12 Days of Christmas Giveaways: Day 1–Lucky Gunner Ammo

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways--Day 1: .223 ammo!  Ends 12/3/15The gift giving season is upon us, and I’m ready to give some gifts to you, my readers!  For the next twelve days, I have teamed up with some fantastic sponsors to bring you Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaways.  Each giveaway will only run for THREE days and there will be a new giveaway every morning.  I know three days is shorter than usual, but it should make it so that when you win you can actually GET your prize before Christmas even if you win the last giveaway!  That way you can wrap up your prize and put it under the tree for someone you love (which, of course, could be yourself!)

For Day 1, we’re starting off with a bang.  Literally.  Well, lots of bangs.  Our friends at Lucky Gunner Ammo are providing $200 worth of .223 ammo to our Day 1 winner.  Can you imagine the weight of the stocking stuffed with that???  I want that stocking!  Lucky Gunner carries in-stock ammunition available for sale online.  So you can shop for ammunition in your pajamas.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.  Well, except when you get to go use the ammo!

Now, these 12 days of giveaways are sponsored by some really great companies and individuals, so to share the love, most of the entry methods will be ways of keeping in touch with them or this site.  I’ll mix up the entry methods as we go through the twelve days, so those of you who don’t do one particular type of social media can still get entries.  There will also be one FREE entry every day just for answering a random question about the Christmas season, so those of you who don’t do social media at all can even enter!  And you also get bonus points for sharing this giveaway with your friends (and this is the season of sharing), so share it!

This giveaway starts December 1st at 12:00 am MST and ends December 3rd at 11:59:59 pm MST.  Three full days to enter, so get busy!  Winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Prizes are shipped directly from the sponsor.

Enter here:

12 Days of Christmas Day 1

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Encouragement – Essential For Endurance

By Denis Korn

As we enter the holiday season of 2016 I want to once again offer some observations and most of all encouragement to all those who have been led to this article.  I am updating some points I made last year at this time and of course my holiday gift is the gift of encouragement at the end of this post.  I truly feel that encouragement is essential for endurance.  The endurance required to bear the burdens of these times.

The year of 2016 will be an important year for me in initiating and fulfilling goals and projects that I believe will be crucial given the current state of cultural, economic and political decay prevalent in contemporary society.  This post will offer reflections, plans and end with an updated encouragement I post when I feel it will be of value.  To help you gain some perspective on my background as I comment on the things I observe, I begin with a little history.

A little history

41 years ago I launched my retail Natural Foods store selling “natural whole foods” in bulk that included, among other unique food items, numerous basic commodities, in- house stone ground flours, herbs, my own recipes of just-add-water dried food meals and food reserves in #10 (7/8 gal) cans.  This was the inauguration of what was to become my life calling – which I continue today under the auspices of PrepareDirect – our product website, and Learn To Prepare – my information only blog.  In 1979 this humble beginning was to transform and become AlpineAire Foods, a major player and manufacturing innovator in the outdoor recreation and long term food reserves industry.

6 years ago in January of 2010 I began Learn To Prepare.  My intention was to share my many years experience and insights as a retailer, innovative developer and manufacturer with those serious people needing help beginning and improving their preparedness experience.  The blog is an evolving endeavor to focus on preparedness fundamentals with an emphasis on food related issues.  I have been fortunate in the past 41 years to have not only have created many different preparedness products, but also to have read thousands of articles, talked to hundreds of industry professionals, made hundreds of presentations and studied a variety of related materials.  Learn To Prepare is also unique in that I incorporate my graduate studies and college teaching experience in Philosophy into my articles to provide what I believe to be a critical perspective on a proper preparedness attitude in conjunction with action.

Key Concerns Enveloping the Current Preparedness and Survivalist Environment and Mindset

From the time I began providing preparedness products until very recently – ten years or so – the majority of interest was – to use a general term – family preparedness.  Average folks concerned for themselves and family with the issues of the day, and with relatively easy to comprehend options and priorities.  There has always been a survivalist element to disaster preparedness, however not to the extent we see today.  Why? And what are some of the factors that have created a noticeable polarizing preparedness marketplace and atmosphere?  Is this polarization motivating or discouraging our friends and family to be prepared for the fulfillment of numerous potential and impactful scenarios?

When I refer to a “survivalist” here is the meaning for me from Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:

survivalist: a person who advocates or practices survivalism; esp : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.

survivalism: an attitude, policy, or practice based on the primacy of survival as a value.

It can be said that everyone is a survivalist because we all want to survive – it is an innate instinct.  This is not however how the concept is applied in today’s media.  The emphasis is on the second part of the definition – one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.  Here is the root of the polarization.  This emphasis and fixation on the breakdown of our society with all its negative implications, has created a type of revulsion and resistance to properly evaluate and access the whole idea of emergency preparedness and survival during catastrophes and disasters – natural or man-made.  Many of us can not be inundated with nonstop doom and gloom and preached to by those absolutely convinced that the world as we know it will be destroyed, and not finally say enough already.  Add to the constant barrage of end of days hysteria, all the suggestions and appeals to action that any normal person would find extreme, infeasible or impossible.

I want to be clear – I am not a psychic nor privy to underground information. I have however read and listened to thousands of opinions and judgments on our current state of affairs.  And yes, many of the difficult scenarios presented – natural and man-made – will probably come to pass, and yes, we need to be prepared, and yes, we are in for some challenging times, and yes, there are differing perceptions on potential scenarios.  So what are some of the issues and problems surrounding the survivalist, prepper and disaster planner?

  • We are overwhelmed by those who are exploiting the concerns of the times with fear, greed and conspicuous deception!
  • So many deceitful and ignorant businesses and spokespersons are making it difficult for legitimate companies to succeed.
  • An inability for many – including professionals and consumers – to discern the truth from the deceptive hype.  So much information being put forward by so-called industry authorities and government agencies is simply incorrect.
  • Educating and empowering consumers to have trust and confidence in their sources for reliable information is not taken seriously by so many ill-informed and inexperienced instant preparedness experts.
  • A lack of critical thinking and communication skills from survivalist spokespersons.
  • A lack of trustworthy leadership.
  • A self-serving and corrupt media that promotes survivalist programming for profit that creates fear, confusion and anxiety.
  • The internet – that has been both a blessing and curse.  There is so much preparedness/survivalist information that is unreliable and inaccurate – and valuable and dependable – that many a sincere truth seeking individual finds it difficult or impossible to discern truth from fiction.
  • The media, television programming and our educational system is agenda driven (and not an agenda for the best interests of our citizens and Republic), and with a constant barrage of negativity, distortions and out right fabrication, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern the truth and maintain an encouraging attitude.
  • The problem once again is manipulation through fear.

The questions I ask those with the survivalist mindset – or anyone for that mater:

  • There are real and significant challenges ahead – Is there a more effective and empowering way to communicate preparedness and survival concerns to everyone without fixating on the fear, terror and greed factor?
  • Have you realistically and critically evaluated the advice being given by so many for actions to take during a serious emergency?
  • Are you aware that the methods being utilized by numerous advertisers, talk show hosts, blog writers and others to stimulate action focuses on mindless reaction rather than critical evaluation?

I want to acknowledge the many sincerely conscientious and committed individuals, businesses and news sources who are devoted to providing truthful information and reliable products.  I especially want to give my appreciation to committed Christian experts who realize the big preparedness picture and who offer prayer with their encouragement and advice.  I encourage all readers of this article to seek and discover these faithful individuals, organizations and companies.  I have written other articles available at Learn To Prepare – see the lists on the right column – that focus on the appropriate questions to ask yourself and others that will help in the preparedness planning process.

What’s Coming From Learn To Prepare

You will also notice a deepening emphasis on the spiritual and emotional attitudes and perspectives required regarding preparedness and survival.  For me the proper attitude and one’s spiritual/religious faith is essential, and forms the foundation for any effective and successful preparedness program.  Given the issues covered above regarding fear, and the emphasis on the accumulation of stuff and information (nothing wrong with stuff and information – if coupled with proper attitude and spiritual faith), I find a lack of encouragement that focuses on the most important aspects of the preparedness process – the aspects that provide true Peace of Mind.

We live in stressful and transformative times!

My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling times.  I especially wanted to re-post this updated version.  It is not meant to be an article about preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times.  2016 will be a year of significant challenges – may you be encouraged to endure with sustaining faith and hope!

I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.

It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be degenerating and transforming, and so many people – especially “leadership” – are egocentric and delusional. 

We all need encouragement to help us cope.


  • Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion of the times.
  • Be encouraged: to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
  • Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
  • Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
  • Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
  • Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
  • Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
  • Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart and deed.
  • Be encouraged: to be selfless not selfish.
  • Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
  • Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence and be thankful to GOD for the blessings that you have been given.
  • Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
  • Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
  • Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
  • Be encouraged: not to give up on loved ones who are in denial of the truth of the times and ridicule you for your faith and commitment to being prepared for the unforeseen.
  • Be encouraged: to embody the right attitude that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of your life.
  • Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
  • Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
  • Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
  • Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
  • Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
  • Be encouraged: to resist the temptations of the evil one.
  • Be encouraged: to encourage others!

Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words

The post Encouragement – Essential For Endurance appeared first on Learn To Prepare – Expert Emergency Preparedness Information.

I figured out the BBQ turkey this year!

I like BBQ’ing a turkey as it frees up the oven for baking bread, pies and casseroles that are Thanksgiving day favorites. This year I had about 16 pound turkey and it took about 4 hours to BBQ.  On average figure about one hour for ever four pounds of turkey if you BBQ. Eight pound turkey= two hours of cook time, sixteen pound turkey= four hours ect… I use Mesquite chunk charcoal and a charcoal chimney to start the charcoal. This year I had two charcoal chimneys on hand and after laying down a few of the larger chunks of charcoal in the BBQ, lighting up both chimneys +1.  I had more than enough coals to BBQ the turkey in about 30-35 degree F. weather with minimal wind.  I place a small broiler pan directly under the turkey and mound the charcoal up against the pan. In the broiler pan I add different liquids such as home made beer, white wine or vegetable stock along with any whole carrots, onions, celery or other stored veggies from the garden.  Every 20 minutes I  turn the turkey and on every hour I flip the turkey so that it will cook evenly. I try to start and finish the turkey breast down so all the juices soak into the breast meat. Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes breast down after BBQing and you will get some of the best tasting and moist turkey breast meat you ever had!

How is cooking a turkey on the BBQ related to prepping?  Well you are cooking a fairly large chunk of dead animal giving a bit of smoke and if you brine the bird like I do you add a bit of salt and sugars that are preservatives. While  I would not store the turkey on your counter top, BBQing a turkey is a gateway on learning how brines, salting using peppers and sugars work preserving meats. How will you  do a real cold smoke of meats unless you practice?  After you get the BBQ basics down it is all about controlling the heat/ flavors via cooking or smoking.  Plus, BBQ turkey just tastes good.

I caulk the interior of the windows and I had many bad words to say about the previous owners. Then again I did not go out and caulk  windows even after living here at Casa de Chaos for over a decade.  This weekend it got a bit cold in SW Idaho, Highs in the 20’s, lows in the teens. So today I caulked windows and used spray foam on some of the larger gaps around the windows. No wonder we feel a draft when the windows have gaps around the window sill up to a 1/2 inch! Using spray foam cans, clean the tube and can nozzle within 24  hours and you should be able to use a whole foam can over several weeks.

I started cleaning the walls of the computer room and the walls were  disgusting,  covered in tar/smoke from my smoking as well as spider webs and a fly or two that expired via old age.  I don’t want to give up smoking but, I do see the downsides to smoking and I’m trying to mitigate them as I learn more and do some cleanup at home.  While adding in several the small “Holmes” air purifiers has helped Mom dealing my smoking. I think the little purifiers have helped myself, Mom and the pets with some allergies, dealing with the inversions that happen in Idaho and the purifiers did great when I cleaned all of the grills and Oven. It was very smoky in the house, yet no smoke detector went off.

JM Bullion has a wicked sick sale on silver and a bit of gold. I use JM bullion a lot as they offer free shipping on any order over $100.00.  I’m not a trader, I’m a stacker and any time I find silver for about $15.00 per oz. I will find a way to buy and stack.  I don’t think most people will get “rich” stacking silver and or gold (if you can afford it). At best you might maintain your buying power.  I think everyone should buy gold/ silver as a hedge against deflation or inflation. Get your basic preps on hand and if you find you have about $100.00 not dedicated to anything I would recommend getting a few PMs.

It is crazy that silver  is valued 70+/1 via gold. A more natural ratio is 9/1  or 15-1 gold to silver and that is not counting all the uses of silver. Getting and holding silver is not a get rich scheme.  At best holding silver” might” maintain your purchasing power. Buy stuff you will need first then buy PMs (precious metals) last. Thirty dollars getting a rain barrel is smarter than buying a silver at any price!

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

Are you in a bit of a pickle, trying to choose the perfect gift for family and friends this year? 

Well, you’re in luck! I’ve done some shopping and I put together a selection of gift ideas for you. All of these gifts would work great for that sustainable-minded someone on your list.

Here’s 10 gift ideas for this holiday season:

1. Basil Grow Pot


In years past, I never knew what to get my girls’ teachers for Christmas. I mean, how many coffee mugs and candles can one person have, right?!  But it’s all changing this year because I found this basil grow pot on Eartheasy.com. The perfect gift to send to each teacher! Everyone can use basil and pretty much everyone can grow it. It’s really not that hard. Plus the packaging is super classy. The pot is handcrafted from sustainable bamboo and the lacquered lid doubles as a saucer. Inside the pot, there are seeds, soil wafers and drainage material. Everything needed to grow the basil. If you don’t have a teacher to buy for, these would make a great hostess gift to bring to all those holiday parties.  

