • She has a section dealing with canning your own recipes. She gives thoughtful advice on how to determine the method and time needed for your favorites.
  • The only ‘glitch’ is that she refers to page 237 for directions on “Removing Pesticide from Produce” which actually appears on page 231.  This is not a big issue in my view.
I love this portion of her Disclaimer:  “Ultimately, though, you bear the responsibility for your own food and safety practices.”  Overall, that is true for any food activity we participate in and is something we really need to be thoughtful about. If you are concerned about what is in your food and how it is prepared, then this book may really fit the bill for you.
If you are looking for a way to preserve your food more from a ‘ground up’ approach, you should consider “The Organic Canner”.  As of this writing, the price is $16.75 on Amazon.  You most likely will spend more than that going out for dinner and a movie!

Food Storage-getting it as cheap & fast as possible

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Preppers Survive gets quite a few emails each month.  My favorite emails are from newbie Preppers because they have an intensity and an urgency in their comments and questions.  Here is some examples:  “we firmly believe in preparing for what may come…” or  “what would be the… Read More

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Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter (Book Review)

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Emily has done it again. She has helped bring Christ back into a holiday that has been taken over by Easter Bunnies & Marshmallow Peeps.

Don’t get me wrong, we love those things! Each year our family heads to the farm to go fishing, hunt for eggs, and do our annual egg rolling contest. These things are wonderful (at least when the kids are behaving), but I want my children to realize there is more to Easter than just getting another sugar high.

I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review Emily Belle Freeman’s latest book – Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter. A few months ago I shared her other book – Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas – so I knew this one would be just as good (and it was)!

Author Emily Belle Freeman took the same approach and created another wonderful story of the Savior, this time focusing on Easter!


Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter

One of the few titles for adults on the Easter holiday, this beautiful gift book tells the story of Jesus from Crucifixion to Resurrection in short chapters, illustrated with line art, told in the first-person narrative of seven disciples. Each section offers the author’s commentary on the lessons learned from each disciple and suggests simple traditions to follow to remember how implementing the teachings of the Easter holiday can vastly enrich your life today.

Personal stories include:

  • Lazarus
  • Simon
  • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
  • Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome
  • Thomas
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus
  • Jesus Christ

In this small 85 page book, Emily Belle Freeman shares seven traditions that will lead us closer to Christ while not compromising the childhood joy of the Easter season.  Starting with those who were closest to Christ she weaves the story of those who walked with him, each story bearing testimony of our Savior.

Just like the Christmas book, at the end of each chapter she offers the reader a tradition to consider, a hymn to sing, a story to tell, a lesson to share and scriptures for further study.

Some things you’ll learn in this book is the meaning behind the wheat baskets, the forget knot, the red egg, and more traditions that will help Easter become a “High Holy Day” in your heart and home.

This is such a great way to study about the Savior and teach children what Easter is really about. You can read a chapter each week or read one each day leading up to Easter.  I plan to use her book in the week leading up to Easter for our nightly scripture study. I know the kids will enjoy it, especially the activities in each chapter.

Jesus Christ through His sacrifice
became our  Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel, our Savior.
On this day, rejoice in Him.

How Do You Celebrate Easter?

I feel there are a lot of things I can teach my kids, but one of the most crucial things I want them to know is about Christ. They may still get their sugar high this year, but this book will help them realize the real reason we celebrate Easter!

Easter is a wonderful time of year to reflect on what is truly important in your life. I hope you enjoy time with your family and loved ones, but also take time to reflect on the Savior’s sacrifice and love for you.

Celebrating a Christ Centered Easter is a beautifully written book, that offers hope for an Easter filled with the Spirit of Christ. If you or your family are looking to draw closer to Christ – this book is for you.

I appreciate being sent a copy to review, I truly did enjoy it and hope you do too!

It’s inexpensive enough it makes for a great gift to share with others – especially those who are struggling or could use a little light in their life.

You can get a copy of the book here –  Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter

I know that ye seek Jesus,
which was crucified.
He is not here, 
For he is risen. 
Matthew 28:5-6 KJV

Meet the Author –  Emily Freeman

Emily-Freeman-AuthorEmily Belle Freeman is a coach’s wife, a mother of four, an author, and a sought-after inspirational speaker. She coauthors a popular blog putting religious teaching into practice: www.multiplygoodness.com.

The post Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter (Book Review) appeared first on Prepared Housewives.

