Do You Sharpen Your Own Knives? What’s Your Preferred Method?

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Do You Sharpen Your Own Knives? What’s Your Preferred Method?

A small number of posts on this blog have been about knife sharpening; probably nowhere near as much as should be on here considering how knife-heavy our content is, but nonetheless we do have a couple articles: What’s the Best Way to Sharpen Stainless Steel Knives? How to Use a Japanese Water Stone (Whetstone) to Sharpen […]

This is just the start of the post Do You Sharpen Your Own Knives? What’s Your Preferred Method?. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!


Do You Sharpen Your Own Knives? What’s Your Preferred Method?, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

So Many Zucchini, So Little Time! Tips To Use Up Your Zucchini Harvest

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So Many Zucchini, So Little Time! Tips To Use Up Your Zucchini Harvest

Image source: Pixabay.com

We’ve all heard jokes about gardeners creeping up to their neighbors’ doorsteps in the dead of the night to “give away” extra zucchini squash. There are few garden plants that produce as prolifically as zucchini. Although there are many creative recipes for fresh zukes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the bounty. But, if you have more than you can eat right now, don’t give away all your extras. There are a bunch of things you can do with the squash so that you can enjoy it throughout the winter.

Picking and Storing Fresh Zucchini

Since zucchini is a summer squash, it has tender, thin skin. Unlike winter squash (including pumpkins and spaghetti squash) with their thick rinds, summer squash doesn’t store well. Even in the fridge, zucchini will keep for 7-10 days at best.

It’s best to pick zukes when they’re about 6-8 inches long. At that size, they’re tender and mild-tasting. As zucchini continues to grow, its flesh becomes stringier and less tasty.

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Don’t bother washing them after picking. Just brush off any dirt and put the zukes in a paper bag, or in a plastic bag that is either perforated or left open. Once bagged, zucchini should be stored in the crisper of your fridge. Keep an eye on it — when zucchini starts becoming soft, it needs to be used up quickly.

Eating Fresh Zucchini

For a long time, all I did with fresh zucchini was throw it into stir-fries and chili. As you can imagine, that didn’t make much of a dent in my harvest. Not wanting to foist any more of my zukes on neighbors and coworkers, I searched online for recipes. If you’re not a foodie, you may be surprised at the incredible variety of zucchini dishes.

  • Sliced in thin, long slices, it can take the place of lasagna noodles.
  • Cut in half and hollowed out a bit, it becomes a “boat” that can be stuffed with pizza fillings or other toppings before roasting.
  • Cut into finger-size strips and coated with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and spices, it becomes “zucchini fries” for a yummy appetizer, snack or side dish.
  • Put through a spiralizer, it becomes high-fiber, low-carb, low-calorie noodles, which are a perfect base for Asian- and Italian-style dishes.
  • Used as an ingredient in all kinds of salads.

With so many different ways to prepare it, it’s easy to incorporate zucchini into meals every day without getting tired of it. Do a little Googling or look on Pinterest for recipes.

Baking With Zucchini

If you have the freezer space, you could whip up cakes, loaves and muffins to stash away for the winter. If you already bake with zucchini, you know that it adds nutrients and texture to baked goods, and helps keep them dense and moist. If you don’t already bake with zucchini, it’s time to give it a go. I’m partial to chocolate chip zucchini loaf, but there are recipes out there to suit every taste.

Freezing Zucchini

Frozen zucchini isn’t at its most attractive once thawed. It’s best used as an additive to things like soups, stews, pasta sauces or chili — or in baked goods.

How you prepare zucchini for the freezer depends on how you intend to use it later. If using for baking, it’s a terrific idea to shred it up and stuff 2 cups into a freezer bag, unless you have a go-to recipe that calls for a different amount. To use it later, thaw it, drain it, drain it again, and pat it dry with a paper towel before you add it to the batter.

An All-Natural Fertilizer That Can Double Garden Production!

While grated zucchini also works well in soups and stews, sometimes it’s nice to have chunkier pieces in your dish. If that’s the route you’d like to go, you can simply chop your zukes into bite-size pieces, stuff them into a freezer bag, and toss them in the freezer. However, if you blanch them for one minute in boiling water before freezing, the thawed pieces will stay firmer than if they hadn’t been blanched.

Dehydrating Zucchini

So Many Zucchini, So Little Time! Tips To Use Up Your Zucchini Harvest

Image source: Pixabay.com

If your freezer space is maxed out, dehydrating zucchini is a terrific option. Rachel at growagoodlife.com says that four pounds of fresh, sliced zukes shrink so much during drying that they will fit into a pint-size jar! If you have a dehydrator, it’s super easy to do this: Just clean the zucchini, slice it into ¼-inch rounds, spread the slices on the dehydrator trays, and run the dehydrator as instructed. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do this in an oven set to 175 degrees, too–just keep a close eye on the zucchini so that it doesn’t burn. It should take about two hours to dehydrate in the oven.

Preserving Zucchini

I remember the first time my mom grew zucchini. It was the ‘80s, and zucchini was absolutely exotic in our part of the world. Mom had no idea what to do with her bounty but heard about “Mock Pineapple.” It turns out that mock pineapple is still a thing. Nutshell version: Peel and cube zucchini; stuff it into jars; cover it with a mix of pineapple juice, sugar, and lemon juice; and process in a hot water bath. The zucchini takes on the flavor of the pineapple juice, but as this contemporary recipe points out, mock pineapple is best used in recipes that call for crushed pineapple, and not simply eaten out of the jar.

If mock pineapple is not your thing (confession: teenaged me refused to eat it), there are all kinds of other ways to can zucchini, including in relishes and salsas, and as pickles. That said, it’s not recommended to can plain zucchini. Because it’s a low-acid vegetable, it would need to be processed in a pressure canner, which is not recommended. Further, canned squash gets quite soft, and has limited uses.

There are so many ways to use and store this very versatile vegetable! What do you do with your extra zucchini? If we missed discussing a way to use it up, please let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Best Survival Matches – Stormproof Matches For Survival And Preparedness

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Survival MatchesIf dog is man’s best friend, fire is surely his best survival tools.

According to archaeologists, we’ve been using fire for over a million years. We cook with it, hunt with it, and stay warm on countless nights because of it.

There’s no telling where humanity would be today without the discovery of fire. But it’s safe to say; our survival would have been a lot harder.

Today, fire remains and will always remain an essential survival resource.

No survival backpack, bug out bag, get home bag or survival vehicle is complete without some fire tools. Whether it’s a survival lighter, a flint striker, matches – creating fire is an essential life-saving survival skill.

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Without it, things can get dark and cold quickly.

And there are few fire tools as time-tested as the match. They’re simple and effective.

But there are a lot of matches, made by a lot of manufacturers and for designed for different uses.

Yes, they all produce fire, but some are far more reliable for survival than others. So how does one choose?

The following guide goes over our favorite survival matches. And we’ll also share a few tips and tricks to make some survival matches all on your own.

Match Spark

How Matches Work


Understanding how matches work is essential – especially if you’d like to try and make your own at some point.

Despite the simplicity of matches, there’s a lot of physics going on when you strike a match.

First, a match head and a striker strip are made of materials that react violently together.

The match heads are comprised of potassium chlorate, sulfur, and powdered glass.

The striker strips have sand, powdered glass, and red phosphorous in them.

When a match head runs along a striker strip, pressure and speed combine to create friction.

Friction is the resistance one surface or object when moving over another. High friction is high resistance, and high resistance creates heat.

Friction is the heat generated when you rub your hands together quickly when cold.

In fact, a match strike creates enough friction to ignite the incendiary chemicals in the match head.

Those chemicals burn bright and fast. Hot enough to catch the matches wooden (or sometimes cardboard) “wick” on fire.

In the simplest terms:

  • The striker strip provides the friction to ignite the match head
  • The match head serves as an ignition to get the wooden wick beneath lit
  • The wooden wick burns slowly, extending the life of the match flame

For a more technical explanation on how matches work, check out this excellent video (with slow motion match burn):

Some Matches are Better Than Others


Not all matches are created equal.

Cheap Cardboard Matches

Terrible For Survival!

Cheap, cardboard matches (the ones given away at your local liquor store) are far less effective than “strike anywhere” matches.

These cardboard matches are meant for lighting cigarettes, cigars or tossing into firepits. That isn’t to say they are useless for survival, but they are not nearly as effective.

They burn too fast, and not as hot, they’re less durable and much more susceptible to water damage.

Strike Anywhere Matches

Better But Not Ideal.

Even beyond the “strike anywhere” matches, there are better matches made explicitly for survival.

These matches are called “stormproof” or “waterproof” matches because they’re water and wind resistant.

Here’s a short list of our favorite survival matches:

Different Matches

The Best Survival Matches


When researching survival matches, there are a few options that stand out from the rest. But, they’re not always the first options to pop up on a google search.

Nor are they options that can be found in any outdoor or surplus store.

Which is why we have compiled this list of a few of our favorite survival matches on the market.

Stormproof, Waterproof, Emergency Survival Match

These matches are at the top of our list for one simple reason: they are the best of the best. When it comes to single-use, wooden matches, these are the ones to buy.

These matches have more incendiary material, so they burn far longer than your average match – 20 seconds longer.

This gives you more time to light anything you need, using minimal supplies. So no more wasted matches.

Not only that, these matches are 100% waterproof. They even stay lit after being dunked in water!

They’re also highly wind resistant and can stay lit in a 100 mph wind. You can’t beat that.

They come in a small waterproof ABS container specially designed for these matches. This container helps keep them dry and protects them from accidental damaged.

A specialty striker strip is also included on the match container.

At the time this post was published, you could get these excellent survival matches for FREE – just pay for shipping. Click here to see if this deal is still available.

The Survival Life Everstryke MatchEverStryke Match Box

The Everstryke is not your typical match; it’s better.

It’s made from stainless steel which means the Ferro rod is reusable for up to 15,000 long burning strikes! You almost never have to replace it.

The Ferro rod is tipped with a steel bit. You strike it against a piece of flint built onto the outside of the container.

A cotton wick that fits snugly through the end of the Ferro rod, so it takes only one strike to get an extremely hot flame!

The strikes are measured at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. And the flame sustains an impressive 600 degrees.

When finished, just screw the match rod back into place inside the container.

An O-ring built into the Ferro rod prevents fuel from evaporating when it’s screwed into place. And it also helps keep water out of the container.

This metal match easily fits inside of a pants pocket or backpack pocket. It’s lightweight, reusable, durable, and generally, the perfect addition to any survival pack.