(Basil Grow Pot at Eartheasy.com; $17.95 )

2. Oya by GrowOya


I saw an oya for the first time at last year’s Mother Earth News fair. I was immediately impressed. An oya is a terracotta vessel that you plant into the ground and fill with water. Then, over the next 5 to 10 days, water seeps through the oya, into the soil, watering the plants planted around it. Oyas save water, reduce time spent watering and grow healthier plants. You can’t go wrong giving this gift to the gardener in your life.

(Oya by GrowOya, available in 3 sizes at GrowOya.com; $24.95 and up)

3. Seeds of the Month Club Membership


Imagine opening your mailbox and finding a shipment of seeds inside every month. This is what the Seeds of the Month Club is all about. The first month I signed up, I received 8 packs of seeds in the mail. Then, around the first of every month thereafter, I received 4 packs. All the seeds are 100% non-GMO, open pollinated, heirloom varieties. Gardeners don’t get to choose which seeds they receive, but that’s part of the appeal. (Who doesn’t love a good surprise?!) Rest assured, the varieties each member receives are suitable to their particular growing zone. If you have a hard-to-buy-for gardener in your life, The Seeds of the Month Club is perfect. It’s a fun and useful gift.

(Seeds of The Month Club at AveragePersonGardening.com; $35.52)

4. Wool Dryer Balls with Essential Oil


Recently, I gave up dryer sheets. For two reasons. One, I’m always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Dryer sheets are clearly a waste, plus they’re full of chemicals. And two, my dog, Henry. Some dogs chew shoes and socks. Not Henry. He gets his chewing fix from dryer sheets. Every laundry-folding session, without fail, Henry sticks his nose in the laundry basket, by-passing all the socks and goes straight for the dryer sheets. These wool dryer balls from Eartheasy are the solution to wasteful living (and dog addictions). Used in place of dryer sheets, they reduce drying time by 50% and soften clothes. Included are grapefruit and bergamot essential oil to add natural fragrance to laundry. One dryer ball set can be reused over and over until the balls become firm, an indication that it’s time for a new set. Wool dryer balls are useful gift—perfect for the person who has absolutely everything.

(Wool Dry Balls with Essential Oil at Eartheasy.com; $39.95)

5. Abeego Flats Food Wraps


Throw out the Glad plastic wrap! This is amazing! A set of three, beeswax-coated, hemp-organic cotton cloths to keep food fresh. Just press and form firmly over dishes or wrap around fresh produce, like you do with plastic wrap. The flexible fabric is slightly adhesive at room temperature and stiffens when cool, holding the shape you created. Rinse clean and use them again. See how it works in the short video below. Cool, right?

(Abeego Flats 3-Pack at Eartheasy.com; $15.95)

6. Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living by Stacy Harris 


Stacy Harris’ Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living is a book filled with just that…recipes and tips. The book is divided into three parts: The Garden, Beyond the Garden and Woods and Water. Gardening, preserving, beekeeping, foraging, and chicken keeping tips are shared along with Harris family original recipes, like Creamed Brussels Sprouts, Baked Peaches with Honey and Almonds, and Chicken Farmer’s Style. The Woods and Water section of the book has numerous recipes for venison, turkey, duck and fish, which sets it apart from any other cookbook I own. And to top it all off, the cookbook is filled with gorgeous photos of Stacy’s delicious dishes. 

(Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living at Amazon.com; $25.99)

7. Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife 

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

Driving back from the bee supply shop this summer, my beekeeping mentor, Miss Luann and I stopped at a local Amish store.  There were lots of interesting things for sale inside but Miss Luann was adamant. I needed to buy this Rada Cutlery tomato slicer because it is “the best tomato knife” she’s ever used. And it’s so inexpensive!  In fact, her words to me were…”This knife would make a great Christmas gift for all your friends.” Now, that I’ve used this knife all summer long, I say Miss Luann was right. (She usually is. 😉 ) This knife slices big, juicy tomatoes with precision and ease. I love it.

(Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife at Amazon.com; $8.95)

8. MuckBoots Women’s Breezy Mid Boot  

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

MuckBoots are made for messy and tough conditions which means they’re a dream to wear in the garden. These waterproof boots come in several colors. I have the ones pictured above, and every community garden work day, I receive several compliments from lady gardeners who love my boots. I love them, too! Not just because they’re cool looking, durable boots, they’re also lined with moisture-wicking XpressCool fabric. So, unlike those colorful, rubber rain boots that Target sells, these boots don’t cause your feet to sweat. I mean, really, who needs their feet slippin’ and slidin’ around inside their boots on a beautiful, warm, sunny gardening day?!

(MuckBoots Women’s Breezy Mid Boot at Amazon.com; $109.95)

9. Herstera Urban Garden for Kids


Do you have a budding gardener in your life? I bet they’d love to have their very own gardening space. Back in March, you got to see my hip, red Herstera grow trolley when I was giving you my 5 Container Gardening Tips for Beginners.  It’s one of my favorite containers.  Herstera makes quality grow tables. They’re made of galvanized steel and are lightweight, easy to assemble. Mine has held up through the torrential rain, severe drought and record-breaking heat and it still looks (and works) fabulous. The Herstera Urban Garden for Kids is pint-size in height (perfect for little ones), but super-size in space for growing veggies, herbs and flowers. 

(Herstera Urban Garden Kids at Eartheasy.com; $169.95)

10. Savannah Bee Company Bee Cause Honey  


Give a gift that gives back! The Bee Cause Project is an organization started by the Savannah Bee Company. Their mission is to stimulate curiosity in young people about the importance of honey bees in our lives and the need to understand and embrace them and to care about their well-being through the installation of bee hives in 1,000 schools.  It’s also an organization that I love and support! When you buy a bottle of Savannah Bee Company Bee Cause Honey, 100% of the proceeds go directly to The Bee Cause Project. How cool is that?! 

(12 oz Bee Cause Honey at TheBeeCause.org; $15.00)

What gifts do you plan on giving this year? Share your ideas below.


This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, read the Disclaimers & Disclosures here. Thank you for your support!

The post 10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season appeared first on Earth and Honey.

MTM’s can/box combo

From the Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That department:

If you’re anything like me (and, really, let’s hope that you aren’t), you probably store a goodly amount of ammo in those handy little plastic 5- and 100-round plastic ammo boxes. They’re handy, cheap, and hold a useful amount of ammo. I usually then stack them up in ammo cans for long term storage. This works great in theory, but in practice there’s a problem – military ammo cans aren’t necessarily designed to perfectly accommodate those plastic ammo boxes. As a result, you get gaps, or the boxes aren’t arranged in the most efficient manner.

I was puttering around Cabela’s and discovered something interesting. MTM, the guys who brought such odd entries to the preparedness market as the Survivor, are now producing plastic ammo cans sized to fit the plastic ammo boxes. For example, the 9mm one lets you stuff 10 100-round boxes in it with a little room to spare for things like dessicant.

Also available in 45, 223, and 308, it seems a nice way to store ammo when you want something more than just a cardboard box on the shelf, but don’t need the overwhelming ruggedness of a .50 cal. military ammo can. I could see these being very handy for keeping ‘shooting/ready’ ammo on hand. Esp. if you keep your stuff out in the garage or something. I might have to get a few of these to play with.

From the Desk of John Rourke – December 1st, 2015

Drone technology is getting better and better. I have recently ordered my first drone that has real-time inflight camera viewing. The applications for large area viewing are obvious although it being seen or heard and attracting unwanted attention is certainly a possibility. This is a first step. We’ll see how it goes.

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Dollar Store Tip: Quite often my local Dollar Tree store has CR2032 batteries in stock. Local Walgreens sells a pack of 2 for over $5.


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There is a lot of chatter around Internet forums and groups asking the question – “With the threat of ISIS as well as the refugees coming into the United States what are you doing differently from day to day?”

The typical answers are carrying concealed more often and just paying more attention to the surrounding environment.  Myself? Nothing. I am not doing anything different.

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Read an interesting article where a doctor in China is planning on conducting the first human head transplant. If successful it would represent an incredible feat.

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President Barack Obama, left, sits with French President Francois Hollande, right, as they have dinner at the Ambroisie restaurant in Paris, France, with Secretary of State John Kerry, 2nd right, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal, 3rd right, and French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, 3rd left, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Obama is in France for a two-day visit as part of the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change conference. Other officials are : Translator, Thomas Ronkin, 2nd left, Charles Kupchan, top left, and French President Hollande's Military Chief of Staff General Benoit Puga, top right. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

President Barack Obama, left, sits with French President Francois Hollande, right, as they have dinner at the Ambroisie restaurant in Paris, France, with Secretary of State John Kerry, 2nd right, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal, 3rd right, and French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, 3rd left, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Obama is in France for a two-day visit as part of the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change conference. Other officials are : Translator, Thomas Ronkin, 2nd left, Charles Kupchan, top left, and French President Hollande’s Military Chief of Staff General Benoit Puga, top right. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

While world “leaders” in Paris dined on gourmet dishes and drank the finest wine their citizens in many cases are concerned about putting food on the table and worried that ISIS is infiltrating their countries.  As fine wine swirls in their glasses each of their countries continue to run massive deficits putting their citizens in tremendous debt. While morale decay engulfs the world these representatives celebrate their own existence while creating a future which will have no ill effect on themselves – only their people.  Looking at the world economy as a whole and the many threats that exist it is incredible that global climate is being deemed the biggest threat to all.

These leaders are nothing more than puppets being controlled by puppet masters who seek only to line their own pockets off the work and suffering of others.


Call to Action: December 15′ – Shelter

act-nowThis is the second installment of a new monthly series called “Call to Action”. Call to Action (CTA) is a monthly reminder to review one part of your prep’s and strengthen it.

This month is looking at what I consider an often overlooked prep…..shelter.

Full disclosure here….this is one of the preparations that I lack most. Like many others – I have a roof over my head and forget just how delicate a house can be. Whether it be fire, a hurricane or tornado, or a sudden need to evacuate – I may lose that roof and the protection it provides.


Alternative shelters range in simplicity, effectiveness, and cost. The important thing to do this month is review your Plan B and Plan C shelter methods and make sure they are intact (maybe a Plan D as well).

My first primitive shelter 75% compete....

My first primitive shelter 75% complete….

Primitive Shelter – I have no intention of surviving the rest of my days living in a “lean-to” or a “mud hut” – but they serve a purpose. Primitive shelters are just that – primitive, and in my opinion are a last resort and for short-term stays only. Limited protection against the cold, the heat, wind, rain, and predators….both four legged and two – do not make these a very good option.


Tents – No doubt tents are one of the most popular and plentiful alternative shelter methods out there. A large, family sized tent can be had for around $100 and will assist in providing shelter from the elements. Tents can be used for several days or several weeks. Many of the cheaper tents lack the durability for long-term use however they are cheap enough that a couple can be bought and put back.


Family-sized tent…..


Tarps – Tarps are extraordinarily useful and very inexpensive. Available in many sizes – tarps can be used to make expedient shelters as well as help patch leaking roofs. Tarps can also be used in conjunction with tents to increase the ability for the tent to fend off rain and wind. Tarps can be purchased at Wally-World, Northern Tools and most any home improvement store.


 Not exactly a tarp but very similar are drop cloth’s used by painters. These are thin plastic sheets that can often do many of the same things a regular tarp can do in a much more portable package. Being thinner they are certainly less durable and can be bought different sizes and thicknesses.

Campers – Whether it be a full-sized RV that you can drive around or a small pop up camper – these things can be home away from home in an emergency. Obviously not a cheap option – many people have these for recreational purposes and can benefit from them if the need to evacuate occurs or the main home is uninhabitable.

My buddy John Taylor gives us a tour of his pop up below…..



Campground – Campgrounds are a location which a tent can be thrown up or a trailer parked pretty inexpensively. They are a possible choice to relocate to. One problem is many people may think the same thing and the camps could get over crowded. Regardless – if you are burned out of your home or evacuation is necessary for some other reason – a campground is a possible back up plan.


Hotels – Very similar to campgrounds – hotels are a popular option for those traveling and forced to relocate. Hotels are typically very expensive and also do not take kindly to pets that may also be traveling.


Family – Likely one of the most obvious possible alternative shelter plans are staying with friends and family. Depending upon the situation some challenges could be presented especially if you are armed and the home owners are not gun-friendly.


Empty/Abandoned Homes – I consider this a last resort and only for a serious life-threatening situation. Imagine the predicament one would find themselves should the “empty” home end up being occupied by armed inhabitants. Not good. This option really needs pre-planning for the best possible outcome.


So – for this month consider what your plans are if for some reason you are forced out of your home or apartment. Where can you go? Where will you stay? For how long? What will you bring with you? What supplies will already be there? What security considerations will need to be taken?

If you already have plans – care to share?

Take care all –



100s of Delicious Recipes From The Great Depression

Food has changed so much over the last 100 years that even amateur chefs rarely cook from scratch anymore. Instead, they rely on ready-made ingredients like cream of mushroom soup, seasoning mixes, pasta sauce, etc. But if we ever face a total economic collapse and a return to […]

The post 100s of Delicious Recipes From The Great Depression appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Movie Monday – The Colony Season 2

This Week On Movie Monday

The Colony Season 2 Episode 1

The Colony was a social experiment series that aired on television in 2008/2009.  One of my favorite pieces of prepper production, The Colony takes a group of volunteers and places them in a disaster scenario to see how they survive.  In season 2, the group is told they have survived a worldwide viral epidemic and that VOPA (Virus Outbreak Protection Agency) will transport them to a safe camp.  As we would figure, the government VOPA leaves the survivors at what appears to be an abandoned camp with little supplies and no support.