In Pursuit of My Masters

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The view from the door nearest my classroom at Weber State.

This week was school week for me. I returned to campus at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah for my twice-a-semester mandatory classroom sessions. I can’t complain because the rest of the semester is all handled online. Typically it is a two day session of seminars and classes. This particular visit contained three days with one of them being specifically centered on how to write a thesis paper (which I am NOT looking forward to.)

When I worked the night shift it was easy to complete homework during downtime and not drag school work into family time. It’s not so easy now that I work an 8-5 job but I’m not complaining. At least I have the opportunity to earn more education. Usually I take a kid with me to accompany me on the trip. It gives us bonding time and plants the seed for what college life could be like for them. So far, everyone who has gone with me has loved it.

Frosty parked outside the place I stayed (no snow upon arrival)

This trip started out dry on the day I traveled to Utah but I woke up to several inches of snow. I almost got stuck in the parking lot the first day of class thanks to several inches of snow and my 3/4 ton ‘burban with two wheel drive. Frosty, the Suburban I bought back from the insurance company after it was totaled in our house fire, cost me $400 to get back into my name with a salvage title. That poor old ‘burban has been through a lot but it keeps trucking along. Got me all the way to Ogden and back  (not to mention pulled Jack, our Volvo, all the way from Arizona to Idaho).

Speaking of earning it, the education is costing me about $3500 per semester and there are four semesters. $12,000 is really cheap on the grand scale of obtaining a Masters degree. Most degrees at this level cost much, much more. I’m hoping to find some scholarships to help along the way. That doesn’t include books, hotels, gas or food.

Eating my sammich in class…mmmmm…

I took along as much food as I thought I would need for the trip. A bucket of smoked almonds, a few ham sammiches, some granola bars and a water bottle. I made it through day two before I hit a Subway for a $5 footlong.

As most things usually go, this trip didn’t end without a big, fat fubar event. I struck up a partnership, so to speak, with a local ski resort in Eden, Utah. The first time I stay, I swapped a few days of our timeshare for a few days for a place to stay for school. The ski resort was nice and not too far from campus. After telling the resort that I was a student traveling (at that time) from Arizona to obtain my degree, they began to offer me a low price for every visit. The protocol called for me to call them just a day or two in advance of class and as long as they didn’t have all their rooms booked, they would let me have one for $39 per night.

A whole family of these guys reside on campus. I see them every year.

On this trip, they ran out of rooms at the main ski resort  but were able to place me at their sister location at the bottom of the mountain. The price for three nights were offered at $149 which was higher than usual but still couldn’t be beat for the location and accommodation. The fubar occurred during checkout. The front office gal accidentally charged me $200 but quickly promised to get $50 of it immediately reversed. The next day, when I looked to see if it had truly been reversed, I noticed it had actually be debited $200 AGAIN. Now I’m out $400 when I should have only been charged $149.

Found a note in my lunch…

It’s always something, no matter what. My windshield on Frosty cracked for no reason too. I think it was my defrost putting out hot air on a frozen windshield. I’ve heard of people pouring hot water on a frosty windshield hoping to clear away  their view only to end up cracking the windshield from the heat hitting the cold window. I guess this is what happened between my defroster and cold windshield…only I’ve never had it happen before.

Neither incident bothered me much. The money will sort out. The windshield crack is on passenger side and doesn’t affect my view. It’s a $400 car…who cares about a cracked windshield? You can’t let all the little set backs get you down because they happen all the time. With nobody tagging along on this trip, I was able to crank out several weeks worth of homework in three days. It’s almost Spring Break and I’m almost caught up on homework.


Laugh at Life – Habanero Video

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Recently, there has been a seriousness around the Preparedness and Survival Communities. There have been many issues both governmental and social that have definitely warranted a seriousness as these things should not be taken lightly. As concerned citizens, we should be aware of these issues and agreeably, should be prepared or preparing for them and … Continue reading

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Survival Food Test – Valley Food Storage Product Review

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When deciding upon a long term food storage product, it helps to sample the product before purchasing a large quantity for your emergency pantry. This is a product review of one of the long term food storage products available from www.valleyfoodstorage.com.

After receiving a sample from Valley Food Storage, a test was conducted on the various aspects that are important in a long term food storage product. The sample food product tested was a package of “Enchilada Beans and Rice”.