The EverStryke Match an excellent upgrade and investment to your survival gear.

Again, at the time this post was published, you could get an EverStryke Match FREE – just pay for shipping. Click here to see if this deal is still available.

Survival Match on Pine Needles

More Stormproof Matches


While the matches listed above are our two favorites, they aren’t the only survival matches out there.

Here’s a short list of some of the other brand options you have when shopping for survival matches:

Basic Survival Matches –  Flip Top 2 PackBasic Survival Matches

These are basic survival matches, but they do their job in a pinch!

The packs come with 25 matches per (50 total) and a useful flip-top plastic container to keep them dry and protected.

They’re also waterproof, windproof, and will light when wet.

UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof CaseUSC Stormproof Matches

This kit comes with 25 matches and a durable, windproof plastic container and can hold up to 40 matches at one time.

Plus this kit includes three replaceable striker strips. The replaceable striker strips are the most useful feature of these matches.

Sometimes striker strips can get worn out after a lot of use, but that’s a non-issue with this survival match kit!

Once your striker strip is about to kick the bucket, just replace it, and you’re back in business.

The UCO Stormproof matches are also windproof and waterproof and will burn for up to 15 seconds. The case floats if you drop them in water.

Also included (as a bonus) is a small ball of cotton, which can be used as kindling for an emergency fire.

Coghlan’s 940 BP Waterproof MatchesCoghlan's Waterproof Matches

The Coghlan’s are affordable, reliable, and time-tested.

The Coghlan brand has been around for a long time and is a favorite among the outdoor community.

Hikers, backpackers, hunters, fishermen, and survivalists alike stand by Coghlan’s waterproof matches.

One of the biggest advantages of this brand is they’re affordable. You can buy them in bulk. But, these matches do not come with extras such as a waterproof container.

Fire Starting Kit w/ Magnesium ChipsUltimate Survival Matches With Magnesium Chips

This “ultimate fire-starting kit” goes one step further than your typical survival match. It includes:

  • one tin container (with a tactical band to hold everything together)
  • 20 windproof, waterproof matches
  • a waterproof container
  • a waterproof striker strip
  • two bags of magnesium chips

The mag chips, are an extremely useful survival resource for lighting fires.

Magnesium lights easily and reaches temperatures of almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit. With a little pinch of magnesium, you can get just about any material burning, no matter if it’s wet or super dense.

Of course, this match kit takes up more space than the other match options, but the magnesium is worth the room it takes up.

You’ll be blown away by how quickly you can get a fire going with the stuff.

 Survival Match Comparision Chart


How to Make Stormproof Survival Matches


“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Proverb

The same logic stands true for survival matches.

Buying stormproof matches is a step towards preparing yourself for a survival situation. But it only gets you what you buy.

If you buy 50, then you’ve got 50, and when you run out of them, your luck is likely running out too.

That’s why it is so important to understand how to make your own survival matches.

If you know how to make your own survival matches, you’ll always be able to re-stock on them as needed. This is a valuable survival skill, and it’s easier than you might imagine.

There are several ways to do it:

Method 1: Using Wax to Waterproof Matches

Get your hands on a box of basic “strike anywhere” matches and a wax candle.

Simply light the candle and let the wax melt. Candles in jars are particularly useful for this since the melted wax can’t drip away or escape.

Once you have got a good pool of wax, dip the match heads into the wax. Place the matches on top of the box they came in, with the waxed heads hanging off so that they can dry evenly. That’s it!

This method is one of the simplest ways to waterproof your matches so they can be used even if they get wet.

But keep in mind: these are not weather-proof or windproof. This technique does little more than keep moisture off of the match head before use.

And in fact, you usually have to scrape the wax off of the tips before striking them, to get them to light.

But in a wet survival scenario, this technique can be a lifesaver!

Method 2: Waterproofing Matches with Shellac

Like the wax method, you’ll need to buy some strike anywhere matches and some shellac.

Place the matches, head-down, in a small container filled with shellac. Let them soak.

Once the matches are finished soaking, remove them, and place on a sheet of newspaper to dry.

Allow the matches about 20 minutes to dry out before storing them in a container. Matches waterproofed with shellac will remain waterproof for several months.

The advantage to this method, over the wax method, is you don’t have to remove the terpene before striking.

They will ignite all on their own, given enough friction.

Method 3: Waterproofing Using Nail Polish

Say you don’t have any candles or terpene on hand, and you need matches STAT. One way to waterproof matches in a pinch is to use nail polish the same way you used wax or terpene.

Dip the head of your strike anywhere matches an eighth of an inch down into the nail polish.

Then let them dry out, with the head hanging off of a table or the matchbox.

The Final Word


Survival becomes a more difficult game without fire. Even crappy old matches are preferable to nothing.

That’s why it’s vital to pack waterproof survival matches with your survival gear. Even if you’ve got a survival lighter or a flint striker packed, double down and add some survival matches as well.

You never know when you’ll need them, or what you’ll need them for.

Understanding how to make waterproof matches is also beneficial survival knowledge.

Sure, having professionally made, expert-tested survival matches is a good thing. But you never know when you’ll be stuck in a cold wet survival situation, and need to keep your matches dry.

Waterproofing matches is a simple process and one that could save your life someday.

No bug out bag is complete without a supply of survival matches.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
-Will Brendza

The post Best Survival Matches – Stormproof Matches For Survival And Preparedness appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Business Owner Was Never Convicted. But Police Kept 130 Of His Computers Anyway

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Business Owner Was Never Convicted. But Police Kept 130 Of His Computers Anyway

Image source: Pixabay.com

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Frank Ranelli is still waiting for the return of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers police took from his business in 2010, even though charges were dismissed years ago.

“Here I was, a man, owned this business, been coming to work every day like a good old guy for 23 years, and I show up at work that morning – I was in here doing my books from the day before – and the police just f***ed my life,” Ranelli told AL.com.

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Around 20 Homewood, Ala., police officers came into Ranelli’s computer repair business on June 29, 2010, and took 130 computers, alleging that he knew they were stolen. Ranelli recalled that some of the officers were wearing flak jackets and carrying semiautomatic rifles.

Police had received a tip that Ranelli’s store, FAR Computers, was knowingly buying stolen electronics from local crooks, court documents indicate. The tip was apparently bogus, and charges were eventually dismissed, but Ranelli is still waiting to get the stuff back more than seven years later.

Police used a law known as civil asset seizure to take the computers — many of which belonged to his customers. The law allows them to seize property even if a crime isn’t proven.

More asset forfeiture horror stories like this one are likely after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an order that had barred seizure of cash and property without warrants or charges in July, The Washington Post reported.

Sessions also set up a special unit within the Justice Department to oversee forfeiture and limit abuses. Skeptics were not convinced by that action.

“It’s nice to see at least some acknowledgment that civil forfeiture is in need of increased oversight, but the changes really don’t go far enough and the core problem still remains,” U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) complained. “Americans are still going to have their property taken from them, without due process, at record rates.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Gear I Hate – How to Avoid Survival Gear that Can Get You Killed

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Survival gear is supposed to help you… Right? But some survival gear is just junk that can waste your money, time, energy – and could even get you killed. Let’s take a look at a few of the items on my “Most Hated” survival gear list.

I’m keenly aware that hate is a strong word, I did not loosely choose it for this title. I really do hate the pieces of equipment that I am going to take a look at here today.

First Aid KitI am in the business of teaching people how to survive under uncomfortable conditions. Conditions in which gear can often make or break you. I often emphasize that to survive in any condition, you should focus your training on four different aspects in a specific order: Mindset, Skills, Tactics, and Gear. More often than not people reverse that order and focus on the gear. When doing this, it’s easy to fall victim to marketing and get gear that is either a poor choice in general, or you could simply do without with it if you had the knowledge and skill to achieve your goal by another means.

What I want to do for you today is not just point out a few items of gear that are terrible, but also give you alternatives so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I have seen others make time and time again.

First Aid Kit
You will see these virtually everywhere. Small portable first aid kits that have “SURVIVAL MEDICAL KIT” or “OUTDOORSMAN FIRST AID” or similar. You will find these in the big-box stores, sometimes even in the checkout lines. Most of these amount to nothing more than a few adhesive bandages, some useless medical tape, and some antiseptic wipes.

You are almost always better served by building your own first aid kit. I do keep a few adhesive strips in my kit for little boo-boos – the best, most sticky and durable ones that we’ve found are these ones from Band-Aid, but I also carry rolled gauze, and duct tape for extra security.

The whole purpose of using these items is to cover a wound so it does not get bacteria, dirt and/or grime in a wound and set up infection. Gauze and duct tape stay on, much better than adhesive strips.

Also put in a small bottle of hand sanitizer, or alcohol strips to clean around wounds, but not in them. You should also include in your kit, some more useful items like a tourniquet, a chest seal, and a nasopharyngeal airway (nose trumpet). These are bit more technical to use but are used every day and designed to save lives. To use them, you need to find a good remote, tactical or technical first aid class.

Compass

A junk compass can lead you astray and even get you killed in a survival situation.

Compass
You should have a good compass in your kit and the knowledge on how to use it. What I often see is people getting the cheapest compass they can find. This is a critical piece of gear and you should not entrust your land navigation ability to subpar equipment. Some things to look for are bubbles in the bezel, an arrow that does not spin freely, and a bezel that moves side to side rather than just turning. Compasses are just like knives: you can go inexpensive, that is for certain, but your life may depend upon it. Spend a little more so you can have a piece that you can depend upon. There are a few companies that we recommend. For base plate compasses choose a Silva, Brunton, or Suunto. For a lensatic compass, Cammenga is the way to go.

Wire saw stuck in a tree – which is a typical sight.

Wire Saws
This is one of those items that has two very distinct reasons to be considered at all for a kit. The first reason is due to popular culture. We like logs and sticks to be nice and tidy on the ends therefore we want something in our kits that will help- us achieve that. A wire saw seems to do this easily and it is small, lightweight and affordable. However in my practice and training, which now spans four decades, I can find no real need for such neatness. There are very few traps, fire material, shelter materials, etc., that need real clean cuts. For those cuts I can use a knife.

The other reason I think people want these is because they never actually use them, they like the idea of using them. Once you do, you will quickly realize that they are only easy to use on small material, are it is easy to get clogged, brake, and get dull very quickly. Not to mention the number of calories expended using them should be a serious consideration for survival training.

Your alternative for this item is to gain knowledge so you do not need to have everything perfectly cut, as well as get a Bahco Laplander, Silky Saw or similar hand saw. See David’s Survival Saw Showdown Video for head to head comparisons of top wilderness saws.