 These films are presented as an exception to the copyright act as fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire. See bill c-42 article 29.

Links From Around The Web

Guerrilla America brought up a Good Chart for Rules for The Use of Burner Phones.

Very good stuff. Without going all OPSEC violationy (though a combination of wikki leaks, scientific/ tech magazines like popular mechanic or internet shit weekly and various manuals/ TTP’s/ CALL publications you can probably get over 90% of the way there) I want to add somethings.

I would add.
Problem- Do not just dispose of compromised phones. The issue is smart folks will sit on that stuff, especially if the bad guys aren’t dumping them. They will sit on phones for weeks to roll up as much of the network as they can.

Solution- Dump phones, and I mean genuinely 100% of the phones not half or 3/4’s AT ONCE. I hesitate to say an exact time but I would probably do it at least monthly during a very low intensity (which one could argue we are in now) time and more like weekly in a high intensity time. I would also consider operational variables such as mission timing and personnel changes. I would not keep to a schedule but would instead of it semi regularly within those general considerations.

Problem- Hiding in plain (electronic) sight.

Solution- Whenever possible use phones in areas/ times where there is lots of electronic noise. Since basically anyone can listen in on cell phones you want lots of noise. Think of it like having a conversation in a crowded bar instead of a quiet empty libraary. I bet there are a lot of phones in use at say 5-7 PM in a quarter mile radius in the suburbs. How many are being used in a national forest at 2 AM, probably one. You might not be able to avoid when/ where you talk from in some situations but when you can busy is good.

5 Critical Things You’re Missing in Your SHTF Training is pretty good also.  I have never seen that blog before but it was sure a good post.

6 Tips for Patients To Avoid Getting Into Medical Trouble

medical troubles

Too many IV’s

Well I am starting to feel better and am making daily progress.  In a few days I will be able to tell you all about what I went through.  This has given me some things to think about. Like how much medicine can you really stock.  The amounts on antibiotic and the types I have been given were huge, there were no way I could have stocked them.  In a real TEOTWAWKI situation.  My life would have depended on some alternative treatments and the will of the Lord.  I will explain more later about medical troubles.

Now here is a guest post on 6 Tips for Patients To Avoid Getting Into Medical Trouble that I found to contain some useful information.  Particularly the part on prescriptions, home treatment and being discharged.

One in every seven patients faces the consequences of a medical blunder in a medical facility that leads them getting into medical trouble. The blunder may not necessarily be life-threatening, but still counts towards medical malpractice and may lead to even more trouble for the patient and his or her health.

Making mistakes is just another part of human nature. In a typical healthcare system, these mistakes often result due to ineffective doctor-patient communication primarily from the patient’s end.Here are some ways with which you as a patient can reduce your chances of facing medical trouble

Communicate your meds effectively

One of the biggest mistakes that most patients make is that they often fail to communicateall of the medicines they’ve been taking – or are still on. The result is obviously drastic as doctors just might end up making a misjudgments based on things about the patient’s medical condition which they are completely unaware of.

Medicines can be tricky – especially with their side-effects. When you visit a doctor at a medical facility, make sure that you mention all of the medication that you have been taking or are currently taking including over-the-counter medication, prescriptions from prior checkups and any nutrient supplements. In fact what would be even better is for you to carry them along with yourself – if not the medicines, than the prescriptions at least. This would help your doctor better understand your current medical condition and would also help him to improve further diagnostics on you.

Get as much information out of your doctor

Doctors generally know a lot more about you than you do especially if they’re working in a healthcare system that has medical records of your previous and current health. And that is the problem as a number of patients generally tend to not know more about themselves. Moreover, they don’t even bother with getting enough information from the doctor for their own benefit. Somehow it’s usually about just getting their hands on prescription that satisfies them on a personal level.

Truth is, that’s not enough. Medical questions – or trying to get as much information you can out of your doctor is never enough. The more you know about your own health, the better it will be for you to sustain the quality of your life. Think of it as vital general knowledge – very vital general knowledge that you need to avoid getting into medical trouble because you were unaware of certain things that you were not supposed to do.Here’s a starter’s list of a number of questions that you should be asking your doctor to understand your medical condition.

What is the medicine, test and/or treatment for?

How many pills of this particular medicine am I supposed to take in a day, and for how many days?

Are there any side-effects of this medicine or treatment?

What do I do if the side-effects show up?

Will the medicine or treatment interfere with other dietary supplements that I am already taking?

What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine r undergoing treatment?

How long will this treatment last?

What’s in store for me after the treatment?

You might consider acquiring a lot of this information in writing so that you don’t forget – particularly side-effects, ways to counter them and dosage.

Communicate your medical history effectively.

A patient’s medical history encompasses a handful of medical conditions and experiences the patient has suffered till date and those which still continue to affect their health. While mundane things like the flu and the common cold can be left out, infections like chickenpox and STDs, chronic conditions that have been successfully or partially treated like cancer and cardiovascular disease still hold a significant amount of relevance to a patient’s current medical health and further diagnostics cannot be without keeping such conditions in mind.

And just as not telling your doctor about the medication that you are currently taking can lead to some serious consequences, not telling them about your medical history too can lead to some serious diagnostic errors. When you visit a doctor, it is important for you to share any and every information about your health with your doctor without assuming that he or she may already know everything. This information may include things like, food allergies, asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, or anything that the doctor may not be able to tell by looking at you. Sharing this information is vital as it will only make.

Demand to be in safe hands.

There has probably been a lot spoken about hand hygiene in hospitals all over the internet. But most of that has been done from a general point of view highlighting the same point – to prevent the spread of contagious infections from one environment to the other. Of course that is true. But have you ever looked carefully? Probably not; because if you had, then you may have noticed that often health practitioners fail to sanitize their hands at time – not intentionally, but probably because it just casually slips out of their minds. So what do you do in such a situation? You take matters into your own hands.

While in a medical facility, never overlook the possibility that you could still contract a contagious infection even though the best efforts are being made to keep every patient safe. Always ask your healthcare attendants – doctors and nurses included – who will touch you whether they have sanitized their hands or not. Even better, make sure they do it in front of you. It may sound offensive, but sometimes the simplest of things tend to the most commonly ignored. Hand-sanitizing alone can prevent the spread of a number of contagious infections within a medical facility that might contribute to worsening your health by adding to your medical trouble.

Don’t be too overcharged on getting discharged.

A lot of patients tend to worry more about how long they’ll be staying in a hospital or medical facility than the medical treatment itself. Maybe they’re a bit too concerned about medical bills, or maybe they just don’t like the atmosphere in general. In fact, getting discharged can be as complicated as getting admitted into the facility. Just because you’re going home, that doesn’t mean that you’re done with your treatment; there’s even more waiting for you – at home.

A number of patients pay very little importance to acquiring a proper home treatment plan often in the sheer excitement of being discharged from the hospital. True, medical facilities aren’t amusement parks, and the food is definitely not even worthy of a single star by a typical food critic, but it is more than important for you to understand the treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you to follow at home. This includes everything from diet plans to medicines, scheduling you next doctor’s visit to finding out when you can return to your normal routine. When you’re at home, you won’t have a nurse or a doctor to check you up after regular intervals – you’ll be pretty much on your own, and if you’re careless with your home treatment plan, all of your efforts just might end up going in vain.

Does your doctor write well?

It’s a well-known fact that most doctors have terrible handwriting – really terrible handwriting. Usually the first few letters are decipherable, and what follows is a long line of ink that finishes with a dot or an underline. But if you can’t read the prescription your doctor just gave out to you, you probably wouldn’t know what you’re supposed to ask for at a pharmacy. Not to mention, the pharmacist too would have difficulty in comprehending a badly written prescription slip.This could very well lead to you taking the wrong medication and suffering some potentially life-threatening consequences.

Choosing your doctor on the basis of his or her handwriting is obviously out of the question – and so is sending them back to writing practice in school. But what you could do is tell your doctor to write out the prescription he’s giving you as clearly as possible so that neither you nor the pharmacist has difficulty in comprehending it.

The post 6 Tips for Patients To Avoid Getting Into Medical Trouble appeared first on Preparedness Advice Blog.

Review – TRW Black Tea

Although I am primarily a coffee drinker, I was asked if I would be willing to try some special black tea. Reluctantly, I agreed after being assured it was strong enough to match the way I like my coffee. And they were right. TRW Fair Trade Imports, provided me with a 2oz. Brew Kit which … Continue reading

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How To Build A Bad Ass Firewood Rack With No Tools

How To Build A Bad Ass Firewood Rack With No Tools Having a place to store your firewood is a must! I use an old dog kennel that is full and really not working well. This is a project I will be making so I wanted you guys and gals to have a chance to …

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The post How To Build A Bad Ass Firewood Rack With No Tools appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Have A Very Merry Prepper Christmas!

santa-gun-jpg_221736I posted some suggestion for Stocking Stuffers for Preppers earlier,and thought to give a look at some under the tree gifts you might consider for that special prepper in your life (or even yourself).  In these dangerous times, giving family members prepper gifts might be a cost efficient good idea.

kelly Kettle stove set_ The Kelly Kettle

It will deliver about 7 cups of hot water in just a few minutes. Kelly Kettles use natural occurring fuels such as sticks and dry grass etc.


Mason jar oil lampsMason Jar Oil Lamp Tops

Once your finished with drinking your White Lightening, turn that Mason Jar into a functional lamp! (or use the White Lightening as the fuel!)

Maxpedition Falcon 2Maxpedition Falcon-II Backpack

Maxpedition makes a quality line of gear. The Falcon-II Backpack is an excellent choice for an EDC or Get Home Bag. Main Compartment: 18″(H) x 9.5″(W) x 4.75″(D). Secondary Compartment: 16″(H) x 8″(W) x 3″(D). Comes in a variety of colors.

solo stove_Solo Stove Wood Burning Emergency Stove w/ Aluminum Windscreen

A very popular and practical stove for the bug out bag.



Tactical%20RifleThe Tactical Rifle

Every prepper should have a rifle for SHTF. This book is a primer on the tactical use of the rifle by one of the world’s foremost authorities.



Solar showerLSolar Shower

Stay clean in SHTF and let the sun warm the water.






weather radioAmerican Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger

Stay on top of bad weather and charge your cell phone too.


sunotoSuunto M-3 D/L Compass

Suunto makes an excellent line of compasses.



Well folks, just a few suggestions. I hope each of you has a Very Merry prepper Christmas!









Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper Tagged: Beggining preppers, New preppers, Prepper Christmas, Survival and Prepping

Racism? Where Is This Coming From?

BIG racism

I don’t know about you, but after so many years of hearing cries of “racism” every time I’ve turned around, I’m burnt out. It no longer means anything to me. Perhaps that’s because the people who are using that word are constantly morphing the meaning of it, until it no longer means what it once did.

I have to say, I was raised to condemn racism in all forms. While I grew up mostly around whites, there were always a sprinkling of other ethnic groups in my life. I always treated them like anyone else and many became friends at one time or another.

Even now, over 50 years old, I still spend a lot of time with people of other ethnic backgrounds. My wife and I enjoy encountering them and learning about their cultures. Actually, I live in an area where I’m considered the minority, with over 80 percent of our local population being Hispanic.

This has never bothered me. I don’t look over my shoulder any more here than I would in an all white area. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the Mexicans or Hispanics I deal with on a regular basis. I have friends who trace their ancestry back to Mexico and some who came from there themselves. While there aren’t many blacks or Afro-Americans in my area, one of my best friends is one.

At the same time, I recognize that there are cultural differences to contend with. Mexicans eat different foods than the average American family does. While we all love Mexican food once in a while, Americans don’t eat rice, beans and tortillas with every meal.

Actually, the cultural differences we have are hidden strengths. If our society ever grows up to the point where we can accept differences, without either discriminating against people who are different, trying to force them to change, or hearing liberals scream “racist” every time we notice a difference, we might be able to take advantages of those differences. I’ve done this in my own life, learning about hospitality from Mexicans, who are much better at it than we white folk are.

In my opinion, I’m inter-racial enough. One of my daughters is married to a man of Mexican descent and another is all but engaged to another man of Mexican descent. Both are great young men and I’m glad to have them as part of the family (even though one isn’t officially part yet). We spent Thanksgiving with that one’s parents, and had a wonderful time with them.

Yet, to the real racists, the fact that I’m a white American male makes me automatically a racist.

It doesn’t matter what I say and do, I’m still a racist… at least in their eyes.

But is that actually true? In my opinion, for what it’s worth, no. There is some lingering racism in this country, as well as some discrimination. We still have our Archie Bunkers, although they have become much rarer than they used to be. To say any group of people is automatically racist, just for existing, is as racist as saying that some other group is a lower category of being, just because of their skin color. It is separating people by race and declaring that one is better than the other, simply because of their race. Bull-pucky!

I was a small child when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech. That was a great moment in American history and one that needed to happen. Unlike the current crop of race-baiters who pretend to lead the black community, King was a man of God, who believed in true equality. He has done more for racial equality and human rights than probably any other single person who has lived in the last century. There were others; but in my opinion, he stands head and shoulders above them.

As I look around from the outside, I see that minorities, especially blacks, have made great strides in the last 50 years. We have Afro-Americans in every field and profession, all the way up to the presidency. Yet to those who are determined to maintain anger against real or imagined white supremacy, it’s as if not one step forward has been made.