Review Results:

1.) Cost – This product costs $11.95 for a 5 serving unit. This breaks down to about $2.39 a serving and is a reasonable price for a long term food storage product with an extended shelf life. They also offer a variety of discounts on their site.

2.) Packaging – The packaging is extremely sturdy and comes in a Mylar pouch that is resealable. The pouch was easy to re-seal and maintained a good seal afterwards. The left-over pouch can also be used as an emergency water container or to carry other snack items.

3.) Preparation – Prep time was roughly 20 minutes total and requires two cups of boiling water. Cooking was a fairly easy process if you follow the cooking directions on the package.

4.) Appearance – The contents looked and smelled very appetizing.

5.) Taste & Smell – When cooked, it had a pleasant aroma and the beans and rice were very soft. One noted exception is that there were no enchiladas in the package. “Enchilada flavored” would be a better description. Seasonings were well balanced. This is important for a person that doesn’t like a large amount of seasoning on their food.

All things considered, this is a very good food storage product. After sampling a wide variety of long term food storage products over the years, this item compares very favorably with other similar long term food storage products.

Got long term food storage?

Staying above the water line!


The Art of Blending in: 5 Tips from a Counterintelligence Special Agent

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Before I was a blogger, I spent many years teaching and doing surveillance. I’m going to share a few tips on how to blend in that I learned over the years.

You’re reading The Art of Blending in: 5 Tips from a Counterintelligence Special Agent, originally posted at Graywolf Survival – Emergency preparedness from a combat veteran by Graywolf.

50 Birds Can’t Be Wrong

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For all the complaining I do about winter and cold and how tired I am of splitting wood, I have been lucky enough to watch our local bird population grow slowly.
This past week I’ve seen an increasing number of grosbeaks, purple finches, doves and an assortment of swallows. It helps that a neighbour a kilometer down the road has a cluster of bird feeders.
Spring is on it’s way, slowly but surely.
All those birds can’t be wrong, can they?

Amazon Contest Winner Announced! ($50 Amazon Card)

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 A few posts ago I blogged about using an electric dog fence. I made a contest and opened it up to anyone who shared or commented. The prize is a $50 Amazon gift card and I picked the winner using a random number generator.

I simply numbered the commenters starting with the first comment as #1 and went down the list. The random number generator picked #3.


Kim Johnson!

Please use my Contact Me link on the top tool bar to send me your email address and I will email your prize to you within a few days.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. I wish I had gifts for all of you.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program…


Old Man Winter

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He came in late this year. So with nothing to do here in Texas, we went off for the weekend.

 Last weekend was my birthday, I turned 43. My company sent me to Las Vegas to celebrate in style.
This was our first time to visit Vegas and believe it or not, our first time to fly. So much to see, so much to do.

We spent four days doing things I have never thought we would do. I would not have chosen to go there myself because I don’t like gambling, people or crowds, but I had to step outside of my box and just enjoy being around and doing things I have only seen on TV. How could I say no, it was a free trip, kinda. The flight and hotel was free.

They should be ashamed of themselves for price gouging the way they do. The hotel where we stayed, The Palazzo, a drink cost $12 bucks, but two miles down the street I found the same drink for $1.99 and there is no way you can eat cheap unless you get off the strip, then you have to pay for a cab ride.

The weather was great, upper 60’s, and as I write this we are snowed in here in North Texas so I do miss that.

All and all I enjoyed the trip. We went to a lot of places and did a lot of things in such a short amount of time. Now I know what to expect the next time we go. I can’t tell you everything we did because you know what they say, “What happens there, stays there.” but I seen things I shouldn’t have. LOL

No updates on the house, the weather has been too bad and cold to work on it and we don’t cook chili again until the 14th. Maybe, just maybe we can get something done this weekend.

Until then, Viva Las Vegas

Event Notification for Las Vegas, NV

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Event: Fireside/Cottage Meeting Event for Las Vegas, NV

Date: Sunday, March 8, 2015

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Topic: “The Sacred Roots of Preparedness—Finding Peace in Our Preparedness Efforts in the Latter-Days”

Place/Host: Davis Residence; 1442 Starlight Canyon Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89183

Admission: FREE

All are welcome to come to this Cottage Meeting/Fireside event in which Kellene…

Preparedness Pro Newsletter Subscription!