Bent shovel

Folding shovel fail.

Shovels or Entrenching Tools (E-Tool)
Shovels and e-tools can be an incredibly useful piece of equipment but not if you get a junk one. There are any number of companies that are selling lightweight, easy to carry shovels, or similar, and they do not stand up to moderate use.

I cannot begin to tell you how many of these lighter tools I have seen come to our survival classes and get bent within the first few minutes of use. There are not a lot of uses for these tools in general survival use. We use them a lot more in our tactical survival classes. However, if you want to get one, go ahead and realize that you are going to need to get a solid military issue surplus e-tool. They simply cannot be beat for portability and durability. They are heavier, but that weight is due to hardier materials that do not bend under use.

How to Avoid Survival Gear that Can Get You Killed

Today, it’s really easy to find great gear and avoid gear that could put your life at risk in a survival situation.

First, take a survival class or two. Swap ideas with others and observe what gear performs the best. When you see several people using the same stuff and it works, you may have found your next piece of gear.

Next, search Amazon or YouTube for the gear you are looking for. On Amazon, people are pretty transparent in their comments. When you find gear that has over 4 stars and lots of reviews, you may have just found a “good bet.” On YouTube, watch reviewers that you trust, who have tested and used the stuff you are interested in.

Stay tuned for more terrible survival gear to avoid, that we’ll feature in future posts. We look forward to helping you keep quality and budget minded so you can purchase solid gear, and not break the bank by wasting money on gear that will not last.

~ About Craig Caudill ~

Craig-Toon-BustCraig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan’s Depot channels.

Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own and for themselves.

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Those 10/22 mags again

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Ok, there’s a page up for the magazines. I took delivery on a bunch of them today and a few of you decided to go long and took about 40% of them right off the bat. Makes me wonder if you know something I don’t. Have about 100 of each left, so theyre there if you want ’em. Got ’em sitting in pile here so they go out the door as soon as you pay the invoice. Whatever isn’t sold by Halloween goes into my personal stash.

Oh, and they make great stocking stuffers for Paratus, Festivus, or Chrismahanukwanzaka.

Alternative Media — For You — A List of Quality Links

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  • And uh, don’t forget yours truly
  •  
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  • NEWS & POLITICS

Drudgereport.com
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Globalresearch.ca
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How to Grow Sprouts: How To Store 182 Servings of Raw Green Vegetables in a Quart Canning Jar

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It is not dehydrated, freeze-dried or cooked in any way. It will provide 182 generous servings. It is inexpensive and easy to store. It will all fit nicely into a quart canning jar. It is a power packed green food source. It will provide fresh greens daily for one person for six months. It is. . . Read More

Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants

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The post Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Black eyed susan or brown-eyed susan, coneflower or Gloriosa daisy. These names describe the Rudbeckia species of plants. This relative of the sunflower grows both wild and in garden settings, and it’s a beautiful addition to your yard! But what really is the difference between a black-eyed susan or a browneyed one? Is a coneflower … Read more

The post Black Eyed Susan: How To Grow And Care For Rudbeckia Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Spiritual Preparedness for Preppers

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AVR June 2014 with URL

When times are tough… a terrible storm has ripped through your town, your spouse has lost a job, a loved one is dying, the news is depressing or even scary… what do you do? Pray for strength? Go for a walk in the woods to be rejuvenated by nature? What is your level of spiritual preparedness?

When the wildfire misses your home do you chalk it up to plain ol’ luck, or do you believe that God or The Universe played a part in sparing your family, possibly for a greater purpose?

Do you consider yourself to be “spiritual?”

What is spirituality?

It is important to note that “religion” and “spirituality” are two different concepts, even though the words are often used interchangeably.

Religion is a structured belief system based on core doctrine. Spirituality is a personal belief system that may, or may not, include belief in a higher being. A religious person is often spiritual, but a spiritual person does not have to be religious. In fact, almost 30% of Americans say their spirituality comes largely or entirely from outside formal religion.

Spiritual people have a connection to something bigger than themselves and have a firm set of moral values. They often have a commitment to someone or something outside of themselves. Their spirituality helps guide their decisions and can impact how they respond to stress.

Though I am a Christian, for the purposes of this article, it does not matter who or what your “higher power” is. As long as you claim something and truly believe, you are more likely to be a resilient person in times of trouble.

Why Does it Matter?

In the Handbook of Religion and Health, the author analyzed more than 1,200 studies on the subject of spirituality and mental health. He concluded that spiritual people have greater hope and optimism. They also have less depression, fewer suicides, less anxiety and less alcohol and drug abuse. Their marriage has greater stability, they have less risky behavior, and lower mortality from various causes. The spiritual tend to “bounce back” more easily from disappointment or disaster and have better relationships with others. They are more resilient and have the ability to see a greater purpose in all things.

These are all good qualities to have in general, but don’t those sound like they would be essential qualities to have during a disaster? It really doesn’t matter if that disaster is a house flattened by a tornado or a complete nationwide economic collapse. Being a spiritual person can help you cope with the day-to-day difficulties as well as maintain purpose, self-worth, and hope for the future.

Improve your Spiritual Resiliency

As preppers, our goal is to be as prepared as possible to face hard times, whatever they may be. We work diligently to stock up on food and medical supplies and prepper gadgets. And if we are really committed, we also prepare our physical bodies. But have you thought about how to prepare your soul or your being? How do you become “spiritually fit?”

Core Spiritual Concepts

There are several concepts that are universal to almost all spiritual people. These concepts can be shared by people who have fundamentally different spiritual starting points. Focusing on these spiritual concepts in your daily life can increase your spiritual resiliency in hard times. These spiritual concepts include:

  • Love
  • Patience
  • Gratitude
  • Forgiveness
  • Generosity
  • Hope

Notice that all of these concepts require you to focus on something outside of yourself, which is key to a strong spiritual life. Find ways, through religious and/or secular means to put these concepts into practice. Examples include spending time in prayer or meditation, volunteering for charities or attending worship services. Other ideas could be cultivating or repairing relationships and spending time in fellowship with others who share your belief system.

from the Library of Congress Highsmith Collection

Fountain of Faith in Falls Church, Virginia’s National Memorial Park cemetery

Spiritual Reminders

Create a “Spiritual Reminder.” Write on a piece of paper a sentence or two that encapsulates your core spiritual and/or religious belief. Have it visible at home and work and keep a copy in your wallet or purse. Repeating this “Spiritual Reminder” in times of trouble can give a sense of calm and focus.

A recent example in my life is when my mother was suddenly hospitalized earlier this year. During her very painful physical therapy, she would often stop and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

I asked a non-religious friend what his “Spiritual Reminder” would be and he replied with, “I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.” These reminders are as individual as the people who write them. Find yours and use it.

Find a Spiritually Resilient Mentor

One of the best ways to be successful is to find another person who has already achieved your desired outcome and emulate them. Do you know someone who is spiritually resilient? This can be a friend or family member, a Bible study leader or pastor, or even a fictional character from a book or movie. See what worked for this mentor… and what didn’t. Model that behavior to increase your own resiliency.

Be a Spiritually Resilient Mentor

As you are modeling the behaviors of your mentor, realize that someone may be looking to YOU as their mentor. Your children are always watching you and need special guidance to become more spiritually resilient. Others may approach you and ask for advice or maybe watching from a distance. It is important to remember that the more resilient the people are around you, the less care they may need in a disaster. This will free you up to focus on more pressing needs.

In Good Times and In Bad

When you have your food stash, water storage, and preparedness supplies in place, it will help you survive a disaster. But when you enter challenges with a strong spirituality you have a better chance of not just surviving, but also of thriving. Plus, spiritual resilience isn’t just about surviving the bad times. Having a strong spiritual faith or belief system can be sustained in the good times as well.

Elizabeth Edwards, who knew quite a bit about personal challenges, wrote “You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.”

Spirtual Preparedness for Preppers

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5 Nuclear Radiation Detector Choices

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You might ask, “Why in the world would I need a nuclear radiation detector?” The answer is another question, “Have you examined the world around you lately?” We are living in dangerous times whereby the threat and potential reality of a nuclear detonation event (or worse) is escalating. Nuclear proliferation is increasingly abundant. Most noteworthy the current events surrounding North Korea. We also live in a world that’s partially powered by nuclear power plants. Although presently safe, due to the fact that many or most of these reactors are beyond their planned lifespan, there is risk. Should the unthinkable happen

The post 5 Nuclear Radiation Detector Choices appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

DIY Sawhorse Farm Table – One Incredibly Cool, Inexpensive Farm Table!

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Sometimes, necessity and fate have a way of coming together, and in the case of our DIY Sawhorse Farm Table, it couldn’t be more true. After hosting our first farm to table event this past summer, we knew we wanted

The post DIY Sawhorse Farm Table – One Incredibly Cool, Inexpensive Farm Table! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