Is there more to be done? Absolutely! Blacks and Hispanics still make up a disappropriate part of our prison population, if you look only at demographic data. However, that’s not racism or even discrimination, nor is it because whites get some sort of free ride in the court system; that’s because there’s a higher percentage of young men of those two cultures who practice crime as a profession and hobby, than there are whites.

Where Is This Coming From?

The question must be asked, “Why are there more Blacks and Hispanics in the prisons, than there are whites? Why are there more young men from these ethnic backgrounds who turn to crime, than there are amongst whites?” The answer can be found in a combination of poverty and culture. Poverty, because many of those who end up in prison come from financially disadvantaged areas and culture, because those who live in those areas ridicule anyone who tries to do well in school and give themselves a chance to get ahead.

So, it’s not the white man who’s holding down these other ethnic groups and forcing them into a life of crime, but their friends and neighbors. The same friends and neighbors who are screaming about how much the white man is a racist and how much the white man is discriminating against them.

Of course, when you start with the presumption that whites are racist, then it’s easy to blame them for everything. That’s a whole lot easier than facing the reality of your friends, neighbors and ethnic group. Facing the fact that you and those around you are responsible for your problems means that you might have to change something in your life. It’s much easier to accept the role of victim and say that it’s someone else’s fault.

The whole thing of white privilege is another way of blaming others for your faults. Do the vast majority of blacks and Hispanics have a harder time making it ahead in life? Absolutely! But that’s not due to white privilege, unless you can say that not growing up in a neighborhood that ridicules those who try and get ahead is a privilege. If that’s the case, I plead guilty, even though I was poor as a child, as well as living through periods of poverty as an adult. At least my fellow students didn’t humiliate me for studying.

But, once again, crying “white privilege” is another way of pawning one’s own responsibility off on others. If one can convince themselves that whites get those privileges, they can go right back to that victimization game, denying that they have any responsibility for their own lives.

Where I live, the population is 87% Hispanic, basically first through third generation Mexicans. Many of them are poor, as the county I live in is one of the poorest in Texas. Between the combination of poverty and race, any young man or young woman of Mexican descent who graduates high school can get a full, free-ride scholarship at the local university, pretty much regardless of their grades. Yet, a full 75% of them drop out of college their first semester. That’s tragic in my eyes.

My kids didn’t have that advantage. Because they are white, they had to work their way through college, depending on their hard work and student loans to get them through. Yes, they did get some government aid, because we were poor. But because of the color of their skin, their “advantage” was that they couldn’t get as much aid as others. Tell me, who’s being discriminated against here?

But I’m not bitter about what happened to my children, nor are they. We realize that getting ahead in life requires hard work and sacrifice. I’ve done that and so have they. So today, even though we live in an area where we are the minority, they are all successful. Is that really white privilege?

Racism is ugly. It doesn’t matter if it’s whites against blacks, blacks against whites, or blacks against other blacks; it’s ugly. As far as I’m concerned, it shouldn’t have any place in society. But screaming “Racism!” all the time isn’t the answer. That isn’t going to get rid of anything. All it’s going to do and all it has done is to widen the divide that exists between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

There is only one race, that’s the human race. I don’t care if you are black, white, green, purple or blue, you are part of that race. You may come from a different ethnic background than I do, but on the inside, you’re still red. We all have the same blood flowing through our bodies.

We all have the same organs in the same places. We are all humans alike, part of this great global family. When we all finally realize that, maybe we can stop pointing fingers and screaming and start helping each other out.

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Oregano Oil ~ Antibiotic Substitute

 When we are talking about Oregano Oil we are not talking about the kitchen type oregano. The true Oregano to use is Origanum Compactum.

Here are some recipes to use for a natural antibiotic.

Recipe #1

10 drops of lemon essential oil

8 drops of mountain savory

3 drops of Oregano oil

Put into “00” Empty Gelatin Capsules and take 2 capsules 1 time a day

Recipe #2

4 drops of Oregano oil

2 drops of frankincense

12 drops of thieves ( proprietary blend)

Put into “00” Empty Gelatin Capsules and take 1 3 times a day

Recipe #3

5 drops of oregano oil

5  drops of thieves ( proprietary blend)

Put into “00” Empty Gelatin Capsules and fill the remainder of the capsule with peppermint oil. Take this with food , 2 times a day.

I am not a doctor and you need to seek medical council before trying something like this, but they are all natural and I have found that they work very well. I do not like the idea of going to a dr and them giving out antibiotics for every single thing! Not good at all. They give  out antibiotics a lot of times for stuff that doesn’t even need antibiotics.

Winter is Coming: Here’s Your Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

“Still … in this world only winter is certain.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)

If you happen to be a Game of Thrones fan, you know the Stark Family motto: “Winter is coming.”  It’s inevitable and sometimes dangerous. According to all predictions, this winter will be a repeat of last year, or perhaps even worse.  Most of the country can expect extreme cold, an abundance of snow, and a longer-than-normal winter. It may be early in the season, but that first storm of the year can sneak up on you. Now is the time to double check your preparations and be certain that you are ready for anything, well before the first snowflake falls.

Many of us spend far more of our waking hours away from home, busy with work, school, or chauffeuring our kids to their various activities. Because of this, a vehicle emergency kit is vital. In recent winters, there were two notable situations during which a well-stocked kit would have been beneficial. During one scenario, a freak snowstorm struck the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Because weather like this is such a rarity, the area was completely unprepared, officials didn’t have the experience or equipment needed to deal with it, and traffic gridlocked almost immediately. Hundreds of people were stranded as the freeway turned into a scene reminiscent of The Walking Dead, with bumper-to-bumper vehicles at a standstill.  Those without food and water in their vehicles went hungry, and many people ran out of gas as they tried to keep warm. No matter how comfortable you are with winter driving, in a situation like this, you are at the mercy of others who may not be so experienced.

The take-home preparedness point here is that it doesn’t matter how great of a driver you are in the snow, whether or not you have moved to the tropics from your winter chalet in Antarctica, or whether you have huge knobby tires and 4WD.  Over-confidence in your own ability can cause people to forget about the lack of skills that other folks have. Many times, people end up in a crisis situation through no fault of their own and are at the mercy of other people who have no idea what they are doing. (source)

The next situation had a lot more potential for a tragic ending, had it not been for the survival skills of a father of 4 small children.  A family of six had taken off for a day of snowy adventure, when their Jeep flipped over in a remote part of the Seven Troughs mountain range in Northwestern Nevada. James Glanton, a miner and experienced hunter, kept his family alive and unscathed for two days in the frigid wilderness using only the items from his vehicle and the environment. Due to his survival skills and the things he had on hand, none of the family members so much as suffered frostbite while awaiting rescue. You can learn more about the hero dad’s resourcefulness HERE.

Before adding any preps to your vehicle, make sure that it is well maintained, because not having a breakdown in the first place is a better plan than surviving the breakdown. Change your oil as recommended, keep your fluids topped up,  and keep your tires in good condition, replacing them when needed.  As well, particularly when poor weather is imminent, be sure to keep your fuel level above the halfway point. If you happen to get stranded, being able to run your vehicle for increments of time will help keep you warm. Build a relationship with a mechanic you can trust, and pre-empt issues before they become vehicle failures at the worst possible time.

What’s in my vehicle emergency kit?

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, so now is the time to put together a kit that can see you through a variety of situations. I drive an SUV, and I keep the following gear in the back at all times. You can modify this list for your amount of space, your environment, the seasons, and your particular skill set.  Some people who are adept at living off the land may scale this down, while other people may feel it isn’t enough.  I make small modifications between my cold weather kit and my warm weather kit, but the basics remain the same. While you should have the supplies available to set off on foot, in many cases, the safer course of action is to stay with your vehicle and wait for assistance.

Some people feel that having a cell phone means they can just call for assistance. While this is a great plan, and you should have a communications device, it should never be your only plan. What if there is no signal in your area or if cell service has been interrupted?  What if you simply forgot to charge your phone? In any scenario, calling for help should never be your only plan. You should always be prepared to save yourself.


I drive a small SUV, and I manage to fit a substantial amount of gear in it, still leaving plenty of room for occupants. The tub on the right hand side just has a couple of things in the bottom and serves two purposes. It keeps the other tubs from sliding around, and it contains shopping bags after a trip to the grocery store. You can also place purchases on top of the other containers if necessary. I have two 18 gallon totes and a smaller 10 gallon tote, with individual components in small containers within them.




First Aid

first aid

I use old Altoids containers for small items like band-aids and alcohol wipes. They stand up far better than the flimsy cardboard boxes those items come in.  (Also, that means we get to have Altoids.)

altoids tin


The police flashlight is also a taser.

Individual Kits

individual kit It’s sort of hard to see but in the photo above, the container is a stocking hat for warmth and a waterproof hat that will also provide some sun protection.  Inside the container are two pairs of socks, a rain poncho, a Berkey sport bottle (it can purify up to 100 gallons of water), and a space blanket. Each of these is topped off with a hoodie in warmer weather. In the winter, gloves and scarves replace the hoodie.


shelter Obviously, THIS is not the Taj Mahal of tents. But it fits easily into a backpack and would be sufficient for day-to-day emergencies in warmer weather.  In the winter, and anytime we are going further from home, we have a bigger sturdier tent that we put in the vehicle. This would be used in the event that we were stranded but for some reason, unable to use the vehicle for shelter. Generally speaking, your vehicle will provide better shelter and safety than a tent.

Emergency Kit

All of the above mini-kits go into one big 18-gallon tote.

Emergency kit

Also included are a few different types of rope, a compass, a road atlas (I like the kind that are spiral-bound), WD-40, duct tape, and a 4 pack of toilet paper. There is room for 2 warm blankets folded on top.


I use a separate smaller container for food and hygiene items.


Our food kit contains graham crackers with peanut butter, pop-top cans of soup, pop-top cans of fruit, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, garbage bags, spoons, forks, a survival guide, and plastic dishes.  Not shown: ziplock bags of dog food in single servings.

portable dog bowls

These collapsible pet dishes are lightweight additions for a backpack. In a pinch, they could be used for human food also.


The second large tote in the back is a lot fuller in the winter. I leave it back there year-round because it keeps the other container from sliding around and it makes a good container for shopping bags and small items that I am transporting. In the winter, I have a pair of heavy, snow and moisture resistant winter boots for each passenger, snow pants, and winter coats. Since the coats and snow pants are squishy, we can still put grocery bags and parcels on top of them.



  • Not shown: My vehicle has space beneath the back seats, where we store tightly rolled sleeping bags. If I didn’t have this space, I’d be able to put them in the tote that holds the shoes.
  • Because of extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, the food should be rotated out of the vehicle every couple of months so that you always have fresh food available.
  • In cold weather, your water bottles should have about 2 inches of the water removed to allow room for expansion when the contents freeze.
  • Always have a backpack for each family member.  If you are forced by circumstances to leave your vehicle on foot, you want to be able to carry as much of your gear as possible.
  • Depending on the laws in your state (and your interest in complying with them) weapons and ammunition can be very useful additions to your vehicle kit.
  • Your kit should change with the seasons.  Snow pants won’t do you much good in the heat of summer, but extra water will be invaluable.
  • When taking a longer trip, add more food and water to your kit than you might normally keep in it.
  • Don’t forget about communications: you can summon help with a cell phone or a two-way radio.

Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist

Not every person needs every item on this list.  Pick and choose the items that are important given your family situation, your environment, and your most-likely disaster scenarios. No list can be comprehensive for every person, but this one has served us well.

Do you have any other supplies to add to the list? Have you ever needed to use your vehicle emergency kit?

Other Resources:

Packing Survival Junk in Your Trunk

15 Items That Should Be in Your Vehicle During the Winter

Be Ready with Vehicle 72 Hour Kits

What do you need in your car survival kit?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: Winter is Coming: Here’s Your Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, How To Prepare, Prepping

SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

By Tess Pennington – Ready Nutrition

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

– Charles Darwin

In a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.

Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.

As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.

7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive

  1. Gravity fed water filter – Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
  2. Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
  3. Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmill to make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
  4. Stationary bikes – Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
  5. Passive solar heater – We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4’s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
  6. Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
  7. Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


Filed under: Prepping

Blanching Vegetables for Long-term Storage

Being able to store vegetables for a long period of time will provide you with a diverse diet and it will save your from eating the same food over and over again. Blanching vegetables is a skill easy to master and everyone can do it. Blanching is a cooking process wherein the foods (usually vegetables … Read more…

The post Blanching Vegetables for Long-term Storage appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

NASA-Funded Study: Over 32 Advanced Civilizations Have Collapsed Before Us, And We’re Next In Line


NASA study

By Natural News Editors – Natural News

(NaturalNews) As any long-time reader of this column knows, we routinely draw from historical lessons to highlight that this time is not different. (Story by Simon Black, republished from SovereignMan.com)

Throughout the 18th century, for example, France was the greatest superpower in Europe, if not the world.

But they became complacent, believing that they had some sort of ‘divine right’ to reign supreme, and that they could be as fiscally irresponsible as they liked.

The French government spent money like drunken sailors; they had substantial welfare programs, free hospitals, and grand monuments.

They held vast territories overseas, engaged in constant warfare, and even had their own intrusive intelligence service that spied on King and subject alike.

Of course, they couldn’t pay for any of this.