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This week we’ll be sending out our first official issue of the Preparedness Pro Newsletter. Each issue will be packed with something to learn regarding each of the 10 Principles of Preparedness PLUS this is the ONLY place where you’ll be able to get some of the best of recipes by The Preparedness Pro! So if you haven’t subscribed to our free newsletter yet, be sure you do so ASAP so you don’t…

Preparedness For and With Seniors

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Far too often, it seems that everything related to homesteading and preparedness (those two overlap a lot!) is geared towards healthy, single people in their twenties and thirties. What about other groups? How can seniors increase their self-sufficiency and prepare for emergencies? Let me address two important things first. 1 – The basics of preparedness […]

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Keeping Track of Survival Information

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It is important to remember that in a grid down situation, you likely won’t have ready and easy access to the Internet so all of those great articles you’ve bookmarked will be useless to you. On top of that, depending on the nature of the calamity, even e-books might be out of reach. Any and all personal record information, such as insurance policies and such, won’t be accessible if they are only found on your computer.

Keeping Track of Your Information

Survival Binder

A survival binder is a simple way to keep all of that information handy. Start with a 3 ring binder and a three hole punch, both of which can probably be found at your local Goodwill if you don’t want to pay for new (though they are very cheap, especially at back to school time). While you’re at it, pick up one or two packages of dividers, which are cardstock with tabs affixed to the side. These will allow you to better organize your binder.

Some people go so far as to use plastic page protectors as well. This isn’t a bad idea but will add a bit of expense to the project.

Set up your binder with sections for things like:

Important documents – insurance policies, financial statements, property ownership paperwork, etc.

Food – recipes using food storage items, information on different ways to cook offgrid, that sort of stuff.

Water – information on filtering and purifying water.

First aid – information on how to stay healthy, treat injuries and illnesses, how to use different first aid items you might have on hand.

The list goes on and on. As you find information online that you might want to be able to reference if the power is out, print out a copy and store it in your binder.

I would caution you to stay on top of the organizing part of this project. It is all too easy to go on a printing binge and then just toss everything into the binder, promising to yourself that you’re going to organize it later. Trust me, later never comes. It is far better to place the printed pages into the correct part of the binder each and every time.

As you go along, you may end up getting to the point where you’ll need more than one binder because you’ve accumulated so much information. That’s perfectly fine and normal. What I suggest you do at that point is to create labels for the binders so you know what is in each. This will hopefully cut down on your searching time when you’re looking for a specific piece of information.

The survival binder is an excellent project for keeping track of all the great information you find online, allowing you to access it when the computer and Internet aren’t viable options.

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Post-Apocalyptic Eye Wear

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I wear eyeglasses. Bifocals. I have a separate pair of prescription sunglasses for driving and outdoor activities. What happens to me if my glasses are destroyed and the economy is disrupted enough that I can’t just walk into Costco with a prescription for a new pair? I remember this happening to a key character in one of the first post-apocalyptic novels I ever read, Alas Babylon; not good.

Well, I’m not too worried. That’s because I understand the principle of the depth of field and pinhole “glasses.”Pinhole glassesWhen light passes through the right kind of lens (such as that in the human eye), it is focused into a single point. When the eye does not focus images at the right point, we experience blurred vision because of refractive error: near-sightedness or far-sightedness, depending on whether the eye focuses the image in front of or behind our retina. Instead of seeing sharply, what we see is blurred because the retina is picking up the “circle of confusion”–an imperfectly-focused point in the cone of light rays coming from the lens.

“Depth of field” is the range of acceptable sharpness in that cone of light rays. By narrowing the angle of the cone–by constricting the size of the aperture through which the light is coming–one is able to increase the depth of field, the area at which the image is acceptably sharp.In high school, we turned a classroom into a giant pinhole camera. Under normal circumstances, the windows on one side of the classroom did not focus light at all; light came in through the windows and lit up the room from that direction. But when we blacked out the classroom and left just a small opening through which light could enter, an inverted image of the outside was plainly visible, projected on the wall opposite the opening. By narrowing the aperture for light, we had created a long depth of field for light coming into the room, so that the light actually focused on the back wall.

Depth of fieldIf you have poor vision, you can try this for yourself. Use a push pin to poke a small hole in a card or a piece of aluminum foil. Take off your glasses and peer at something that is blurry to you. Now hold the card in front of your eye and peer through the hole; doesn’t the object appear sharper? Voila!