The Doctrine of Christ

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     Yesterday, I walked in on a theological discussion between my husband and our neighbor’s son. First of all, I just love that this young man is as interested in Scripture and figuring out how to live holy lives according to it, as much as we older adults are.  And anytime I’m invited to participate in a conversation about the Bible, you’ll never see me turning it down.
     The discussion they were having centered on Hebrews 6:1-3, and it is, I believe, a much over-looked passage.  Yet it is vital to a Christian’s life, and I daresay, most of our churches don’t teach of its significance and the part it plays in a Believer’s growth and maturity.  So, let’s dive right in, shall we?  Scripture says, “Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ, the Messiah, advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belongs to spiritual maturity.  Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works, and of the faith [by which you turned to God, with teachings about purifying [washings], the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago. If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching]”.
     I want to stop there, and avoid the oft-disputed verses that follow and have become a breeding ground for theological conflict between Calvinists and Arminians as to whether one can lose their salvation. So, I want to stay focused on the importance of these three beginning verses.
    First of all, were you even aware that Christ had a “doctrine”? And did you know the substance of it?  The writer of Hebrews makes it very clear that there is such a doctrine, and practicing it is the elementary stage of our salvation process. Secondly, did you notice the six precepts of Christ’s doctrine?  They are 1) repentance from dead works;  2) faith in God;  3) the purification by washing;  4) the laying on of hands;  5) resurrection from the dead; and 6) eternal judgment and punishment.
     Before we examine each of these and see if we, as the Western Church, understand them fully and have accomplished them, perhaps we need to take a look at what the purpose of a doctrine actually is.  It is my understanding that a doctrine is to set forth a body of teachings according to a specific plan or system.  In this case, Christ has declared that these six precepts are the foundation of reaching a goal of spiritual maturity in Him. Not only are they the introductory stage of our salvation process, but they are to be accomplished in this order before we can go on to “advanced teaching”.
     Have you ever had this explained to you in your Church? I certainly never did, but as I have stepped outside the “box” and let the Holy Spirit lead me, I am seeing these elements of Christ’s doctrine in new and stronger terms.  They are no longer the watered down versions that 2,000 years of man’s manipulative interpretation has wrought!  And I will tell you, that I am humbled by my lack of understanding and I will never again regard them in anything less than the holy reverence they deserve.
     Why has this new discovery [for me, at least] moved me so much?  It is because I now see the power of God in each of these doctrinal precepts that Jesus laid down as our foundation.  They are more than rituals to be marked off our Christian checklist.  They are life to a new Believer and should propel us to greater heights in our Christian walk.  And here is why … true repentance should bring us to our knees, weeping for the offences we have rendered against our holy God.  When we realize how easily we commit the works of our flesh that bring us spiritual death, just saying “I’m sorry, and I won’t do it again” is not enough.  When we can see that, without true repentance, Anger can lead us to Unforgiveness, and Bitterness easily turns to Rage, we see how easily a shallow repentance keeps us in bondage to those spirits that separate us from a holy and righteous life. That’s what Jesus has called us to.  It’s unacceptable to God that we simply “try” to live a righteous life, thinking that He knows we’re human and He expects us to slip up now and then.  No!  A real, life-changing repentance is required to take the next step.
     If you can accomplish a soul-searching, heart-searing repentance, then you can fully appreciate faith in God. You know what it is to trust Him — truly trust Him! — because you know it is only by His power that you can turn away from that sin you just repented for.  You can believe in His promises, and can count on His faithfulness to you.  To live the life that Christ has called us to, it is necessary to have faith in God.  If we claim we trust Him and His power to render us born again, yet continue to sin, then we are being hypocritical, because God is holy.  And if we try to turn away from sin on our own, without trusting Him, then we either fail or become puffed up in pride.  Real faith is an essential part of the foundation of our spiritual journey.
     The concept of “purification by washing” encompasses several things, and it is by the power of God that they are all accomplished.  First, we understand that baptismal immersion is the initial purification, or cleansing, when one comes to faith.  We are washed of our sins; dying to self and rising to Christ, receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Then with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we receive the power to carry out the Great Commission — healing, casting out demons, raising the dead. But we are also cleansed “with the washing of water by the Word.” The Word of God contains power to cleanse our minds and our hearts.  And working in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, the Word cleanses us with a purifying fire that results in a new nature, ready to grow in spiritual maturity.
     The laying on of hands exemplifies both the power of God to heal through us and our touch, and the power He gives to those who have been prayed for and elected to serve Him in the administration of His Kingdom.  And one cannot consider the resurrection of the dead without seeing the power of God in that act.  A Believer’s life becomes pointless without that reality.  If there is no resurrection, then there is no point in living an obedient life.  And the very power that raises one from the dead lives in us, and gives us the ability to defeat the Enemy.  Finally, the resurrection shows us that God is just, and there is an eternal reward for living a righteous and holy life; and there is eternal punishment for rejecting the life God offers.
     In the end, it is the power of God in the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes all of these fundamental principles possible.  And the writer of Hebrews says that these are the “elementary” stages in the teachings of Christ’s doctrines.  In other words, they are the basic, introductory steps in pursing the process of salvation.  He says let us not have to continually return to this “milk” that all Believer’s should have consumed by now.  It’s time to move on to the “advanced” phases of Christ’s doctrine, which would be His high priesthood and His sacrifice.
     Believer’s should understand the power of God in His Kingdom on earth and be approaching the completeness and perfection of walking in the image of Christ.  But how many Christians today truly understand those elementary steps?  How many understand the display of God’s power in repentance? In baptism? How His power can manifest through our faith? Or that He wants to see His power displayed in us raising the dead? And how many truly understand the power that will be evident in His wrath on Judgment Day? These might have been basic steps for Baby Christians in the days of the writer of Hebrews, but I’m afraid we might not past the writer’s test today.  When it comes to the state of our spiritual maturity, I’m afraid we’re a long way off from complete and perfect.

Ephesians 1:19    “and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength”  

What You Need To Know About Waterproofing Your Stockpile

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The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.

That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.

I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.

What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.

Major flooding was not part of my thinking, when I was working out what to store and where to store it. Considering that I live in a hurricane zone, I decided that maybe I need to rethink it.

I have to wonder is any preppers living in Puerto Rico, Florida and the part of Houston that got flooded are really much better off than their neighbors, especially the people of Puerto Rico. While many homes in Puerto Rico are made of cement block, which is pretty much impervious to flooding, the poorer people make their homes of whatever they can. So many of those homes might be made of much less substantive material.

Of course, the people who own those homes probably aren’t preppers anyway.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The reason that I bring this point up, is that the average American home doesn’t stand up well to flooding either. The people who live in the parts of Houston which flooded are left with the need to largely rebuild their homes, as well as replace just about everything that was on the ground floor.

For most of us, this would probably also mean replacing most of our prepping stockpile, especially if we stored it in the basement. Anything left there would certainly be waterlogged after the home flooded.

Not All Waterproofing is the Same

When I first started thinking about this, one of the first things I realized is that not all waterproofing is the same. Let me explain.

Our homes are waterproofed or maybe I should say water resistant, at least from rain. But they are not waterproofed from flooding. They are only water resistant to water falling from the sky. So, when we talk waterproofing, we need to make sure that we understand what we’re talking about.

Basically, there are two different types of water we need to concern ourselves with, both of which can come from a hurricane or storm. One is water falling down, or rain, and the other is water coming up, or flooding. That one has to include the storm surge that a hurricane can cause too.

I’m not sure if there are actual stated levels of waterproofing that apply to a stockpile, but I haven’t seen any. However, I can easily see four different levels of protection that we should consider:

  • Waterproof – You can submerge it in water and it won’t be damaged. Think a sealed can of food.
  • Water resistant – Water can fall on it and it won’t be damaged, as long as the water flows off of it. But, if it is submerged in water, even partially, it will be damaged. Think a roll of TP, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag.
  • Floating – The item itself isn’t waterproof or water resistant, nor is its container, but it will float, without the water being able to soak in. Think supplies in a plastic storage bin.
  • Out of the water’s reach – The item is stored inside a building, so the rain can’t get to it, but high enough off the ground that the flood waters can’t get to it either. Think something sitting in the attic of a two-story home, but only the first story floods.

Our efforts to protect our stockpiles from the water can consist of a combination of these different strategies, depending on the particular item and where we are going to store it in our home. Items stored in the attic might only need to be water resistant or in floating containers, especially since they are probably out of the water’s reach. But items stored in the basement probably have to be waterproof, as any flooding will flood the basement first, so even if it is water resistant or in floating containers, it won’t do any good.

Waterproofing Your Food Stockpile

Now that we’ve established our ground rules, let’s start looking at some specific items. We’ll start with food, because that is the biggest part of any of our stockpiles. Fortunately, the way we package food for long-term storage gives us a great head start.

Much of the food that we buy at the local supermarket is not packed in a way that makes it waterproof, so we repack it for our stockpiles. One of the few things that is truly waterproof is canned goods. Other than the risk of the can rusting through, there is little that can happen to a can to allow water into it.

The problem comes in with dry foods, which make up the bulk of our food stockpiles. Since these foods do not typically come in airproof and insect proof packaging, we typically repack them in five gallon buckets, lined with aluminized Mylar bags. In this process of trying to protect it from bacteria, insects, rodents and oxygen. In the process, we also make it waterproof.

The bigger problem with our food is that these waterproof containers could actually float off, if our home becomes damaged severely enough to allow it.

That may not seem like much of an issue to you, but if you look at photos taken of the results of floods, you’ll see a lot of stuff scattered around, some of that stuff is a whole lot bigger than buckets of food. I distinctly remember seeing video of cars and whole buildings floating away during the tsunami that hit Japan.

So, how can we solve this?

Simply by anchoring our buckets of food in a way that won’t allow them to float off. That can be done by running a chain through their handles and anchoring it to the walls of your basement, or by making your storage room into a cage that will remain intact, even if your home becomes destroyed.

Another way of protecting your food from floating off is to bury some of it.

Five gallon buckets are ideal for burying food, as there’s nothing that will decompose or become damaged by contact with dirt and water, other than the wire handle. But plastic handled buckets won’t even have this problem.

Making Practical Decisions About Waterproofing

The bigger problem isn’t waterproofing your food stockpile, but everything else that you have stockpiled. While some of that might also be in five gallon buckets, which would make it waterproof, most probably isn’t, leaving it vulnerable to damage.

Solving this problem can be extremely challenging, mostly due to the vast volume of other supplies that you might have. In many cases, rather than actually waterproofing the items, you may be able to give it adequate protection, by utilizing one of the other levels.

Take a wood pile, for example. Buying enough waterproof containers to keep your firewood safe from flooding is a big unrealistic. There are few containers that are large enough for more than a few pieces of wood, so it would take an awful lot of container to fully protect your entire stock of firewood. However, chances are that it wouldn’t really need that level of protection.

Before waterproofing anything, you need to determine what level of flooding you are going to protect yourself from. That depends on a combination of the types of floods your area is potentially subject to, and where in your home any particular item in your stockpile will be stored.

If you live near the ocean, where you might have to deal with the storm surge from a hurricane or a tsunami, then you need to consider the highest level that could reach. If you live inland, any flooding you are likely to encounter would be by an overflowing lake or river. How high the water level would be from that depends on the amount of rain falling and the terrain.

Actually, terrain is a very important factor, no matter where you live and what sort of flooding you might be subject to. So as part of your prepping, you need to get topographical maps of your area, including any bodies of water which might cause flooding. From those maps, you can see how high the water would have to rise, before it could get to your home, how much lower-lying land would have to flood first, and hopefully make some determination of some signs that would give you warning about potential flooding.

Technically, your home is flooded if any water running across the ground can get into it. One inch of water is still flooding, just like 20 feet of it is. It’s just that 20 feet of flooding can do more damage.

The other factor to consider, as I mentioned, is where the item is to be stored in your home. Items that are stored in the attic may not need to be waterproofed, simply water resistant, because they won’t be submerged in water. If your roof becomes damaged, those items may get rained on, but chances are they won’t be submerged. If they are, it would mean that your home was totally destroyed and you probably wouldn’t be able to find those items anyway.