Continue reading at Natural News: NASA-Funded Study: Over 32 Advanced Civilizations Have Collapsed Before Us, And We’re Next In Line

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Whatever Your Opinion

Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

Bored - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse Blog

Once upon a time, “Black Friday” was a major event in the United States.  Yes, the mainstream media is still endlessly hyping it up, and major retailers are still rolling out their “incredible deals”, but it appears that most Americans are tiring of this particular gimmick.  Or perhaps it is just that U.S. consumers don’t have as much discretionary income as they once did.  As you will see below, retail traffic this Black Friday was “much, much slower” than anticipated.  And expectations were not great anyway – the number of shoppers was down last year, and it was being projected that there would be another decline in 2015.  Yes, there were still a few fights on Black Friday, but mostly the “holiday” was marked by giant piles of unsold merchandise sitting around collecting dust.  The inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has surged to levels not seen since the last recession, and so the truth is that most retailers were hoping for much more contrived chaos on Black Friday than we actually witnessed.

Personally, I wish that this whole phenomenon would just simply disappear, because it definitely doesn’t bring out the best in the American people.

Who wants to see fellow citizens trampling one another and fighting with one another for cheaply made electronics that aren’t even manufactured in this country anyway?

Black Friday was always a disgusting spectacle, and now it appear to be fading.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving sales.  More stores than ever are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, and according to SunTrust that was a total “bust” this year…

Continue reading at The Economic Collapse Blog: Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

Filed under: Economy, News/ Current Events

Series of Storms to Slam Pacific Northwest US This Week

By Renee Duff – AccuWeather

December will begin with a roar across the Northwest as rounds of rain, mountain snow and even ice are in store this week.

Rounds of storms are poised to impact Washington, Oregon and California with rain beginning on Monday and continuing off and on through Friday.

Snow and ice are also possible across central portions of Washington and Oregon during the middle part of the week.

This stormy pattern follows a week-long dry stretch for much of the area.

On Monday, the first of three storms will work its way into the coast, bringing light rain from Seattle to Redding, California.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Series of Storms to Slam Pacific Northwest US This Week

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Volcanoes Today, 30 Nov 2015: Batu Tara Volcano, Telica, Copahue


Batu Tara volcano sat by (c) Google Earth View

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): We just returned from a 3-days expedition to the island during 23-26 Nov: the volcano’s activity was overall at similar levels as during the previous visits between 2012-June this year, but highly variable from day to day:
Phases lasting several hours, or even few days, with mild, ash-rich strombolian eruptions at intervals between 10-30 minutes alternated / were interrupted by much more powerful vulcanian-type explosions that produced shock waves and ejected dense columns of tephra (ash, blocks and incandescent lava bombs) in a single, cannon-shot like explosion. They sent ballistics to several hundred meters of height all over the upper half of the volcano. During the first two observation days, these explosions occurred at intervals between 3-10 hours, but became the dominant type of activity during the last 24 hours of our stay, when they occurred at shorter intervals of 1-2 hours typically.
Ash plumes from some of these explosions rose more than 1 km from the crater.

Telica (Nicaragua): After its powerful explosion on 22 Nov, the volcano has mainly been calm, but weaker, sporadic ash emissions resumed during the past days.
It is still thought that the recent activity is only caused by over-pressurized fluids in the upper conduit, and doesn’t involve new magma, but comparing with the past episodes of explosive activity in May and September this year, it is almost likely that new, potentially strong and very dangerous explosions (in particular if you climb the volcano) could follow in the near future with no or little warning.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): Small to moderately strong ash emissions and explosions have been near continuous during the past days, creating steam/ash plumes that rise up to approx. 1 km. Overall, the volcano’s activity seems to be gradually increasing.
A larger landslide occurred yesterday from the eastern flank (see comparison image, observed and submitted by reader Lynne Gulley).

Continue reading at Volcano Discovery: Volcanoes Today, 30 Nov 2015: Batu Tara Volcano, Telica, Copahue

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Volcanic Activity

What Most Likely Will Happen When the SHTF

What will happen when shtf

You know people have their priorities mixed up when they buy a tent for the first time to sleep in it in front of an electronics store so they can be the first in the door to fight over a big screen TV. To buy a tent, because they may need to survive in it during a crisis never crossed their minds. They after all, have their priorities.

You know the world has turned upside down when people punch each other, and beat each other over the head with chairs, shoot each other, and then trample to death the weaker ones as they stampede toward the retailer’s doors on Black Friday, on Black Eye Friday.

Everyone wants to be the first inside the store, because their world will end if they cannot get that Crockpot, or that TV or that doll or shoes that every little girl has to have, otherwise, they will be ridiculed by the other kids in their kindergarten class.

Fights over a steam cooker, dying over a pair of sneakers, and a physical assault over a place in line, sounds like the SHTF, but no, it’s just Black Eye Friday.

Makes one wonder what will happen when there is a real calamity. A real calamity when there is no food on the shelves, when the only water available is in stagnate oil slick puddles in the streets. When the snow falls, and collects in drifts against abandoned buildings, leaving the sidewalks impassable, where garbage is piled ten feet high along the street, where bodies lay stiff from rigor mortis and the cold.

Where will the campers be that spent more on a tent and food for their camping adventure than they saved on that big screen with HD surround sound? Where will you be?

You might have some idea of how it would be if you have ever visited a third world country. A country where children play near fields dotted with land mines. Where filthy water is dipped from brown puddles called wells in the public square, and where the public latrine is a tarp flapping over a trench dug in the ground just feet from the well.

Where men in uniforms or sometimes not in uniform jump out of their jeeps and trucks, with cheap cigarettes dangling from their lips. With machetes in hand and rifles at the ready they begin stabbing bags of wheat, flour and rice in every hovel they enter with their bayonets, and dump over the only cooking oil the village has seen in weeks. The soldiers are looking for insurgents, malcontents, young girls, or boys or they are simply bored.

The young children hear a scream, a thump, the cracking of bone, and they turn away as someone is dragged to one of the trucks and dumped in the back. Interrogation the soldiers shout, and the implication is you may be next. The next time they come through the village, you had better stare at the ground, or hide, or have gifts ready. Be ready to give up your dignity, your possessions, your children, or your life.

The military in many countries runs the country, and their charter, their missions if you will, is not to protect the citizens from invading armies. Their mission is not to go to foreign lands to fight evil, so evil can’t come to their shores, no their mission is to sustain their power in their own country, so they can be self sustaining without ever fighting for their way of life, for what is right. They sustain themselves off the backs of their citizens, who have nothing to begin with, so in essence they have nothing to lose, and yet the soldiers’ come back for more and more and it is never enough.

Back Home in the United States

You can find articles on the Internet that state that within a short period after the grid goes down millions will die. The authors make a good case, but we, and most of the authors, simply do not know, because no one has lived through a sustained grid down scenario. It is all speculation, but we can assume certain things based on past events.

We can assume, based on what we see every year on Black Friday. People have their priorities wrong, and it may catch up with them sooner rather than later. We can assume by what we see in other countries as well.

Regardless of how prepared you are it will be a shock. The change from one day to the next will be catastrophic in and of itself. It will take days for some people to even come to the realization that the world has changed, and not for the better. Some will stare wide eyed and slack jawed in disbelief unable to comprehend, waiting on someone, somewhere to tell them what has happened and what to do. The shock will take days to wear off, and for some it may never wear off.

Many of your worldly possessions are now gone or rendered useless. Electronics like big screen TV’s are just so much clutter underfoot. It will take time to get used to the silence, no hum of air conditioners, no rush of heat from the vents, no blaring TV’s, no sounds of motor vehicles, no ringing of phones, and no more music playing in the background.

You will now know what darkness is really like, you thought you knew before, but you didn’t. Now you can’t see your hand in front of your eyes, it’s so dark it feels like a blanket, so dark you are not sure which way is up.

Those prepared will obviously fare better than those unprepared will, but supplies will run out, so as soon as you realize the SHTF, you have to plan for the next phase. All the plans for bugging out for greener pastures are forgotten.

You realize now that the extent of the disaster is more than you expected, and yet how could you have known, because it has never happened before. There was not any history to research, no lessons from past disasters. It’s a new world, and history is now being made. Your plans seem silly, and ever so inadequate.

Thousands dead in your own community in just a matter of days, and that is just the beginning. They died because their oxygen machines and the dialysis machines in hospitals stopped working. The ones brought into emergency rooms with chest pains died on gurneys in the halls. Those in operating rooms died in place, and more still yet waiting to die, because the electricity stopped.

People will die, because they could not get their medications, their insulin was depleted, and the pharmacies were ransacked and then shuttered, and because most of the doctors have been commandeered by the government, for the greater good according to the government’s philosophy. Some may even decide a crisis is a good time to settle old scores, and a few more will die at the hands of others, as revenge rears its ugly head. Never let a crisis go to waste.

You are cold, but you still refuse to light the small propane stove, because you know it will get colder, so you conserve, and suffer the cold knowing you haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Just maybe when the worst is upon you, then you will use some of your precious propane.

You sit in the dark, because candles, batteries, and lantern fuel are a commodity that can be traded for medicines or even for clothing, tools, and a game for your child. You sit in the dark because you know the worst is yet to come, so you conserve what you have.

The only motor vehicles allowed on the road are government ones and those with governmental connections. You dread the sound of the engines, and yet you dread even more the engines going quite in front of your house.

The stomp of boots, the bang on the door and the shouts, the demands you offer up some supplies, for the greater good and all that, but you know anything you give up will only end up on the black-market. The government shills are already hawking precious wares, supplies taken by force from the citizens and then sold back to them, for the greater good of course.

The first week will be the worst. It will take that long for the stores to be ransacked, for the weakest among us to die. It will take that long for the local authorities to establish order with limited resources. The federal government has gone into self-preservation mode, and it will take weeks if not months for them to emerge from their bunkers and safe havens to declare a crisis is upon the land. Police officers and other first responders in local communities will be looking to their own families, so your family’s safety is not a priority.

It will take several months for the strong ones to emerge and try to lead. Small groups will form villages, others with skills will begin to offer them up, and those alive realize what it really means to be alive in the new world. You will see some semblance of order emerge, and it will be a natural progression, no one demanded it or protested for it. It happens naturally because after all we are human.

Certain people will begin to think about what it will take to feed and house those in the village. Tasks will be assigned based on skill. Farmers, will farm and carpenters will build and leaders will lead. Doctors will treat the sick and others will cook, sew, and tend to the old and the weakest in the group. No one demanded this. No one held up signs and protested for it. It is natural, and life begins anew, in the new world.

Society will change and yet will remain the same. At first everyone is equal, but soon society will break into classes. There will be those that have more, because they prepared, and have more skills and ambition, and then there will be those that help those in need by giving some of what they have, and then you will have those that cannot get all of what they need or want, and thus, will demand things from those that have more.

The post What Most Likely Will Happen When the SHTF appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Using Leaves in the Wild

Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

Sometimes the solution is right in front of us all along.  Today’s post might save your life–certainly, it might make things easier on a camping, hunting, or hiking trip. If you find yourself on the side of the road with a long walk to the gas station–there is a use for leaves to help you…

Continue reading

The post Using Leaves in the Wild appeared first on Pantry Paratus.

Prepping for FREE – Tips to Get Started Without Spending a Fortune

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

4.5/5 (2) Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from JustUS. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today. When I first heard of this prepper writing contest, I knew […]

The post Prepping for FREE – Tips to Get Started Without Spending a Fortune appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Six Steps for Protecting Your Home from Snow

As your family prepares for the upcoming winter season, you might be excited about the prospect of the first snows. The cold white flakes can be a beautiful sight, and a promise of the holidays and activities to come. Although snow provides an opportunity to spend more time in front of a warm fireplace, it can pose hazards to your home. Snow storms can damage your home’s roof, gutters, and siding in extreme conditions. Here are a six tips to help you protect your home from harsh snow this winter.

Wrap Your Pipes

During the winter season, pipes have the tendency to freeze. When this happens, there can be serious financial consequences since frozen pipes can burst and cause significant water damage. Protect your pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulated wrap. Another thing you can do is to keep water flowing through them. If you know you won’t be using that downstairs bathroom much, consider wrapping those pipes or cutting off the water supply temporarily.

Remove Snow from Your Roof

Depending on the condition of your roof, accumulated snow can cause damage over time. The heavy snow can burden struts if the roof isn’t slanted and allows for melting. If you notice a large amount of snow on your roof, call a company for help with removal.

Purchase New Windows

Most windows have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. If you have older windows, protect your home from snow damage by installing new ones when possible. This will be an airtight solution to keep winter snow and drafts from coming into your home and zapping the heat you try to keep inside. Companies like Gilkey Windows can often help install new ones on many different window frame types.

Seal Cracks and Holes

Homes that have cracks and holes in the walls or floors have the potential to be damaged by snow, not to mention bothered by pests. The water from melted snow often leaks through these holes and can cause structural damage. Protect your home by sealing all cracks and holes.

Check Your Windows

The frozen icicles that form on the window can provide the setting for a perfect winter portrait. However, icicles can accumulate quickly and become large and heavy. Make sure you knock down big icicles when you can, and if they aren’t melting fast enough.

Secure Roof Shingles

Winter preparation begins months before the first snowfall. If you have shingles that are loose, call for repairs as soon as possible. Make sure everything is secured and ready for the first storms.

If you follow these tips, you and your family can enjoy the snow without any problems this year.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

We Are Family…

     As I sit here contemplating what I have discerned during my brief time away from this blog, I would say it is this…. That I have realized just how important it is to never lose my focus on loving people and God.  As I reread those words, I know they sound overused and appear to lack originality or a fresh perspective, but let me elaborate.
      For the last four years I have dedicated each day to being alert and aware of what is happening on the world stage, because like all of you, I see what a scary place it is becoming.  I have felt a calling to try to bring both clarity to what I see, and a reassurance that God is still Sovereign and in control.  I have tried to look at events and situations through a Biblical lens to try to understand the implications for our spiritual lives and how we are to glorify our Lord.
      But for the last 5 or 6 days, I have intentionally shifted my focus away from the world and centered it on individual people.  I refused to let the mounting tensions of terrorism, racial division, government corruption, or any of the other news stories that permeate our everyday existence interfere with connecting with the people in my life.