One problem with doing this is that with such a small aperture, not much light gets through. If things aren’t real bright, you may see objects only dimly if at all. The solution to this is to look through many pinholes, not just one. More holes means more light, with the light from each pinhole coming in at a great depth of field. (Sadly, multiple holes can also make objects appear to have multiple edges, as light is diffracted differently through adjacent holes. This can take some getting used to, and can make such a pair of pinhole glasses exhausting to use for too long a period.)

So in my post-apocalyptic life, when my eyeglasses break, I’ll be wearing pinhole glasses. I’ll put some pin-sized holes in something I can glue or tape to some eyeglass frames. Heck, I might even have to make crude frames. But at least I won’t be doomed to never-ending blurriness!


The Go-Book: Insurance Information

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home-insuranceThis weeks post could be one of the more important ones. Having all of your insurance information in one spot will save you immense pain and time trying to get that information. Insurance info is one of those things I do not have memorized. Half the time I don’t even know what insurance we have or what it covers. It would be great to have all that info in one spot.

So, here is what should be included in this spot. And yes, it is more than just insurance policies.

Copies of your life insurance. Having proof of it is always good. Also, with this information written down you will have access to your policy numbers as well as who to contact and how and when to best contact them.

Copies of home, auto, etc insurance. This would include renters insurance, boat insurance, any policies you might have for quads or dirt bikes, motorbikes, and the like. If you get into and accident, or if your boat sinks, you will definitely want to have that information readily available. If you rent instead of own, you should definitely have contents insurance. If your residence burns down, you don’t want to lose everything you have. Not owning the home would mean your landlord gets to cash in on his policy and you get nothing. With contents insurance, you can at least get money to replace your stuff which just happens to be everything you own.

Jewelry appraisals. If you have a lot of jewelry in the home, you will want to get them appraised so you have an idea of how much they are worth. If you get broken into and they get stolen, depending on what insurance you have, they will cover the cost of the jewelry. I know that wont replace any that had sentimental value but at least you get something for it. Better to replace it with the insurers money than your own.

Another good idea is to take an inventory list of items in your home. This would include televisions, computers, art, books, beds, things with sentimental value, anything of high value, and anything you would want replaced if destroyed or stolen.

You will want to write down:

Quantity of item. Typically this will be 1. Even if you have two 75″ TVs I would put them each down separately and you will find out why in a sec.

Description of item. Describe what it looks like as best you can. If there are any scratches or dents that will help make it easier to identify, include them.

When and where purchased. You will want to keep receipts and attach them to this sheet. Having proof of purchase will save you time and the headache of trying to prove you had that 75″ TV.

Make/model and version of products

Serial numbers. This is specifically in case items get stolen. This is why you will want to list those two 75″ TVs separately. Having the serial number written down can prove that that specific TV is yours.

Price you paid. Again, keeping the receipts handy will help. Often the receipts will have the price as well as the serial numbers for your items. Depending on your policy, your insurance may cover 100% of purchased price. This will be good when the value of the TV goes down, but your policy pays your out at your purchase price.

One last thing I think deserves a mention in this area is receipts for any major repairs. This includes repairs to the home, car, or items in the house like computers and laundry machines etc.

The idea behind this Go-Book isn’t only for the zombie apocalypse, but also for small things like making a claim about your missing computer, or adding your new born to your life insurance policy.

In your Go-Book, it is a good idea to staple a copy of each of your policies on the back of the page that has the details written down. This is the book you want to put everything into. It will not only be the Go-Book, but the Go-To-Book. The book you go to for all your important information.

Next week we will be going over your finances and what should be included. I keep saying on each topic that it is the most important one. I have to laugh because I’m basically saying the whole book is the most important thing. We love our money, and when we’ve worked as hard as we have to get it we don’t want to let it get away because we simply didn’t write its information down.

5 Dual Purpose Plants To Try In Your Garden

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I have been looking into ways to expand my garden over the next few years, and I am very interested in nutrient rich vegetables. Isn’t it fabulous when you find plants with multiple edible parts? Here are 5 interesting choices. A Few Dual-Purpose Plants To Try Beets Not only are beets versatile, but they are […]

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Are You Getting REAL Education in 2015?

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A few weeks ago, I made a video about “Escaping Modern American Life.” While I maybe haven’t always had it as distilled or front of mind, that’s what this entire thing has always been about. The journey to gain more control over life, escape the crappy options in front of us, and lay hold of […]

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How Long Can You Store Food in the Freezer? (Chart)

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Recommended Times to Store Food in the Freezer

My favorite purchase by far has been (drum roll)…. yep, my freezer!