Basement Storage

People who have a basement tend to put their stockpiles there. I agree from the viewpoint of food, as food is already going to be packed in waterproof containers. Therefore, it will survive any level of flooding you are likely to encounter.

But not all your food should be stored in your basement, simply because it will also be the part of your home which retains water the longest. So, you might be in your home and needing to make repairs, but unable to get to your food supply. A few buckets of food, stored in a closet or laundry room could make all the difference in that situation.

Second Floor Storage

If you own a two-story home, you have an advantage over those who only have a one-story home.

I have seen many flood situations where the first story of the homes is flooded almost up to the ceiling, but the second story is dry.

If there is enough advance notice of the pending flood, furniture and other items can be moved from the first floor to the second, in order to protect them from damage.

This advantage also works for your prepping stockpile. The buckets of food that I was just talking about keeping out of the basement can most effectively be stored on the second floor of the home, protecting them from flooding, while keeping them accessible.

Attic Storage

I store a fair number of supplies in my attic, although I do not store food there. Anything stored in the attic has to be more of less impervious to heat, and food isn’t. However, many other supplies are. In this case, the supplies can be made water resistant, rather than waterproofed.

My wife has put in a good stock of toilet paper, enough to last us over a year, even if our kids come back home. That is left in its original plastic packaging and then placed in large plastic trash bags (55 gallon bags), which are sealed with packing tape. While this is not fully waterproofed, it is highly water resistant and will float. Until the water attacked the tape for long enough to destroy the adhesive, it is essentially waterproof.

Most of the other items we have stored in the attic are stored in plastic storage bins. These also have the lids held on by packing tape, but not to make them waterproof, but rather to keep the kids from coming off.

As these bins will float (we get rid of ones that are cracked or have holes in them), everything stored in them is fairly water resistant, unless the house is totally underwater, preventing the bins from floating.

There Are Limits

Keep in mind that there are limits to what you are going to be able to do. One of my big concerns is my workshop, which is in my garage. There is no realistic way of keeping my tools in waterproof containers, as I use them regularly.

All I can hope is that the doors of the garage aren’t breached and that my tools will all be there when everything is said and done.

Another area that is limited is bulk storage of things like firewood. There is just no practical way of storing large amounts of firewood in a way that is waterproof. The best that you can hope for is that the flooding isn’t so bad that it floats the wood out of the storage racks.

As long as the wood stays there, it can be dried out and used, after the flooding is over. Hopefully, the top of the wood pile won’t get wet, so will be usable.

Now you should be able to fix the way you keep your stockpile so you and your family would stay safe. But if you lose it, would be able to survive without it?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

What You Need To Know About Waterproofing Your Stockpile

The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.

That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.

I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.

What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.

Major flooding was not part of my thinking, when I was working out what to store and where to store it. Considering that I live in a hurricane zone, I decided that maybe I need to rethink it.

I have to wonder is any preppers living in Puerto Rico, Florida and the part of Houston that got flooded are really much better off than their neighbors, especially the people of Puerto Rico. While many homes in Puerto Rico are made of cement block, which is pretty much impervious to flooding, the poorer people make their homes of whatever they can. So many of those homes might be made of much less substantive material.

Of course, the people who own those homes probably aren’t preppers anyway.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The reason that I bring this point up, is that the average American home doesn’t stand up well to flooding either. The people who live in the parts of Houston which flooded are left with the need to largely rebuild their homes, as well as replace just about everything that was on the ground floor.

For most of us, this would probably also mean replacing most of our prepping stockpile, especially if we stored it in the basement. Anything left there would certainly be waterlogged after the home flooded.

Not All Waterproofing is the Same

When I first started thinking about this, one of the first things I realized is that not all waterproofing is the same. Let me explain.

Our homes are waterproofed or maybe I should say water resistant, at least from rain. But they are not waterproofed from flooding. They are only water resistant to water falling from the sky. So, when we talk waterproofing, we need to make sure that we understand what we’re talking about.

Basically, there are two different types of water we need to concern ourselves with, both of which can come from a hurricane or storm. One is water falling down, or rain, and the other is water coming up, or flooding. That one has to include the storm surge that a hurricane can cause too.

I’m not sure if there are actual stated levels of waterproofing that apply to a stockpile, but I haven’t seen any. However, I can easily see four different levels of protection that we should consider:

  • Waterproof – You can submerge it in water and it won’t be damaged. Think a sealed can of food.
  • Water resistant – Water can fall on it and it won’t be damaged, as long as the water flows off of it. But, if it is submerged in water, even partially, it will be damaged. Think a roll of TP, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag.
  • Floating – The item itself isn’t waterproof or water resistant, nor is its container, but it will float, without the water being able to soak in. Think supplies in a plastic storage bin.
  • Out of the water’s reach – The item is stored inside a building, so the rain can’t get to it, but high enough off the ground that the flood waters can’t get to it either. Think something sitting in the attic of a two-story home, but only the first story floods.

Our efforts to protect our stockpiles from the water can consist of a combination of these different strategies, depending on the particular item and where we are going to store it in our home. Items stored in the attic might only need to be water resistant or in floating containers, especially since they are probably out of the water’s reach. But items stored in the basement probably have to be waterproof, as any flooding will flood the basement first, so even if it is water resistant or in floating containers, it won’t do any good.

Waterproofing Your Food Stockpile

Now that we’ve established our ground rules, let’s start looking at some specific items. We’ll start with food, because that is the biggest part of any of our stockpiles. Fortunately, the way we package food for long-term storage gives us a great head start.

Much of the food that we buy at the local supermarket is not packed in a way that makes it waterproof, so we repack it for our stockpiles. One of the few things that is truly waterproof is canned goods. Other than the risk of the can rusting through, there is little that can happen to a can to allow water into it.

The problem comes in with dry foods, which make up the bulk of our food stockpiles. Since these foods do not typically come in airproof and insect proof packaging, we typically repack them in five gallon buckets, lined with aluminized Mylar bags. In this process of trying to protect it from bacteria, insects, rodents and oxygen. In the process, we also make it waterproof.

The bigger problem with our food is that these waterproof containers could actually float off, if our home becomes damaged severely enough to allow it.

That may not seem like much of an issue to you, but if you look at photos taken of the results of floods, you’ll see a lot of stuff scattered around, some of that stuff is a whole lot bigger than buckets of food. I distinctly remember seeing video of cars and whole buildings floating away during the tsunami that hit Japan.

So, how can we solve this?

Simply by anchoring our buckets of food in a way that won’t allow them to float off. That can be done by running a chain through their handles and anchoring it to the walls of your basement, or by making your storage room into a cage that will remain intact, even if your home becomes destroyed.

Another way of protecting your food from floating off is to bury some of it.

Five gallon buckets are ideal for burying food, as there’s nothing that will decompose or become damaged by contact with dirt and water, other than the wire handle. But plastic handled buckets won’t even have this problem.

Making Practical Decisions About Waterproofing

The bigger problem isn’t waterproofing your food stockpile, but everything else that you have stockpiled. While some of that might also be in five gallon buckets, which would make it waterproof, most probably isn’t, leaving it vulnerable to damage.

Solving this problem can be extremely challenging, mostly due to the vast volume of other supplies that you might have. In many cases, rather than actually waterproofing the items, you may be able to give it adequate protection, by utilizing one of the other levels.

Take a wood pile, for example. Buying enough waterproof containers to keep your firewood safe from flooding is a big unrealistic. There are few containers that are large enough for more than a few pieces of wood, so it would take an awful lot of container to fully protect your entire stock of firewood. However, chances are that it wouldn’t really need that level of protection.

Before waterproofing anything, you need to determine what level of flooding you are going to protect yourself from. That depends on a combination of the types of floods your area is potentially subject to, and where in your home any particular item in your stockpile will be stored.

If you live near the ocean, where you might have to deal with the storm surge from a hurricane or a tsunami, then you need to consider the highest level that could reach. If you live inland, any flooding you are likely to encounter would be by an overflowing lake or river. How high the water level would be from that depends on the amount of rain falling and the terrain.

Actually, terrain is a very important factor, no matter where you live and what sort of flooding you might be subject to. So as part of your prepping, you need to get topographical maps of your area, including any bodies of water which might cause flooding. From those maps, you can see how high the water would have to rise, before it could get to your home, how much lower-lying land would have to flood first, and hopefully make some determination of some signs that would give you warning about potential flooding.

Technically, your home is flooded if any water running across the ground can get into it. One inch of water is still flooding, just like 20 feet of it is. It’s just that 20 feet of flooding can do more damage.

The other factor to consider, as I mentioned, is where the item is to be stored in your home. Items that are stored in the attic may not need to be waterproofed, simply water resistant, because they won’t be submerged in water. If your roof becomes damaged, those items may get rained on, but chances are they won’t be submerged. If they are, it would mean that your home was totally destroyed and you probably wouldn’t be able to find those items anyway.

Basement Storage

People who have a basement tend to put their stockpiles there. I agree from the viewpoint of food, as food is already going to be packed in waterproof containers. Therefore, it will survive any level of flooding you are likely to encounter.

But not all your food should be stored in your basement, simply because it will also be the part of your home which retains water the longest. So, you might be in your home and needing to make repairs, but unable to get to your food supply. A few buckets of food, stored in a closet or laundry room could make all the difference in that situation.

Second Floor Storage

If you own a two-story home, you have an advantage over those who only have a one-story home.

I have seen many flood situations where the first story of the homes is flooded almost up to the ceiling, but the second story is dry.

If there is enough advance notice of the pending flood, furniture and other items can be moved from the first floor to the second, in order to protect them from damage.

This advantage also works for your prepping stockpile. The buckets of food that I was just talking about keeping out of the basement can most effectively be stored on the second floor of the home, protecting them from flooding, while keeping them accessible.

Attic Storage

I store a fair number of supplies in my attic, although I do not store food there. Anything stored in the attic has to be more of less impervious to heat, and food isn’t. However, many other supplies are. In this case, the supplies can be made water resistant, rather than waterproofed.

My wife has put in a good stock of toilet paper, enough to last us over a year, even if our kids come back home. That is left in its original plastic packaging and then placed in large plastic trash bags (55 gallon bags), which are sealed with packing tape. While this is not fully waterproofed, it is highly water resistant and will float. Until the water attacked the tape for long enough to destroy the adhesive, it is essentially waterproof.

Most of the other items we have stored in the attic are stored in plastic storage bins. These also have the lids held on by packing tape, but not to make them waterproof, but rather to keep the kids from coming off.