     I was aware that all the disorder and mayhem was still swirling out in the world, and could not escape references to Russia, Syria, Planned Parenthood, gun control, and tension in Chicago, but I refused to let it permeate my sphere.  In effect, I took a mental and emotional break, and I found that concentrating on Jesus’s two great foundational commandments — loving the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind; and loving others before myself — transported my soul to a place that transcended all the world chaos.  And what peace and rest I found!
     Instead of having one eye on family and one on world events, I was able to immerse myself into deeper engagements with people — not news headlines, not current events blogs, and not the actions of those who would destroy my country or way of life.  It was a time of real connection with neighbors, individual family members, and my husband.  And it was all independent of how the world was effecting us.  It was deep conversations about goals; it was sharing intimate moments and memories; it was engaging in activities for the sheer fun of it, and most importantly it was about exploring our God and discovering new insights for both old Believers and new Christians.  I think I was experiencing real thankfulness and the true human experience.

     And in the midst of it, I received such blessings and saw God at work!  I watched Him work through the people we chose to surround ourselves with; both those related by flesh and blood and those linked through the blood of Jesus.  Friends who are going through some changes in their personal life were invited to join in our Thanksgiving celebration, as were friends who have become like family.  And the greatest blessing of all for me was the presence of my cousin’s son, who spent the entire weekend with us.  I have just recently “found” him, so to speak.  His mother and I were part of a close family growing up.  We both grew up in Illinois and then I went off to college in Texas.  The last time I saw her was at my wedding nearly 29 years ago, and before she moved to California after her own college graduation.  Needless to say, life then got in the way, and our paths just never seemed to cross.
     Then out of the blue, she calls me in September and says her son is going to school here in Texas on a football scholarship.  Naturally, I was more than excited to reconnect with her and get to know her son.  When I saw her walk through that door, it was like all the years melted away, and I have since been so sad at all the wasted time.  Her son said he was glad to know he had family in Texas and it was a foregone conclusion that he would spend his Thanksgiving break with us.  Needless to say, I know that God does things in His own timing, and I am now convinced that our reunion was a Divine Appointment!  My husband and I spent the weekend getting to really know him; laughing together; relating family history; and best of all, many long conversations about our shared faith.
     I have been given so much hope that God is still at work in our youth and our nation.  His inquisitive mind is asking all the right questions about God and about the purpose for his life in these times; about the bigger concepts of God that he has not heard in the Church; his knowledge that God is a God of not only Love, Grace, and Mercy, but of Justice and Judgment; and yes, even questions about the relationship of the fallen angels, the Nephilim, and the space aliens that his generation is so interested in.  At 21, he is light years beyond what my understanding was at that age and wants more knowledge about the God Most High.  He is an exceptional young man and I’m looking forward to having him in our lives.
     So, as I reflect back over the weekend and my “time off”, I am not only grateful for the rest and respite, but so thankful for the opportunity God gave my spirit to revel in the renewed connections with my family and friends.  And I want to extend that concept of family, because it not only included those in my physical presence, but those of you who take the time to connect with me through this blog.  Because you are family, too.  I really know what the term “the family of man” means now, and I am so appreciative to God for allowing me to see where my priorities lie.
     I needed these few days off.  I am refreshed and revived and full of hope.  Yes, I will continue to engage in our conversations about what is going on in the world…  in effect, we need to because, after all, we cannot ignore the plans, lies and deceit perpetrated by the Enemy.  But I have a greater sense of our purpose, and how we are to live our lives to glorify our God.  I hope to maintain this new sense of optimism, even as I know I must immerse myself back into dissecting the world and its ramifications for God’s kingdom.  I will continue to look at the ugliness with which Satan is infusing the world, and I will persist in revealing how I think God wants us to take our stand.  But, at this very moment, I am at peace in my spirit and I know this is where Jesus wants me.  So, we will move forward together, knowing that the presence of God is ever before us.  We will be grateful for each day He gives us, showing His love toward others and appreciating the Divine favor He shows us.  The giving of thanks …. that is what it was all about, and I don’t want to ever lose sight of that.

Psalm 26:3    “For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.”

This Woman Puts Dollar Store Christmas Balls On A Hanger & Makes The Most Amazing Holiday Decoration

Wire Coat Hanger Wreath

There are so many DIY wreath’s floating around the never ending internet, it can make choosing a project really tough!

This one in particular, has to be one of our ultimate favorites! The materials needed are super easy to get hold of and cost next to nothing! One of the best things about this craft is that you can decide to make it one afternoon and have it hanging proudly on your porch in under 30 minutes!

The finished wreath is bright, colorful and will make any area of your home fantastically festive!

Materials needed:

  • Old Wire Coat Hanger
  • Dollar Store Christmas Baubles
  • A Piece Of Ribbon

Watch The Full Tutorial Below:


Want more DIY Christmas ideas? Then check out some of these fantastic projects…

The Five D’s You Need To Know To Be Self-Reliant

I talk about the 5 D’s of being self-reliant today. We all tend to think difficult things will happen to someone else rather than us. Life seems to be full of a variety of challenges. I’ve been thinking about some situations with family and friends that remind me that life is fragile and uncertain. If you think about it, there are at least five events that the majority of life’s troubles fall under; disaster, disability, disease, divorce and death. I’m sure you can think of some others, but I think most life changing events could fall under one of these categories. Some of these events we bring on ourselves because of our individual lifestyle or risk taking activities, but many came at us with no warning and due to no fault or input on our part. I’d like to outline some situations I’m personally familiar with to help illustrate why each one of us needs to be prepared for the unexpected, but also to remind us that some activities or life decisions can have consequences that are difficult to deal with and/or overcome.

The Five D’s To Be Self-Reliant:

Disaster: We have some friends who moved to South Carolina some time ago. We were concerned about them when we saw the significant flooding that took place in that state recently. When we contacted them they informed us that their home was safe from the flooding, but a large area and thousands of homes and businesses were dark due to the floods knocking down power poles and submerging power sub-stations. They were having to deal with cool weather without a furnace, a dark house with no TV, internet, limited ability to communicate with the outside world, no way to cook meals on their electric stove, etc. They had no idea how long the power was going to be out and communication was limited to cell service, as long as they could charge their phones. A similar situation happened this month in Spoken, Washington due to extremely high winds that brought power lines down when trees were uprooted. Over a 100,000 people were without power for a number of days.

Suggestions to be self-reliant: Families would be wise to store extra food and water, have blankets and layered clothing to stay warm, have alternate cooking options like BBQ’s, SunOvens, butane stoves, etc. with several containers of fuel and backup lighting sources like multiple flashlights, solar powered lights, lanterns, extra candles, and more.

Disability: A few years ago a good friend severely damaged his back when he fell down some stairs when helping a family member move some furniture. Several surgeries and rehabs later he is still suffering from pain and some immobility. He has been unable to work full time periodically as he deals with the medical procedures and the time it takes to heal sufficiently to resume some semblance of “normal” activity. Thank goodness he has good insurance, a loving spouse, and other family members who can manage the household duties while providing caregiver support. He is also blessed with a supportive employer who is willing to work around his visits to doctors and the time needed to get necessary rest. Even with these advantages this situation has put pressure on family finances and affected the peace of mind for all concerned. He is well on his way to recovery and thank goodness he can still work.

My brother-in-law was hurt in an accident when he was about 46 years old during a fun day’s outing many years ago which caused him to spend years as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. This unexpected accident caused him to give up his vocation, prompted years of caregiving by loving family members, and the related health and medical issues eventually caused his death.

Suggestions to be self-reliant: Although we all want to provide service and help to those around us, we need to take extra caution when activities can prompt undue risk to life and limb. Situations like these are a good reminder to check up on our health insurance, sick leave, savings for a “rainy day” and other resources that take pre-planning and possibly some sacrifices to purchase and put in place.

Disease: My husband likes to read the newspaper every day as he tries to stay well informed about local, national and world events. While reading, he also checks out the daily obituaries thinking he may notice the name of someone he knows. He often comments about how many of the people who have passed away died as a result of cancer. I marvel that with all the resources available the world still struggles with this terrible disease. Cancer takes many different forms with diverse consequences. Today I look like someone with leprosy due to a recent visit to the dermatologist to get some “pre-cancers” treated with liquid nitrogen. I wish all cancers could be treated so easily. I’ve had two sisters-in-law who have had cancer. Both tried to live healthy lives with proper eating habits and efforts to shy away from things that we’ve been told can possibly cause cancer. Of course, there are many other diseases that can affect your quality of life, family finances and the ability to do everyday things, many that aren’t life threatening. We also recognize that many of us get diseases without knowing the how, let alone the why. The best we can do is try to minimize the risk of contagion.

Suggestions to be self-reliant: Always wash your hands often, stay clear of individuals who are sick, stay indoors and take care of yourself when you get sick, eat healthy, try to get some exercise every day if current health permits, get regular check ups as suggested by your doctor or other health advisors, keep your health insurance premiums paid timely, consider cancer insurance, protect yourself from prolonged exposure to the sun, if you are using prescription drugs be sure to take the dosages as directed, have some money set aside in case you find yourself unable to work for an extended period, have your kids get suggested shots, and don’t forget to have your booster shots when timely. Of course, please do your own research if you decide to have your children or yourself vaccinated. This is not a post to suggest my opinion for or against them. Let me leave it at that.

Divorce: I’m sure we all know people who have gone through the challenges of divorce. Divorce is difficult for all concerned, even in the best of circumstances. When we go through the joys of dating, get married, and in some cases have children, none of us picture the marriage coming to an end through divorce. Certainly there are situations when divorce is the best course of action, but the scars and new challenges it brings may have life changing influences on the spouses and children. The emotional damage from the legal steps, separation, and sharing of child rearing can be daunting. Of significant consideration are the stresses that come from the new financial conditions most couples find themselves. Now there are two places to live with the related costs of rent or house payments, utilities, upkeep and more. Generally support from one spouse to the other doesn’t cover all monthly expenses, prompting both spouses to find work, often when one didn’t work prior to the divorce. It may be that both spouses got a significant education, training, and work experience prior to marriage, but all too often that isn’t the case as the new couple desires to not only get married but also are anxious to start a family. Blended families can sometimes bring on additional challenges. I have seen amicable divorces work very well.

Let me say one thing here, my parents were divorced when I was 7 or 8 years old and I have risen above and beyond any challenges a divorce would bring.

Suggestions to be self-reliant: Prepare for marriage by getting some advanced education or vocational training. As with the other topics above, being self-reliant means being able to care of yourself during the different phases of life. Career training adds that important aspect of being able to earn sufficient funds to cover life’s expenses. Waiting for a while and dating for an extended period also can provide the time necessary to really know each other and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship. Couples should also set aside funds for savings every month, not with the intention of paying for the divorce and its aftermath, but as a means of additional financial security for any unexpected situation that may come along. That also goes for setting aside funds for your children’s future school plans, whether college or vocational school. Consider approaching your in-laws and suggesting they contribute to a tax beneficial student savings plan.

Death: There may be no more devastating event in a family than an unexpected death of a spouse or child. The event often comes with other stresses like medical expenses, the cost of the funeral and burial. Other issues arise like loss of job due to health issues that ultimately cause the death, being left to raise children as a single parent, having to go back to work to support the family, possibly having to move to smaller quarters since there are insufficient funds to cover expenses and more. There are possibly other expenses that we don’t always think about, such as a replacement vehicle if the death was due to an auto accident, not having a will or trust in place, not having a burial plan in place, not being aware of or know how to take care of things the spouse tended to be responsible for like paying bills, doing the yard work or fixing meals, etc. If the dead spouse was the breadwinner they also more than likely provided for health insurance through their employment.

Please be aware of ALL your monthly or quarterly bills. You need to know what they are NOW before you lose your spouse or partner. I have seen so many situations where one spouse had no idea where their mortgage was paid. The one credit card was ONLY in the spouse’s name. After the death, the spouse could not use the card to rent a car or buy a plane ticket. Now the spouse doesn’t qualify to even get a credit card. I have seen where the spouse didn’t even know where they had money in the bank. There must be a joint ownership situation in case of a death. This is a critical situation for the entire family.

Suggestions to be self-reliant: As with the other topics above, consider taking stock of your situation now, and think what could be done to better prepare for life without the spouse, for whatever reason. Should you consider getting some new education or training. Look over your finances and evaluate things you could start doing NOW that would provide the ability to save more each month, just in case. That could include reducing the money spent on non-essentials like eating out, less expensive transportation, cutting back on trips or expensive clothes, all with the goal to save for the unexpected.

CDC-Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The post The Five D’s You Need To Know To Be Self-Reliant appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Managing Your Budget During Preparation

Managing Your Budget During Preparation

Preparing for disasters of any kind can be expensive, especially on a budget. Getting food, fuel, medication, and other needs stockpiled in a safe, durable location requires a major investment. Philosophically, we know it’s worth it, but in practice, we still have to make the dollars and cents work out in a sustainable way.

The best way to save money is not to waste it. The very real urgency of threats can cause us to rush through the planning and execution of our preparation. But the things you do to prepare are the most important things you’ll ever do to provide for your family, because the whole goal is to be ready in case the world’s economic and transportation systems fail. You must be able to survive independently.