Maybe it eats up too much electricity and space, but it has saved me MANY trips to the store – so for now it’s staying!

I often forget everyone is not as obsessed with freezers as I am, and it might because they don’t realize everything you can store in them! I store nearly anything I want, for as long as I want in mine (which is not recommended, so consult the infographic below for proper storage times 😉

And I really am going to defrost my freezer one of these days – it’s made it on my to-do list at least!

Reasons to Store Food in the Freezer:

There are many ways to cut costs at home without making any big sacrifices. Most of these frugal tricks only require patience and the will to do it.

For example, freezing food as an organized household activity can significantly improve your eating habits while saving the family budget.

Here’s how:

Families that carefully plan out their monthly or weekly shopping often shop for groceries in bulk and prepare the food for freezing on weekends, when they have more time. This ensures that no food gets forgotten in the fridge or pantry and is thrown away in the end.

Freezing food also enables people to maintain a healthy nutrition. By preparing and freezing veggies, fruits, meat and even cooked meals, you don’t have to spend too much time getting meals ready on those crazy days – we all have them!

Frozen Food Recommended Storage Times

The following infographic is a guide to proper food freezing and storage. It shows information on how long we can keep different groceries in the freezer and shows what types of food do not freeze well.

This resource also works as a reminder to always properly package food and apply labels with information about the contents of the food packaging and date it was frozen.

Frozen Food Recommended Storage Times


Extra Freezer Tips:

Food preservation in cold temperatures has been practiced since the early days of mankind, although not as effortlessly as today when we have powerful freezers, polythene bags and plastic containers, freezer labels and other utensils that help us better preserve food. We also have the knowledge of how to do it properly.

To make sure defrosted food is as fresh, nutritious and tasty as before freezing it, there are certain rules to follow. For example:

  • Food should always be frozen at the peak of its ripeness/freshness;
  • Some types of food do not freeze well, such as eggs in shell or potatoes;
  • Liquids expand in cold temps, so it’s important to leave enough room in the container when freezing beverages, etc.

Most importantly, we must know how long we can store food in the freezer before it loses its taste or even becomes unsafe to eat (if air gets in).

Go ahead and print off the infographic above to keep on your fridge or freezer for quick reference when freezing food!

P.S. Here’s one of my favorite freezer meals if you’re still wondering what to put in your freezer 😉

The post How Long Can You Store Food in the Freezer? (Chart) appeared first on Prepared Housewives.

RV Boondocking Project – DIY Installation for a Reverse Light

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One of the most difficult tasks when boondocking is backing your RV into a suitable area. This can be made even more challenging if you don’t have reverse lights on your RV and it’s starting to get dark. In many cases, In our case, we usually don’t reach our destination until it’s gotten pretty late in the day. Without decent back-up lights, you could risk serious damage to your RV.

RW, Jr.’s RV didn’t have any reverse lights and it really made it difficult to back-up when there wasn’t much daylight left. To remedy this problem, I installed an LED spotlight on the spare tire carrier on RW, Jr.’s RV. If we wind up getting set up late in the evening, we don’t have a problem because of a lack of daylight.
.The main obstacle was making a mounting bracket for the light. Replacing the existing taillights with ones that incorporated reverse lights was a pretty expensive proposition and they wouldn’t have provided very much additional light. Standard reverse lights aren’t very bright and wouldn’t be a lot of real help when it gets dark.

I used an old aluminum bracket and a piece of 1/2″ electrical conduit that was in my junk pile to fabricate a mounting bracket. It only required a couple of holes to be drilled in the spare tire mounting bracket to attach the light. I mounted it in a centered position that enabled the light to be used to its maximum advantage. This gave the maximum amount of light coverage.  
The light was wired directly into the trailer wiring harness to the reverse light wire which hadn’t been hooked up. Now RW, Jr has a spotlight that works any time he is backing up his RV. He can also see me when I’m guiding him into place if it’s dark. I used a  10 watt 12 volt  DC LED Floodlight for the reverse light. It’s water-proof and puts out a lot of light.

Got boondocking light?

Staying above the water line!