As these bins will float (we get rid of ones that are cracked or have holes in them), everything stored in them is fairly water resistant, unless the house is totally underwater, preventing the bins from floating.

There Are Limits

Keep in mind that there are limits to what you are going to be able to do. One of my big concerns is my workshop, which is in my garage. There is no realistic way of keeping my tools in waterproof containers, as I use them regularly.

All I can hope is that the doors of the garage aren’t breached and that my tools will all be there when everything is said and done.

Another area that is limited is bulk storage of things like firewood. There is just no practical way of storing large amounts of firewood in a way that is waterproof. The best that you can hope for is that the flooding isn’t so bad that it floats the wood out of the storage racks.

As long as the wood stays there, it can be dried out and used, after the flooding is over. Hopefully, the top of the wood pile won’t get wet, so will be usable.

Now you should be able to fix the way you keep your stockpile so you and your family would stay safe. But if you lose it, would be able to survive without it?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

What You Need To Know About Waterproofing Your Stockpile

The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.

That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.

I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.

What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.

Major flooding was not part of my thinking, when I was working out what to store and where to store it. Considering that I live in a hurricane zone, I decided that maybe I need to rethink it.

I have to wonder is any preppers living in Puerto Rico, Florida and the part of Houston that got flooded are really much better off than their neighbors, especially the people of Puerto Rico. While many homes in Puerto Rico are made of cement block, which is pretty much impervious to flooding, the poorer people make their homes of whatever they can. So many of those homes might be made of much less substantive material.

Of course, the people who own those homes probably aren’t preppers anyway.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The reason that I bring this point up, is that the average American home doesn’t stand up well to flooding either. The people who live in the parts of Houston which flooded are left with the need to largely rebuild their homes, as well as replace just about everything that was on the ground floor.

For most of us, this would probably also mean replacing most of our prepping stockpile, especially if we stored it in the basement. Anything left there would certainly be waterlogged after the home flooded.

Not All Waterproofing is the Same

When I first started thinking about this, one of the first things I realized is that not all waterproofing is the same. Let me explain.

Our homes are waterproofed or maybe I should say water resistant, at least from rain. But they are not waterproofed from flooding. They are only water resistant to water falling from the sky. So, when we talk waterproofing, we need to make sure that we understand what we’re talking about.

Basically, there are two different types of water we need to concern ourselves with, both of which can come from a hurricane or storm. One is water falling down, or rain, and the other is water coming up, or flooding. That one has to include the storm surge that a hurricane can cause too.

I’m not sure if there are actual stated levels of waterproofing that apply to a stockpile, but I haven’t seen any. However, I can easily see four different levels of protection that we should consider:

  • Waterproof – You can submerge it in water and it won’t be damaged. Think a sealed can of food.
  • Water resistant – Water can fall on it and it won’t be damaged, as long as the water flows off of it. But, if it is submerged in water, even partially, it will be damaged. Think a roll of TP, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag.
  • Floating – The item itself isn’t waterproof or water resistant, nor is its container, but it will float, without the water being able to soak in. Think supplies in a plastic storage bin.
  • Out of the water’s reach – The item is stored inside a building, so the rain can’t get to it, but high enough off the ground that the flood waters can’t get to it either. Think something sitting in the attic of a two-story home, but only the first story floods.

Our efforts to protect our stockpiles from the water can consist of a combination of these different strategies, depending on the particular item and where we are going to store it in our home. Items stored in the attic might only need to be water resistant or in floating containers, especially since they are probably out of the water’s reach. But items stored in the basement probably have to be waterproof, as any flooding will flood the basement first, so even if it is water resistant or in floating containers, it won’t do any good.

Waterproofing Your Food Stockpile

Now that we’ve established our ground rules, let’s start looking at some specific items. We’ll start with food, because that is the biggest part of any of our stockpiles. Fortunately, the way we package food for long-term storage gives us a great head start.

Much of the food that we buy at the local supermarket is not packed in a way that makes it waterproof, so we repack it for our stockpiles. One of the few things that is truly waterproof is canned goods. Other than the risk of the can rusting through, there is little that can happen to a can to allow water into it.

The problem comes in with dry foods, which make up the bulk of our food stockpiles. Since these foods do not typically come in airproof and insect proof packaging, we typically repack them in five gallon buckets, lined with aluminized Mylar bags. In this process of trying to protect it from bacteria, insects, rodents and oxygen. In the process, we also make it waterproof.

The bigger problem with our food is that these waterproof containers could actually float off, if our home becomes damaged severely enough to allow it.

That may not seem like much of an issue to you, but if you look at photos taken of the results of floods, you’ll see a lot of stuff scattered around, some of that stuff is a whole lot bigger than buckets of food. I distinctly remember seeing video of cars and whole buildings floating away during the tsunami that hit Japan.

So, how can we solve this?

Simply by anchoring our buckets of food in a way that won’t allow them to float off. That can be done by running a chain through their handles and anchoring it to the walls of your basement, or by making your storage room into a cage that will remain intact, even if your home becomes destroyed.

Another way of protecting your food from floating off is to bury some of it.

Five gallon buckets are ideal for burying food, as there’s nothing that will decompose or become damaged by contact with dirt and water, other than the wire handle. But plastic handled buckets won’t even have this problem.

Making Practical Decisions About Waterproofing

The bigger problem isn’t waterproofing your food stockpile, but everything else that you have stockpiled. While some of that might also be in five gallon buckets, which would make it waterproof, most probably isn’t, leaving it vulnerable to damage.

Solving this problem can be extremely challenging, mostly due to the vast volume of other supplies that you might have. In many cases, rather than actually waterproofing the items, you may be able to give it adequate protection, by utilizing one of the other levels.

Take a wood pile, for example. Buying enough waterproof containers to keep your firewood safe from flooding is a big unrealistic. There are few containers that are large enough for more than a few pieces of wood, so it would take an awful lot of container to fully protect your entire stock of firewood. However, chances are that it wouldn’t really need that level of protection.

Before waterproofing anything, you need to determine what level of flooding you are going to protect yourself from. That depends on a combination of the types of floods your area is potentially subject to, and where in your home any particular item in your stockpile will be stored.

If you live near the ocean, where you might have to deal with the storm surge from a hurricane or a tsunami, then you need to consider the highest level that could reach. If you live inland, any flooding you are likely to encounter would be by an overflowing lake or river. How high the water level would be from that depends on the amount of rain falling and the terrain.

Actually, terrain is a very important factor, no matter where you live and what sort of flooding you might be subject to. So as part of your prepping, you need to get topographical maps of your area, including any bodies of water which might cause flooding. From those maps, you can see how high the water would have to rise, before it could get to your home, how much lower-lying land would have to flood first, and hopefully make some determination of some signs that would give you warning about potential flooding.

Technically, your home is flooded if any water running across the ground can get into it. One inch of water is still flooding, just like 20 feet of it is. It’s just that 20 feet of flooding can do more damage.

The other factor to consider, as I mentioned, is where the item is to be stored in your home. Items that are stored in the attic may not need to be waterproofed, simply water resistant, because they won’t be submerged in water. If your roof becomes damaged, those items may get rained on, but chances are they won’t be submerged. If they are, it would mean that your home was totally destroyed and you probably wouldn’t be able to find those items anyway.

Basement Storage

People who have a basement tend to put their stockpiles there. I agree from the viewpoint of food, as food is already going to be packed in waterproof containers. Therefore, it will survive any level of flooding you are likely to encounter.

But not all your food should be stored in your basement, simply because it will also be the part of your home which retains water the longest. So, you might be in your home and needing to make repairs, but unable to get to your food supply. A few buckets of food, stored in a closet or laundry room could make all the difference in that situation.

Second Floor Storage

If you own a two-story home, you have an advantage over those who only have a one-story home.

I have seen many flood situations where the first story of the homes is flooded almost up to the ceiling, but the second story is dry.

If there is enough advance notice of the pending flood, furniture and other items can be moved from the first floor to the second, in order to protect them from damage.

This advantage also works for your prepping stockpile. The buckets of food that I was just talking about keeping out of the basement can most effectively be stored on the second floor of the home, protecting them from flooding, while keeping them accessible.

Attic Storage

I store a fair number of supplies in my attic, although I do not store food there. Anything stored in the attic has to be more of less impervious to heat, and food isn’t. However, many other supplies are. In this case, the supplies can be made water resistant, rather than waterproofed.

My wife has put in a good stock of toilet paper, enough to last us over a year, even if our kids come back home. That is left in its original plastic packaging and then placed in large plastic trash bags (55 gallon bags), which are sealed with packing tape. While this is not fully waterproofed, it is highly water resistant and will float. Until the water attacked the tape for long enough to destroy the adhesive, it is essentially waterproof.

Most of the other items we have stored in the attic are stored in plastic storage bins. These also have the lids held on by packing tape, but not to make them waterproof, but rather to keep the kids from coming off.

As these bins will float (we get rid of ones that are cracked or have holes in them), everything stored in them is fairly water resistant, unless the house is totally underwater, preventing the bins from floating.

There Are Limits

Keep in mind that there are limits to what you are going to be able to do. One of my big concerns is my workshop, which is in my garage. There is no realistic way of keeping my tools in waterproof containers, as I use them regularly.

All I can hope is that the doors of the garage aren’t breached and that my tools will all be there when everything is said and done.

Another area that is limited is bulk storage of things like firewood. There is just no practical way of storing large amounts of firewood in a way that is waterproof. The best that you can hope for is that the flooding isn’t so bad that it floats the wood out of the storage racks.

As long as the wood stays there, it can be dried out and used, after the flooding is over. Hopefully, the top of the wood pile won’t get wet, so will be usable.

Now you should be able to fix the way you keep your stockpile so you and your family would stay safe. But if you lose it, would be able to survive without it?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Best Books for Your Preparedness Library

Click here to view the original post.

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest contribution from valknut79 to The Prepper Journal.  The opinions expressed herein are his and should generate a lot of comments as we all have our favorites on this subject. 

When the world as we know it comes crashing down, I think we all know the value of a farmer or an architect, and the value of a sharpshooter or outdoorsman.  Once things start to settle down again, I think that the value of a storyteller suddenly grows in importance, and a certain level of entertainment once again becomes an expected and valued part of society.  In ancient times, oral histories were a way of passing down stories certainly, but they also had great value in terms of teaching important lessons, changing perspectives, building communities, and bringing people together.