So how do we invest wisely? We must do things correctly and not get in a hurry. Think about the provision of power. If you have solar panels, is all the electrical work properly connected? Do you have spares for expendable things like fuses and light bulbs? Study your backup generators and other power sources. Make sure you have the knowledge, tools, and supplies to make repairs yourself.

What about construction projects? Do you have good drainage, proper footings, and well-built projects? Can you get by without outside contractors? Think of the full spectrum of disasters that may come, and consider how you rely on others to respond. If you have 24 inches of snow, you’ll need to be able to clear it yourself. If heavy rains bring mudslides or flooding, you’ll have to be self-sufficient. Investing in a Bobcat skid steer at Fastline will position you to handle these critical needs without waiting on someone else, and in the meantime, you can put it to work in your everyday activities.

So apart from the actual construction of storm shelters, bunkers, and so forth, how do you keep yourself financially afloat until disaster strikes if you’re on a budget? After all, it’s one thing to max out the credit cards and mortgage the farm if you know the financial system will collapse in six weeks. It’s another thing entirely to know that it will happen but not know when. It does you no good to have your house ready for an economic collapse if you are foreclosed on before it happens.

Keeping expenses in check without shorting yourself and your family largely centers on controlling the costs of expendables in your preparation activities.

Preparation stockpiles involve a number of non-perishable items, but others do have a shelf life. We know to try to keep plenty of medication on hand for ordinary aches and pains, stomach issues, and so forth. But over-the-counter drugs like these can’t be kept indefinitely. They should be replaced well ahead of their expiration. Simply rotate stock; keep your older medicine in the house for daily use, and place new purchases in your stockpile.

Gasoline is another example. While the goal is to reduce reliance on outside petroleum, there will nevertheless be a need for you to have at least some fuel on hand. And despite the fact that oil products were in the ground for millions of years without being hurt, they are still perishable and should be rotated periodically. That includes not just stockpiled fuel but also any that is already in the tanks of vehicles or equipment.

If you have gas-powered motors that haven’t been used in a while, start it and let it run for a while. It will help clean the engine and give you the chance to check on its function. Then drain the remaining fuel for use elsewhere, and put fresh gas back in the tank.

It can be a big waste of money to let these expensive items expire, but even more problematic is that you will be without them when you need them.

Being ready for disasters and other crises includes flashy things like weapons training and first aid. But the mundane things can be just as important. Make sure you manage your budget correctly.



This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

The post Managing Your Budget During Preparation appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Survival Tip – How To Prep For Flu Season

November 30th, 2015

Video courtesy of ThePatriotNurse

Some helpful tips courtesy of ThePatriotNurse on what items to stock up on for flu season and how to bolster your immune system to help prevent you from getting sick this winter season.


How did the U.S. become the freest, most prosperous country in the world? Kirk Cameron challenges you to discover America’s true “national treasures”—the people, places, and principles that have empowered this nation.


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How To Turn Your Backyard Chickens Into Homestead Money-Makers

Raising Chickens For Profit

Image source: wikimedia

So you’ve decided that chickens would be a good addition to your self-sufficient lifestyle. Now comes the more difficult part. What exactly are you going to do with those chickens you see scratching and nesting in your mind’s eye? Are you raising them for eggs only? Maybe you are remembering those expensive, fancy breeds shown at county fairs.

Why not raise them for some extra cash? If that interests you, then keep reading.

Before you get started, consider:

1. Is it legal for you to raise chickens where you live — and to sell?

In rural areas this might not be an issue. However, it is always smart to check just in case your county or state has some obscure regulation regarding raising chickens and all that enterprise entails. In urban areas there is almost always some ordinance or regulation you will need to be aware of regarding the raising of livestock within township or city boundaries. Roosters are often banned within city limits so that would mean you couldn’t breed your own line of show birds.

2. Do you need a permit to build your chicken coop and run?

This is definitely necessary to find out if you are within city limits since you could be required to pay a fine and remove the unpermitted building or addition.

3. Do you have enough space?

Figure at least 4-square-feet per bird for the coop and 8-square-feet per bird for the run. We’ll discuss this more a little later in the article.

4. What kinds of predators do you need to protect your chickens from?

In the city you may have to deal with rats, raccoons, opossums, feral or stray cats and dogs, and the occasional troublemaking human. I live within township limits and I have seen foxes during the day and heard coyotes at night. You may have these same problems depending on the size of your town/city and your location within it.

All The Answers To Every Chicken Question And Quandary …

Hawks, eagles, owls, weasels and snakes also can cause problems if your homestead is located in smaller townships and villages.

In true rural areas you will encounter larger predators like wolves, bears, badgers, bobcats, etc., depending upon the region you live in.

5. What age of chicken will you buy? How long do you want to wait for eggs, good-sized carcasses, or to be able to show your bird?

Raising Chickens For Profit

Image source: Pixabay.com

Chicks require a bit more work to raise. If you can’t keep them warm enough they will die. Chicks are somewhat delicate and you will wait at least six months for eggs and up to a year for them to be full adult size and ready for butchering. As far as ornamental birds go, you could wait up to three years for them to be ready to compete. Another potential problem is that you can’t really tell if you are getting male or female chicks because vent-sexing is only about 90 percent accurate.

Pullets are about 20 weeks old and are just a couple weeks away from laying eggs. If you buy pullets to start your flock you will know you are getting all hens as the adult feathers are growing in and are distinctive between male and female. This is the most popular way of raising chickens. This is the age that most ornamentals are purchased and some county fairs have a pullet class, meaning you can begin showing your bird as soon as the chicken has settled into its new home.

Mature hens are difficult to find. However, you can occasionally find farmers willing to sell their ‘old biddies’ to you. Keep in mind, however, that these birds are past their prime laying years. Mature show chickens can be quite expensive, especially if they are considered to be bred from champions of their breed.

Once you have found out or considered the information above you are ready to decide whether you are raising these chickens for eggs, meat, both eggs and meat, or for show birds. The care for the birds is similar, though show birds tend to be more delicate and require extra care and more extravagant housing.

The first thing to think about when choosing the types of chickens to raise is related to where you live. The climate in your area will be the biggest deciding factor in choosing the breed of chicken you can most easily raise in that area. Once you have determined the seasonal differences, you are ready to research which chickens will do best in your region.

Chickens Raised for Food

The table below lists the chickens that are raised for egg production in a backyard setting, the approximate number of eggs per week you will get from each bird of that breed, and the color of the eggshells. All of the breeds listed in the table are cold hardy birds though you may need to offer some form of heat in the coop if temperatures dip below what is the norm for your region.

Breed Egg Laying Egg Color
Australorp 5/week Brown
Rhode Island 5/week Brown
Red or Black Star 5/week Brown
Chantecler 4/week Brown
Delaware 4/week Brown
Easter Eggers 4/week Multi-colored
White Leghorn 4/week White
Plymouth Rock 4/week Brown
Wyandotte 4/week Brown
Ameraucana 3/week Light Blue
Holland 3/week White
New Hampshire Red 3/week Brown
Orpington 3/week Brown
Redcaps 3/week White
Java 3/week Brown


As you can see from that table most of the chickens raised for eggs are dual purpose. That means that once their egg laying days are over they can provide a meal for your family. You should remember that chickens can live from 10 to 14 years but will only lay the projected amounts in the table between the ages of one and three to four years. After that, egg laying will taper off until your chicken is laying only one or two eggs each week.

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Other things that will affect your hen’s egg laying are winter, molting, crowding and illness. You can’t really do anything to increase laying in winter so just be aware that as the days grow cooler and shorter your hens may not give you as many eggs. Molting occurs in most breeds starting at about 18 months of age. A molting bird will look terrible since they lose most if not all of their feathers during this period, which can last from two to four months. Egg laying will resume about a week after the bird’s feathers grow back in. Crowding occurs when you have too small a space to contain your flock. To be comfortable and happy each chicken needs the proper amount of space to roost, nest and scratch. Illness can be controlled somewhat by keeping your coop and run clean and having a vet familiar with livestock birds care for them, when needed.

How To Turn Your Backyard Chickens Into Homestead Money-Makers

Image source: Indiancreeknaturecenter.org

In the table above – with the exception of the Easter Eggers, White Leghorns and Ameraucana breeds – the chickens were bred to be layers as well as roasters or fryers. The breeds listed in that table will weigh between five and eight pounds at their full adult weight and will dress out to a four- to seven-pound carcass.

Chickens Raised for Profit

Show chickens, also known as ornamental birds, require slightly more care than the breeds used as layers and meat producers. You will need to be sure that their coop is much cleaner since mites and lice will detract from their looks. These birds, too, will molt so they won’t be able to be shown or sold as show birds during this time. I suggest that you do a lot of research before investing in your choice of an ornamental breed. However, if you do choose to raise an ornamental breed, or several, they can bring in a nice profit on each chick, pullet or chicken sold.

Below is a list of 11 of the most popular breeds used as ornamental or show birds. You may choose one of these more popular breeds or take a risk on raising a rarer breed. It is a myth that ornamental chickens don’t lay eggs. Of course they do, since all birds lay eggs. However, their eggs are much smaller than chickens bred for egg-laying. The eggs are are edible if they are gathered shortly after being laid.

  • Brahma. This breed is called ‘The King of All Poultry’.
  • Cochin.
  • Favorolle.
  • Cubalaya.
  • Java.
  • Orpington.
  • Silver Phoenix.
  • Dominique.
  • Langshan. These birds can fly fairly high, so build your fences accordingly.
  • Malay. These chickens stand two- to three-feet tall!
  • Dutch Bantam.

Your egg layers and your meat birds can earn you money as well if you have a large enough flock to support that effort. Two to four birds will provide enough eggs each week for your family and probably have enough left over to give away to friends. However, if you have a large enough flock and raise your chickens properly, during the summer months you can make a tidy profit at the farmer’s market or selling to your neighbors.

It is thought that about half of the backyard farmers or homesteaders that raise chickens sell their excess eggs. Eggs from chickens that are raised with grain or corn supplemental feed sell for about $2 per dozen. Eggs from chickens that are either free-range or eat only grass, vegetable waste from your kitchen and bugs are considered organic can sell for as much as $5 or more per dozen. If you are raising your chickens for meat, you also can sell the butchered carcass at the farmer’s market or to your neighbors. Corn- or grain-fed chickens sell for about $3 per pound. Free-range or organic-fed chickens can sell for around $5 per pound.

And then there are the “heritage breeds” that are raised for meat. These carcasses can sell for more than $5 per pound since their meat is tasty and tender. One thing to remember if you are raising meat chickens to sell: Butcher them at the earliest time after they have reached their full adult weight. If you butcher chickens older than two years of age, they are no longer “roasters” and are only good for stewing due to the meat not being as tender. Roasters bring in the most profit, although “stewers” or “soup” birds can still be a nice money-maker during the winter months.

What advice would you add in raising chickens for profit? Share your advice in the section below: 

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Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

How Long Will Your Food Stockpile REALLY Last?

Image source: Pixabay.com

Any thoughts about stockpiling foods in the event of a catastrophic emergency are dominated by two simple words: Shelf life. Some foods lose their nutritional value over time; others can become rancid or even dangerous if microbial or fungal growth invades the food. Curiously, there also are foods that have a shelf life measured in decades, if not centuries

We’re going to explore three general categories of foods that can be stored for various periods of time:

  1. Foods with an extremely long shelf life, even up to centuries.
  2. Foods with a very long shelf life (decades) due to their processing and packaging.
  3. Grocery store foods with a fairly long shelf life, six months to a year, or longer.

Foods With an Extremely Long Shelf Life

Some foods by their nature have surprisingly long shelf life if packaged and stored properly. Many are available at your local grocery store for a relatively low cost but you may want to consider repackaging or further sealing them if you plan to store them for any significant length of time. Here’s the top 10 long-term food storage champs:

1. Honey

A story about honey that’s often touted was the discovery by archaeologists of honey jars in an ancient Egyptian tomb.  The honey was carbon dated as 3,000 years old and was still food-safe and tasted just like honey.

2. Salt

If you can keep the moisture out of stored salt it will last indefinitely. Salt is a standard staple in any long-term food storage plan and is used in food preservation methods such as curing and pickling.

3. Sugar

Sugar possesses many of the characteristics of salt but here again, moisture is the enemy. If you can keep it hermetically sealed and perhaps add a moisture absorber, sugar also can keep indefinitely.

4. White rice

Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

Image source: Pixabay.com

White rice can last up to 20 years if properly stored. As a staple of most diets around the world, it’s a must in any long-term storage plan. Just don’t assume you can buy a large bag at the grocery store keep it in the pantry. It needs to be carefully sealed and stored.

5. Whole wheat grains

Whole wheat grains are usually purchased through a supplier that specializes in long-term food storage. They are often sealed in large, foil packages and sometimes repackaged inside large plastic buckets.

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The foil package is hermetically sealed to remove oxygen and prevent the permeation of moisture. If processed, packaged and stored properly it can last for decades. Remember that you’ll need a flour mill to further process any stored whole wheat grains.

6. Dried corn

Corn when properly dried and protected from moisture will last for decades. It’s another staple that provides significant nutritional value.

7. Baking soda

While it’s not a food source, its uses from baking to cleaning are many and varied. If kept dry it also will last indefinitely.

8. Instant coffee, cocoa powders and tea

If you succeed in keeping these ingredients dry they will survive for decades without losing potency or flavor.

9. Powdered milk

This staple will survive for up to 20 years. Moisture absorber packets are highly recommended when storing powdered milk for the long-term although some packaging solutions – such as in #10 cans – might not require them.

10. Bouillon products

This may seem a bit redundant with salt, but bouillon products have the added value of flavor. Most are chicken or beef flavored and the granular type tends to store better that bouillon cubes in the long run. With proper processing, packaging and storage they can last for decades as well.