Solar Garage Project

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Pole-mounted Solar Panels

The conversion of my garage to solar power is completed and hopefully it will lower my utility bill. It took a while to get everything set up and working. My panels were pole mounted in order to make it easier to service the solar panels.

A total of four 100 watt solar panels were used to charge a battery bank of four 100 amp hour batteries. Two inverters were used to furnish power. A 100 watt pure sine wave inverter was used for lights and to power a small air compressor. An 1800 watt pure sine wave inverter was set up to furnish power for my power saws. This covers the majority of my power usage in the garage. I’ll also being running a fairly low wattage heat lamp for the chickens in the winter.

A solar panel kit from Grape Solar was used for this project and came with most of the necessary wiring, a charge controller and an inverter. There is additional information posted in my product review. A separate grounding rod was installed on the panels and the solar disconnect that was installed.

My grid-powered outlets are still functional and can be used if my solar power system goes down for some reason but won’t be used unless absolutely necessary. With the completion of this project, my storage shed, greenhouse and garage are now on solar power.

Part Two will show my battery bank, solar disconnect and charge controller set-up.

Got solar-powered garage?

Staying above the water line!


Where is Waldo?

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You may think that I’ve disappeared from the #SMEM scene as of late, thanks to the lack of updates on this blog. However, that is not the case.

What is true is that I’ve been busy working on a number of projects which have been just a little more behind the scenes, but now is a good time to resurface for a brief moment and chat about these endeavors.

  • New Job: As you may remember, I moved from the emergency management profession and into a 9-1-1 technology career. While still mystifying for some, the next huge phase in the 9-1-1 community is wrestling with the advent of Next Generation 9-1-1 which is essentially the incorporation of #SMEM directly into the public safety community. It is fun to be on the forefront of some of the planning conversations which will someday bring text, video and imagery right into the hands of future 9-1-1 dispatchers.

  • New Training Classes: Despite the new job, I’ve also had the pleasure of being involved in the development of a new training course that is currently in the pilot stage for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, entitled “Social Media Engagement Strategies.”  This class will have several pilots before seeking final course approval.  The next pilot is on March 19th in Cincinnati, Ohio. And according to the NDPTC training website, there are still 8 seats left in the course, if you’re lucky enough to be within a commutable distance.  Pilot #1 occurred in Washington State in February and the feedback was very encouraging and positive.  Intermediate Social Media Tools, taught by Kevin Sur, is also occurring the day before and has 5 seats left at this writing.  For other pilot deliveries, keep an eye on the NDPTC site for future announcements.

  • New Association:  For the past year, I’ve been working with a number of #SMEM folks to create a professional association that wholly models and embodies the use of collaborative tools and technologies.  With a vision to provide an umbrella to emerging technology initiatives and to solve age-old emergency management issues through truly incorporating a whole-community approach, it is an exciting initiative. And, at this juncture, we’ve seated a Board of Directors, adopted By-Laws and a Strategic Plan and are currently jumping through the hoops to be fully registered as an operational 501(c) organization. Our goal is to soft-launch this membership-based organization late summer 2015 and host our first in-person conference in 2016 or 2017. Much more to come on this very soon.

  • New Award Nominations: And, in other news, I’ve been honored to have several of the initiatives nominated for awards being handed out by the first Government Social Media Conference (#GMSCon) which will be held in Reno, Nevada at the end of April. Nomination, however, appears to be just the first step and now the general public gets to vote on the awards. I’d personally ask you to support voting for 3 categories specifically by March 6th

  1. Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) were nominated in the “Social Media in Emergency” category.  Vote at this link –>  http://conference.governmentsocialmedia.com/golden-post-awards/social-media-in-an-emergency/
  2. #30Days30Ways, the National Preparedness Month game facilitated by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency was nominated in the “Social Media for Citizen Engagement” category.  Vote at this link –>  http://conference.governmentsocialmedia.com/golden-post-awards/social-media-for-citizen-engagement/
  3. And finally, I was nominated for the Top Government Social Media Leader (Non-Elected) category.  Vote at this link -_>  http://conference.governmentsocialmedia.com/golden-post-awards/top-government-social-media-leader-non-elected/

It continues to be a pleasure to work among such amazing people in the #SMEM community. I look forward to seeing and meeting even more of you as I travel to a variety of locations in 2015.  As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out and chat with me on Twitter at @cherylble or via email at cherylble@gmail.com.

May each of you have an AWESOME 2015! Thanks for reading.