     

As a high school English teacher by trade, I firmly believe in the power and the value of having a good library at home.  A book can provide knowledge or wisdom, companionship and life lessons, and can help you develop a lot of self-knowledge as well.  Here are my suggestions for books that would be potentially very valuable for preppers to own and read before, during and after an SHTF situation.

Pulp Fiction Collections

Pulp fiction is a specialized genre of literature that was particularly popular in the early part of the 20th century, referring to short stories that were published in literary magazines of the time.  My personal favorites are the Conan stories of Robert E Howard, the action-adventure stories of Tarzan and John Carter by Edgar Rice Burroughs, anything by HP Lovecraft, or while technically too early for their period but filling a similar role, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan DoyleIsaac Asimov is also considered part of this genre, and does good work with science fiction.

      

These stories, which are all freely available online or available in collections at Barnes and Noble for a fair price, are not perfectly written.  Some reflect their times a little too accurately and are borderline racist or misogynist (especially Howard), and may not necessarily speak to everyone in a modern audience.  That said, these are the perfect campfire stories, and the plot, pacing, and occasional bits of character development are masterful. I equate these stories to a TV episode or sitcom – most are independent adventures that tell a complete story within 20 or 30 pages – and have a certain panache and style that I believe would suit the kind of stories you’d tell your buddies after an SHTF situation.  A take-no-nonsense hero who solves his problems with his great bran, superior intelligence, or tremendous cunning makes a simple and uplifting story that I think would inspire in a difficult situation.

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

High Fantasy is a take-it-or-leave-it genre for most readers.  While I tend to lean on the leave-it side, I cannot underestimate the importance and the power of the Wheel of Time series.  This 15-book series (including the prequel) is easily the longest series I’d ever consider recommending, especially considering that each of the novels in the series is two to three times as long as your average best-seller.  As a series of great length, this is not the kind of series you can undertake lightly, but the payoff is very worthwhile.

The length and depth of the series, however, is not what makes it a recommended read for preppers.  At its core, the Wheel of Time series is about accepting that the world as we know it today is not going to last.  The end is near for these characters, and they know it. The individual reactions of each are predictable (these are the heroes after all), but may be illuminating and inspiring for those in your group who are not prepared for the worst.

Ultimately, the plot line follows the main character of the series as he struggles to identify with his destiny as someone who simultaneous destroys the world and saves it, and through the books he does come to realize that whether in living or dying, it’s important to keep fighting, to leave the world a better place than he found it, and to help build a legacy of which he can be proud.  The wide variety of characters add color and supply a steady stream of small pearls of wisdom and inspiration throughout, and many of them have become closer friends than some of the real people I interact with every day.  Those are lessons that every prepper should understand and appreciate, even if the format of these books may be too much for many to handle.

Shortly after I finished reading this series, one of my students was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.  She was understandably devastated.  I chose the first book in this series to give her, telling her at the time that, whether you like it or not, sometimes you just have to buckle down, accept what life gives you, and try to do your best anyways.  She lived her life according to those principles, and I like to think that perhaps this had some part in her emotional recovery.

And if you don’t like, it, you’ll have a year’s supply of toilet paper in the bindings.

  

Walden by Henry David Thoreau 

Thoreau’s classic, Walden, also finds a spot close to the top of my list.  While his seminal essay on living life alone near a pond is sometimes very difficult to read and often highly opinionated towards minimalist ideals that may have preppers shaking their fists, Walden is, first and foremost, a story about learning to live a simpler life, being self-sufficient, and largely doing things your own way.  Preparedness is a lifestyle that so often leans towards an old-fashioned lifestyle, “useless” life skills like learning to make a fire or build a shelter, and Walden remains one of the most important stories of a life led largely apart from society, convention and modern convenience.  There is an illustrated hardcover version produced by Fall Creek Press which is often on sale for less than $10.

Life as We Knew It (series) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Anyone who interacts with or parents teenagers knows of their penchant for being completely addicted to technology and instantaneous communication, knowledge and results, and their general disdain for the lifestyle of preparedness.  I find that the best way to start in interest in, or even a conversation about prepping might be to start with introducing your teens (and perhaps even your significant other) to the Life as We Knew It series.  This story, written from the perspective of a teenage girl’s diary, chronicles an SHTF situation which involves a disruption of tidal patterns.  This is perhaps not the most realistic novel, but in terms of story, pacing and plot, it does a very good job of not only entertaining, but also informing and getting the mental gears turning.  I think that this book more than any other SHTF novel I’ve experienced yet, will get teens talking about what they’d do in a crisis situation, how they’d adapt, and what they may be willing to look into now in order to help out later.

This book is part of a series, but I found the first novel to be far and away the best, while the later entries suffered.  If you try it and like it a great deal, consider getting the sequels.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

If there is one person who represents what it truly means to be American, I think that it might have to be Benjamin Franklin.  He remains perhaps the most approachable of all historical figures from that time period, and it’s not hard to imagine sitting down with him at the pub with a glass of his favorite Madeira wine and showing him the marvels of the internet age.  His Autobiography, while widely characterized as a too-heavily edited version of his life, does make for a entertaining read, but also one that has the potential to teach a variety of life lessons.

From his famous treatises on moral perfection, which systematizes Franklin’s own attempts to better himself, to his carefully worded passages on industry, in which he makes a very distinct point to say that appearing to be industrious is just as important as actually being that way, this book characterizes a simple, learned way of life that focuses on community and service to others.  Whether you see him as a fatherly scientist entrusting his lessons to a younger generation, or one of America’s greatest libertines and con men, the Autobiography is a book about building a new society from nothing, improving it far beyond what it was in former times, and at least ostensibly, doing so while preserving a hard-working character and social graces.  It’s not hard to see this man as a potential prepper or as someone you’d want by your side in an SHTF situation.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton

“Now” is actually a book about business leadership more than anything, but it has strong applicable life lessons that preppers could benefit from.

The ultimate thesis about this book is very simple – do what you’re good at, because you can’t be truly well-rounded – and goes through the identification of your individual strengths, a description of the science behind Strengths-Based psychology, and has a section on how you can work around your weaknesses (or areas of “non-talent”).  This is one the books that I think has most influenced my personal development, and is a valuable reminder to those who are the do-all types that want to pursue 75 different hobbies without specializing that this is a course of action that is designed to fail.  This may not be the most entertaining book in the list, but is one of the foundational reads that I recommend to anyone attempting to learn or better themselves.

This is the one book I’d recommend purchasing new rather than used – it comes with a one-time-use online code to take the “StrengthsFinder” test from Gallup, which is the method you’ll use to identify your Top 5 Talent areas.

  

Narrowing down a list of books for a preparedness library is impossible without imposing certain qualifications.  I did not include cookbooks, survival skills books, or any strictly informational books on subjects like gardening, camping, farming, and raising chickens.  Those are, in my opinion, quite obvious choices for preppers and so abundant that you can just pick up a huge quantity at a local library book sale without being overly picky about gathering specific volumes.  These are stories, whether strictly for entertainment or for improvement through gaining wisdom.

These are not all personal favorites, and do not necessarily represent a wide variety of literary styles, but do have what I would consider to be valuable life lessons that reflect a “prepared” lifestyle.  I did attempt to focus on books that are uplifting – while I do love a good murder mystery or horror title now and again, I think that an SHTF situation requires a little tact – and these stories also have a certain element of timelessness or classicists to them.  One hundred years from now, I think there will still be those who love Conan and friends as much as I do now.

That said, my library is constantly growing, and I’m always open to learning about new books to add to my collection.  What books do you consider indispensable?

 

The post Best Books for Your Preparedness Library appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Best Books for Your Preparedness Library

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest contribution from valknut79 to The Prepper Journal.  The opinions expressed herein are his and should generate a lot of comments as we all have our favorites on this subject. 

When the world as we know it comes crashing down, I think we all know the value of a farmer or an architect, and the value of a sharpshooter or outdoorsman.  Once things start to settle down again, I think that the value of a storyteller suddenly grows in importance, and a certain level of entertainment once again becomes an expected and valued part of society.  In ancient times, oral histories were a way of passing down stories certainly, but they also had great value in terms of teaching important lessons, changing perspectives, building communities, and bringing people together.

     

As a high school English teacher by trade, I firmly believe in the power and the value of having a good library at home.  A book can provide knowledge or wisdom, companionship and life lessons, and can help you develop a lot of self-knowledge as well.  Here are my suggestions for books that would be potentially very valuable for preppers to own and read before, during and after an SHTF situation.

Pulp Fiction Collections

Pulp fiction is a specialized genre of literature that was particularly popular in the early part of the 20th century, referring to short stories that were published in literary magazines of the time.  My personal favorites are the Conan stories of Robert E Howard, the action-adventure stories of Tarzan and John Carter by Edgar Rice Burroughs, anything by HP Lovecraft, or while technically too early for their period but filling a similar role, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan DoyleIsaac Asimov is also considered part of this genre, and does good work with science fiction.

      

These stories, which are all freely available online or available in collections at Barnes and Noble for a fair price, are not perfectly written.  Some reflect their times a little too accurately and are borderline racist or misogynist (especially Howard), and may not necessarily speak to everyone in a modern audience.  That said, these are the perfect campfire stories, and the plot, pacing, and occasional bits of character development are masterful. I equate these stories to a TV episode or sitcom – most are independent adventures that tell a complete story within 20 or 30 pages – and have a certain panache and style that I believe would suit the kind of stories you’d tell your buddies after an SHTF situation.  A take-no-nonsense hero who solves his problems with his great bran, superior intelligence, or tremendous cunning makes a simple and uplifting story that I think would inspire in a difficult situation.

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

High Fantasy is a take-it-or-leave-it genre for most readers.  While I tend to lean on the leave-it side, I cannot underestimate the importance and the power of the Wheel of Time series.  This 15-book series (including the prequel) is easily the longest series I’d ever consider recommending, especially considering that each of the novels in the series is two to three times as long as your average best-seller.  As a series of great length, this is not the kind of series you can undertake lightly, but the payoff is very worthwhile.

The length and depth of the series, however, is not what makes it a recommended read for preppers.  At its core, the Wheel of Time series is about accepting that the world as we know it today is not going to last.  The end is near for these characters, and they know it. The individual reactions of each are predictable (these are the heroes after all), but may be illuminating and inspiring for those in your group who are not prepared for the worst.