Foods With a Very Long Shelf Life

Some companies today are in the business of specifically selecting, processing and packaging foods that will typically have a stable shelf life of 20 to 30 years if stored properly.

These are the some of the common foods packaged to have a very long shelf life:

  • Dried beans, 30 years
  • Rolled oats, 30 years
  • Pasta products, 30 years
  • Potato flakes, 30 years
  • Dehydrated fruit slices, 30 years
  • Dehydrated carrots, 20 years

These are great items to stockpile because you can be reasonably assured they will retain their integrity and nutritional value for years to come.

Foods With a Fairly Long Shelf Life

Some foods can last a relatively long time but it’s measured in months or a couple of years as opposed to decades. As a general rule, you should pay attention to the expiration dates on bottles, cans and boxes purchased at a grocery store. You can still eat the food after the expiration date, but there may be a loss of nutritional value. Also packages – such as boxes or bags – are more likely to allow compromise due to moisture or rodent invasion.

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Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you are thinking about storing any oils for the long-term, regular olive oil is a hero with a shelf life of two years. Canned goods range from one to two years, and for some foods like tomatoes that are highly acidic, glass jars are the ideal package given the tendency of acidic tomatoes to compromise both metal and plastic packaging over a period of time.

If you want to adapt grocery store foods for long-term food storage you should seriously consider some packaging solutions that can allow you to protect and preserve these items. This includes using sealed cans, and both oxygen and moisture absorbers. Keep in mind you also can order from a reliable purveyor of long-term foods and buy in bulk.

An important consideration for the shelf life of any food is how it is processed, packaged, stored and rotated.


The way that any food is processed has a lot to do with shelf life. Typical processing approaches include dehydrating, freeze-drying, pasteurization, heat processing, curing and pickling. While all of these processes extend the shelf life of many foods, the nature of the food itself determines how long it will remain edible.


The integrity of packaging is as important as the processing. Typical long-term food storage strategies involve packaging dried or dehydrated foods in metal, #10 cans that are hermetically sealed and often have oxygen and moisture absorbers enclosed.

Another long-term packaging solution involves the use of large, 5-gallon plastic buckets. This is usually used for bulk items such as white rice, flour, sugar, salt and other staples that someone wants to store in a large quantity. Make sure you inquire about the integrity of the seal on the lid. I had five gallons of sugar in storage for five years and when I open the lid, mildew had permeated the bucket. Not a single teaspoon was edible.


Storage has a direct effect on the duration of shelf life. The cooler the temperatures the longer the shelf life, but be careful to avoid freezing temperatures.

A dry environment is also important. Mildew can permeate the seal on some food containers, moisture can cause oxidation of metallic cans, and certain foods like grains can actually sprout if exposed to moisture over a period of time.

Darkness is important for any foods stored in glass jars, and in general advised because direct sunlight will raise temperatures.


As I’ve noted, some foods have a shelf life measured in months. That really doesn’t qualify as long-term in the classical sense so you should practice “Eat what you store, store what you eat.” This means you should eat from your food stash and keep it organized so that you are always using the food that has been in storage the longest, first.

The Bottom Line

Do your homework. Long-term food storage requires a plan that not only assesses the foods you should store, but the number of people you plan to feed and for how long. It’s the duration that makes shelf life such a critical consideration.  As much as possible, rotate your stock of foods by eating what you store. If you simply want to store food and forget about it unless it’s needed in an emergency, make sure it’s packaged and stored properly and that you know its expiration date.

From your experience, which foods last the longest? Share your tips in the section below: 

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How To Mount A Firearm Scope, The Right Way

How To Mount A Scope, The Right Way

Image source: Wikipedia

There are two methods of doing things in life: the wrong way and the right way. The right way often may take longer, but the results are almost always much better than the wrong way. This is especially true when it comes to the wonderful world of firearms and shooting. There certainly is a wrong vs. right way.

For the two decades I have been a firearms instructor, I have seen both the right way and the wrong way. The wrong way is certainly is not pretty.

When it comes to properly mounting an optic on a firearm, I have seen many people get it oh-so-very wrong. I’ve seen optics fly off of rifles or take a pounding from rattling around loose mounts screwing up the zero. The wrong way can cost you a deer, a competition or even your life.

The right way can fill your freezer, win trophies and protect your life and that of your family.  It only takes a little bit of time and perhaps a few extra dollars to do this the right way.

Let’s discuss the right way to mount an optic on your firearm.


You will need a stable rest for your rifle that keeps the firearm in a solid position; you can buy one or build one. You will mostly need a good set of screwdrivers here, with some flatheads. I have yet to ever need a Phillip’s head to mount a scope. For the bases themselves, you will most likely need a larger head, while the rings will require a smaller head.

Having a scope level makes your job go by so much more easily. Most of these are magnetic and stick to the top of a scope’s turret. Don’t scrimp and neglect to purchase one of these, as they are not expensive and will save you time.

Mounting Your Optic

The first step is to have the rifle you want the optic mounted on to be drilled and tapped. Most modern firearms come drilled and tapped, or if you are shooting an AR-15 or anything in that class you will most likely have a Picatinny rail. After you have your ducks lined up in a row with your rifle, choose your optic. We’ll discuss optics another day, but I will say to be sure you also have the right screws, bases, rings, Allen wrenches, everything you need to mount your optic before you get to it. Double check your rings and mounts before you leave the store and make sure you have the right size.

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Pay attention to your bases and mounting screws. This is especially important for a drilled and tapped rifle. You don’t want to widen out your tapped drill holes in the receiver of the firearm.  You also don’t want to strip screws. Don’t settle for substandard parts or the wrong size screws and parts.

Thoroughly clean your firearm and you mounts. Be sure you get any grit and debris off of the area you will be mounting to, and from the scope’s bases. Taking your time here will prevent rust and scratches.

How To Mount A Scope, The Right Way

Image source: Wikipedia

My next step here is to dab a thin layer of Hoppe’s 9 or a decent protective oil onto the receiver where you will be installing your new scope.  If you have a Picatinny rail system and you need to install a riser mount to offset an AR-10 or AR-15’s front sight, do so at this time, and after that install the bases but wait to tighten in case you have last-minute adjustments. For a rifle with traditional taped receiver, install the base mounts and get the screws as tight as you can without stripping them.

Next, install the bottom rings and place the optic on them. Adjust to where you want the optic to be and then place the top rings on the scope. Use a good scope level and be sure everything is kosher. When you’ve done this, tighten everything up until you can tighten anymore.

Be sure everything is secure, and give everything one last tightening.

When you are satisfied with your work, take your rifle out and sight her in. If you have done a good job, you should have no problem getting nice tight groups and maintaining the scope’s zero.

Sighting In

Before sighting in your rifle, I highly recommend you purchase a quality shooting rest such as a Lead Sled, or burrow one from a buddy. A laser bore sight is a great tool, as is a quality spotting optic.

I prefer to laser bore sight a rifle first. Place your bore sight in your firearm’s chamber and set up a target at 25 yards. Unscrew the turret caps that cover the adjustment knobs on your scope. The laser sight will make a laser dot appear on the target; adjust you optic until the cross hairs are right on your laser’s dot. This eliminates much of the time to get on target and should ensure your first rounds hit near the bullseye. You will probably have to tweak your adjustments slightly downrange, but this step saves ammo.

Next, set up a target at 100 yards. Shoot three rounds and group your rifle. Make any needed adjustments to your scope and shoot a few more rounds. Normally this step takes me around 3-10 rounds of ammunition. Keep in mind that most shooting optics have an adjustment of one-fourth MOA, meaning that every time you adjust your scope one click you are moving it a quarter of an inch or a one-half centimeter at 100 yards.

After you have sighted in your rifle, replace your scope’s turret caps and be sure that they are snug. You may need to readjust your scope after every few hundred rounds.

Happy shooting!

What advice would you add in mounting a scope? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The 8 Fundamentals To Digging A Root Cellar

Image source: alleghenymountainschool.org

Image source: alleghenymountainschool.org

Back in the old days, a root cellar was not a luxury, but instead was just as essential as our refrigerators are to us today.

A well-constructed root cellar can be a real life-saver — especially if you live off the grid, in remote areas or in places where power outages can be problematic. If you lose power and your refrigerator goes out, then your root cellar becomes an amazing backup.

You also can cut power consumption with a root cellar. Depending upon the size of your cellar, you can store as much as a restaurant-style walk-in refrigerator. However, you’re not using any electricity to do it.

As you may well know, root cellars are also a great place to take shelter in case of wind storms like tornadoes. Your house may be gone or damaged, but at least you weren’t in it when it was hit.

What Is a Root Cellar?

A root cellar is any storage space that uses the natural cooling, humidifying and insulating properties of the earth to preserve foods.

For your root cellar to work, it needs to maintain temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of between 85 to 95 percent.

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The reason you need both is that the temperature stops the growth of microorganisms and slows the release of ethylene gas, both of which work to decompose food faster.

The humidity stops your cold storage roots, tubers and vegetables from drying out and looking wilted.

What Type of Root Cellar Should I Build?

Many people will attempt to dig their root cellar right along the foundation of their home – the logic being they will have that nice cement wall for one side of the cellar if they have a basement. The problem with that is you’re undermining the foundation of your home. You’d be undermining a huge investment (your house) for something that you are likely going to build for free or at most a couple hundred dollars.

I’d recommend digging your cellar away from the house by at least 20 feet. The reasons are mostly for the security of your home and any possible groundwater issues.

Hillside root cellars work really well. You dig your cellar into the side of a hill and slope the inside floor down toward the opening for drainage. Yes, you can put in drain pipes and if you’d like to go that route, you should. You’ll end up with a dryer root cellar for sure. That being said, our forefathers didn’t have PVC and drain field pipes.

Image source: permspicks.wordpress

Image source: permspicks.wordpress

If you’re going with a pit style, then dig a square pit and then slope one end down to its floor, so you can lay in your steps over the top of that slope.

A word to the wise: There are those who recommend simply burying a garbage can for storing small amounts of food. This is a bad idea, as the garbage can can’t breathe. Your root cellar needs ventilation in order to get rid of ethylene gas.

8 Fundamental Tips

I won’t go into how to dig the hole and other such items. I’m sure you’re handy with a shovel. What I will cover here are eight fundamental tips that can really make or break your root cellar’s performance, long-term.

  1. In order to reach a nice stable temperature, you need to dig down at least 10 feet. In sandy, loamy soils you may need to go a little deeper than that to get the right temperature.
  2. Build your shelves and platforms out of wood, as it doesn’t conduct heat and cold nearly like metal does. This helps maintain steady temperatures.
  3. Don’t dig your root cellar near any big trees. You’ll have to chop the roots out while you dig, and they always grow back. Plus, if the tree falls over from wind or old age, it can rip your cellar up with it.
  4. To keep rot off your shelving and platforms, be sure to place them one to two inches away from the walls so they can stay dry.
  5. Packed earth floors work well and have been the standard flooring for hundreds of years. However, if you want to step it up just a bit, then pour a concrete floor. With such a floor, you won’t get dirt on your shoes to track back in the house. Plus, it keeps your wooden shelves and platforms off the ground so that they will last longer and not rot.
  6. Install an exhaust pipe so that you get air circulating and prevent the build-up of gases. Ventilation is critical to maintaining temperature and humidity, without which your food won’t preserve very well at all.
  7. Get a thermometer and a hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity, respectively. Maintaining the proper temperature and humidity levels are the pivotal points in constructing your root cellar.
  8. Follow all structural guidelines and best practices in your building process. Be sure to follow all applicable building and or construction codes. Also, ensure that you get any necessary permits before you begin.

That being said, building your root cellar can be a fun and relatively easy project, and you’ll enjoy the “fruits and roots” from it for many, many years.

What is your best advice on building and maintaining a root cellar? Share it in the section below:

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Cold Weather Top Five Risks

Top Five Cold Weather Risks to Your Heath?
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

Cold Weather snowy-drivewayAs the temperatures drop lower and lower, the risk of five types of cold weather injuries shoots up. Do you know what they are? Even more important, do you have the skills to respond to such an injury? In this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, herbalist and prepper, Cat Ellis discusses time-tested, essential first aid skills, as well as herbal medicine specific to wintertime injuries.

Depending on your age and any pre-existing conditions, you may be more at risk for certain cold weather-associated risks than others. What are the top five cold weather risks to your health? Here’s the list:
Cold Weather1. Chilblains
2. Trenchfoot (not just for trenches!)
3. Frost Nip/Frost Bite
4. Hypothermia
5. Heart Attack

Cold Weather THIS_IS_TRENCH_FOOT.In this episode, Cat will cover each or these risks, how to recognize them, pre-eisting conditions that complicate these top five cold weather risks, as well as how to prevent them from happening in the first place. Most importantly, Cat will detail what to do, and what not to do, if if help is not on the way.

Why do you need to know this? Do you live someplace that snows in the winter? Is your homestead located in a remote, rural town without quick access to a hospital? What if civil unrest made going to the hospital an impossibility? While each of these five cold-weather risks are cause to seek a doctor’s help, what would you do if that just wasn’t an option?

11-29-15 Prepper's Natural MedicineWhen most people think about a cold weather emergency kit, they think of blankets, chemical hand warmers, wool socks, and perhaps a folding shovel to go in the car in case you get stuck. It’s time to update your winter emergency kit to include caring for cold weather injuries. Hopefully, you will never need be faced with such an emergency. But if you are, this episode will teach you what supplies you need to have on hand and how to use them safely.
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