Ultimately, the plot line follows the main character of the series as he struggles to identify with his destiny as someone who simultaneous destroys the world and saves it, and through the books he does come to realize that whether in living or dying, it’s important to keep fighting, to leave the world a better place than he found it, and to help build a legacy of which he can be proud.  The wide variety of characters add color and supply a steady stream of small pearls of wisdom and inspiration throughout, and many of them have become closer friends than some of the real people I interact with every day.  Those are lessons that every prepper should understand and appreciate, even if the format of these books may be too much for many to handle.

Shortly after I finished reading this series, one of my students was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.  She was understandably devastated.  I chose the first book in this series to give her, telling her at the time that, whether you like it or not, sometimes you just have to buckle down, accept what life gives you, and try to do your best anyways.  She lived her life according to those principles, and I like to think that perhaps this had some part in her emotional recovery.

And if you don’t like, it, you’ll have a year’s supply of toilet paper in the bindings.

  

Walden by Henry David Thoreau 

Thoreau’s classic, Walden, also finds a spot close to the top of my list.  While his seminal essay on living life alone near a pond is sometimes very difficult to read and often highly opinionated towards minimalist ideals that may have preppers shaking their fists, Walden is, first and foremost, a story about learning to live a simpler life, being self-sufficient, and largely doing things your own way.  Preparedness is a lifestyle that so often leans towards an old-fashioned lifestyle, “useless” life skills like learning to make a fire or build a shelter, and Walden remains one of the most important stories of a life led largely apart from society, convention and modern convenience.  There is an illustrated hardcover version produced by Fall Creek Press which is often on sale for less than $10.

Life as We Knew It (series) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Anyone who interacts with or parents teenagers knows of their penchant for being completely addicted to technology and instantaneous communication, knowledge and results, and their general disdain for the lifestyle of preparedness.  I find that the best way to start in interest in, or even a conversation about prepping might be to start with introducing your teens (and perhaps even your significant other) to the Life as We Knew It series.  This story, written from the perspective of a teenage girl’s diary, chronicles an SHTF situation which involves a disruption of tidal patterns.  This is perhaps not the most realistic novel, but in terms of story, pacing and plot, it does a very good job of not only entertaining, but also informing and getting the mental gears turning.  I think that this book more than any other SHTF novel I’ve experienced yet, will get teens talking about what they’d do in a crisis situation, how they’d adapt, and what they may be willing to look into now in order to help out later.

This book is part of a series, but I found the first novel to be far and away the best, while the later entries suffered.  If you try it and like it a great deal, consider getting the sequels.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

If there is one person who represents what it truly means to be American, I think that it might have to be Benjamin Franklin.  He remains perhaps the most approachable of all historical figures from that time period, and it’s not hard to imagine sitting down with him at the pub with a glass of his favorite Madeira wine and showing him the marvels of the internet age.  His Autobiography, while widely characterized as a too-heavily edited version of his life, does make for a entertaining read, but also one that has the potential to teach a variety of life lessons.

From his famous treatises on moral perfection, which systematizes Franklin’s own attempts to better himself, to his carefully worded passages on industry, in which he makes a very distinct point to say that appearing to be industrious is just as important as actually being that way, this book characterizes a simple, learned way of life that focuses on community and service to others.  Whether you see him as a fatherly scientist entrusting his lessons to a younger generation, or one of America’s greatest libertines and con men, the Autobiography is a book about building a new society from nothing, improving it far beyond what it was in former times, and at least ostensibly, doing so while preserving a hard-working character and social graces.  It’s not hard to see this man as a potential prepper or as someone you’d want by your side in an SHTF situation.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton

“Now” is actually a book about business leadership more than anything, but it has strong applicable life lessons that preppers could benefit from.

The ultimate thesis about this book is very simple – do what you’re good at, because you can’t be truly well-rounded – and goes through the identification of your individual strengths, a description of the science behind Strengths-Based psychology, and has a section on how you can work around your weaknesses (or areas of “non-talent”).  This is one the books that I think has most influenced my personal development, and is a valuable reminder to those who are the do-all types that want to pursue 75 different hobbies without specializing that this is a course of action that is designed to fail.  This may not be the most entertaining book in the list, but is one of the foundational reads that I recommend to anyone attempting to learn or better themselves.

This is the one book I’d recommend purchasing new rather than used – it comes with a one-time-use online code to take the “StrengthsFinder” test from Gallup, which is the method you’ll use to identify your Top 5 Talent areas.

  

Narrowing down a list of books for a preparedness library is impossible without imposing certain qualifications.  I did not include cookbooks, survival skills books, or any strictly informational books on subjects like gardening, camping, farming, and raising chickens.  Those are, in my opinion, quite obvious choices for preppers and so abundant that you can just pick up a huge quantity at a local library book sale without being overly picky about gathering specific volumes.  These are stories, whether strictly for entertainment or for improvement through gaining wisdom.

These are not all personal favorites, and do not necessarily represent a wide variety of literary styles, but do have what I would consider to be valuable life lessons that reflect a “prepared” lifestyle.  I did attempt to focus on books that are uplifting – while I do love a good murder mystery or horror title now and again, I think that an SHTF situation requires a little tact – and these stories also have a certain element of timelessness or classicists to them.  One hundred years from now, I think there will still be those who love Conan and friends as much as I do now.

That said, my library is constantly growing, and I’m always open to learning about new books to add to my collection.  What books do you consider indispensable?

 

The post Best Books for Your Preparedness Library appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How To Have Clean Laundry When The Power Is Off

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Are you ready to see how to have clean laundry when the power is off? We will all lose power at one time or another, so we may as well be ready with the tools to at least have some clean underwear. I told Mark I won’t be hand-washing his jeans, just giving you the head-ups here. If and when we lose power I’m prepared to wash our clothes, lots of clothes. Oh, did I mention we need to be able to dry our clothes as well? Yep, I have a clothesline, clothespins and a heavy duty Amish made wooden clothes drying rack. I bought it from a store in Ohio, called Lehman’s Hardware Store. It’s my dream to go visit that store one day. Wooden Clothes Dryer

Here’s the deal, everytime we walk into our laundry room and throw a batch of clothes in the electric washing machine, and then throw them in the dryer, life is good. We have fresh clean clothes within a few hours. I remember as a young girl hanging up our bed sheets on a clothesline outside and watching them blow in the wind. We had a bag that held the clothespins and a rather large laundry basket to carry the wet clothes outside.

We never used fabric softener, although the towels could have used it because they felt so rough and stiff. I want to put all of my emergency laundry ideas into one post for my readers to see some options they may be able to use.

Clean Laundry Ideas

Laundry Wash Buckets

These are fairly cheap and you can find them at most hardware stores. The washboard I found at a thrift / antique store. I bought the brand Behrens Wash Tubs and they sell a Washboard as well.

clean laundry

Laundry Buckets

I made a portable washing machine with two-5-gallon buckets and drilled holes in the inside bucket. I purchased a Mobile Washer and made two complete sets. One for washing and one for rinsing. You use very little detergent and you can wash a few items fairly well. I gave a neighbor down the street a set and she uses her laundry buckets for underwear between laundry days. I love it!

laundry

The picture above shows how Mark drilled two-inch holes in the green Gamma lids.

laundry

We drilled one-inch holes inside the inner bucket to give a little friction when washing. Easy peasy.

laundry

This is the Mobile Washer, the new ones have a nicer handle, but this one still works great.

Amish Wooden Laundry Clothes Rack

laundry

This is the Amish wooden clothes rack from Lehman’s, the store I want to visit someday. It’s on my bucket list.

The Best Clothespins

laundry

These are my favorite clothespins. I thought clothespins were clothespins, they’re not. I bought several different brands and they fell apart. If you have some from the “olden days” hold on to them. These are called Kevin’s Clothespins, they are awesome. I always say, “buy right the first time.”

This is my favorite clothesline, I must mention, EarthEasy.com sent this to me to do a review on it a few years ago. I made a YouTube for them that is still on their website. I had searched high and low to find one that would work in my neighborhood, I live in an HOA. It’s called a Homeowners Association. My Favorite Clothesline It’s called an Earth Easy Breeze Catcher Rotary Clothesline

Homemade Laundry Detergent/Soap

Here is how to make the homemade laundry detergent/soap:

1 Fels-Naptha Bar-grated either by hand, food processor or salad shooter (this is what we used)

1 cup Borax Detergent Booster

1 cup Super Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)

Put these 3 ingredients in a blender to blend and grate the Fels-Naptha even more. After doing this it will look just like the store purchased detergent but will not include all the “fillers”. You will use less product per load and will have less “bubbles”. Remember, just having bubbles doesn’t mean clean. I use 1 tablespoon per load. I have an HE-High Efficiency washer and it works great!

Printable Recipe: Detergent Recipe by Food Storage Moms

Linda’s Detergent Demo

Let me know what you are going to use to have clean laundry after a disaster or an unforeseen emergency. I love having clean sheets as well. I could easily do my sheets separately one piece at a time in either one of these wash tubs or buckets. I want to save my money and buy a wringer, or maybe I will be lucky and find one at a thrift store or antique shop.

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please store water, food and keep your gas tank full to at least 3/4 full. May God bless this world

Mindy recommended this Novaplus 500 Umbrella Clothesline Dryer 

The post How To Have Clean Laundry When The Power Is Off appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

How to Make a Square Dehydrator Sheet Fit a Round Tray

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Sometimes you need to improvise to get the job done. Need to make a square dehydrator sheet fit a round tray? It's no problem with this trick | PreparednessMama

Sometimes you need to improvise to get the job done. Need to make a square dehydrator sheet fit a round tray? It’s no problem with this trick. I have been immersed in dehydrating for months now, preserving my small harvest and additional food purchased from the grocery and local CSA. Dehydrating is a skill that every self-reliant […]

The post How to Make a Square Dehydrator Sheet Fit a Round Tray appeared first on PreparednessMama.

How to Make a Square Dehydrator Sheet Fit a Round Tray

Sometimes you need to improvise to get the job done. Need to make a square dehydrator sheet fit a round tray? It's no problem with this trick | PreparednessMama

Sometimes you need to improvise to get the job done. Need to make a square dehydrator sheet fit a round tray? It’s no problem with this trick. I have been immersed in dehydrating for months now, preserving my small harvest and additional food purchased from the grocery and local CSA. Dehydrating is a skill that every self-reliant […]

The post How to Make a Square Dehydrator Sheet Fit a Round Tray appeared first on PreparednessMama.

Survival Intelligence Methods For SHTF

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Most of us store as much as we can. We train as much as we can. We read as much as we can and we hope to be as prepared as possible. Of course, we all know that there is a limit to what we can truly be prepared for. There is just too much … Read more…

The post Survival Intelligence Methods For SHTF was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.