The First 10 Things Every New Prepper Should Do (Some of Them Are Free!)

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Over the past few years, here in America….

Contaminated water caused a complete loss of municipal services in both Ohio and West Virginia, resulting in almost a million people vying Read the rest

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How to Start a Food Stockpile on the Cheap

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As a homesteader, one of your strong points is, by far, the food you produce and stockpile. Should something major happen, you’ll be one of the “lucky” ones who will have food on your family’s table. But what if you’ll be unable to grow that food? Maybe a volcanic eruption will hinder your gardening endeavors. […]

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Homesteading as a Business?

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If you’re considering starting a homestead or backyard/urban farm, you may be wondering—is homesteading more like a job, a hobby, or a lifestyle?

In truth, it can be all three. Although it takes a lot of work and dedication to make homesteading a full time job. Even more when you want to be able to support your entire family with it. It’s not impossible; producing the right types of vegetables and creating a good, local market for them has allowed some farmers to make a living off of less than an acre.

But like anything, a venture such as this takes some planning. If you have limited growing space, you’ll need to determine whether or not you are ready to use some of that limited space for market sales, instead of your own food.

Although some will say that farming of any kind is not truly a lifestyle. Farming, no matter the size of the farm, is a lifestyle by definition. Webster’s defines lifestyle as “a particular way of living; the way in which a person or group lives.” But is all growing, farming? And is everyone who grows something, a farmer?

Growing is defined as something which “undergoes natural development by increasing in size and changing physically.” In other words, when you plant a garden of any kind, or raise livestock from infancy to maturity, you are “growing” something. But does just planting a garden or keeping a few chickens make your property a farm?

Using the example of tending a garden or keeping a couple of chickens, you could think of yourself as a farmer. But farming and being a farmer takes a little more than that.

In the strictest sense of the word, a farmer is a person growing food, on large tracts of land. But today, those growing food on a smaller scale in their backyard, on rooftops or on a few acres, also consider themselves to be farmers.

More and more households have gotten away from the cute little tomato vine on the patio and the cucumber plant by the deck. Opting instead for a wide variety of food plants (including edible flowers). Not only in traditional gardens but in raised beds, vertical gardens and huge containers filled with vegetables and fruits.

Some have even branched out further (no pun intended) and have included fruit trees and bushes in their backyard farm. Many choose not to sell their excess produce, growing just enough for their own family. Either storing and preserving the extra, or else sharing with family and friends. So, for many homesteaders, the farm is a lifestyle.

For those people who embrace the small homestead lifestyle in this way, do look at themselves as farmers. They’re just a different type of farmer. They may even consider themselves to be a slightly more modern version of traditional farmers. They have the same respect for food as their traditional counterparts.

Homesteading as a Job

More and more farmers are beginning to venture into the market place. Either with their excess produce or with crops planted in a “market garden,” specifically earmarked for sale at a farmer’s market.

Some farmers intend to make their farms and gardens profitable from the start. Others split their focus, growing for both their own table and for sale.

Depending on the space available for cultivation, farmers may be selling not only things from the garden. But also honey, eggs and even cheeses and milk (provided your state allows the sale of raw milk).

So, what happens when you decide to turn your little farm into a money making venture? Like any other business, there are things that you need to pay attention to.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more important items that everyone needs to consider before monetizing their backyard farm.

Zoning

Depending on your area, zoning regulations can strictly dictate whether or not you can have livestock. Or even where your vegetable garden can be placed, and where your new barn can sit.

These regulations even determine whether or not you can sell from your home. Regulations change from town to town and city to city, so be sure that you are allowed to do what you want and need to do, before you actually do it. (And if there is something you don’t like, petition to change it!)

Prepared Food Sales

Are you considering selling things from your kitchen? Such as pickles, canned vegetables, breads and pies? Many locations have strict regulations on what and where you can sell, even going so far as to require commercial kitchen use.

However, some areas are now allowing some home-prepared foods to be sold without government oversight. An example of this is the Cottage Food law in Florida. Though restrictive in terms of what you can sell. Such as breads, dry rubs, herb blends, honey products, pasta, etc., and it requires direct sales to consumers.

It can make it easier and less expensive for you to get your product out. For the small-scale producer, laws such as this are important in the development of one’s business.

Keeping Chickens in Homestead

Chickens

The first and often most popular animal that the new homesteader will obtain is a chicken. Relatively independent and easy to care for.

Chickens provide the farmer with an additional source (or multiple sources) of produce and income. But while many urban areas are beginning to allow chicken keeping, others have sadly not yet seen the light.

Those who do allow chickens to be kept in an urban yard may also put restrictions on the number of birds you can have. Usually 2–4 birds, a low number if your goal is to keep your family in eggs, as well as selling fresh eggs.

Many urban locations also do not allow roosters. Due to the disruptive nature of their crowing. While roosters are not strictly necessary for egg production itself. When you want to raise a few replacement birds (or a couple for the freezer), not having roosters makes that impossible, as the eggs will not be fertile.

Check the regulations for your town or city, as more and more are allowing chickens in the backyard.

Homesteading Market

Selling Produce

It usually isn’t an issue when someone wants to sell their excess fresh fruits and vegetables out of their home. In urban areas, for example, if you are only going to put out a few things every now and then, chances are you won’t run into any problems.

But, if you plan on putting up an actual fruit or vegetable stand, it may be looked at a bit differently. So make sure to check local zoning laws.

Rural regulations likely won’t be as strict, especially in cases of on-farm sales in agricultural areas, but it doesn’t hurt to check anyway.

If you plan to sell at your local farmer’s market, then you’ll need to check those requirements as well. For example, most markets require vendors carry their own insurances.

Homesteading Workshops and Other Programs

Are you planning to have classes or workshops on your farm? If so, it might be considered a home business in an urban area. Which carries with it the need for certain licenses and/or permits, as well as extra insurance coverage.

In some areas, a home business may not be allowed at all. Again, it is important to check everything out beforehand (we’ll discuss more on teaching your skills in Chapter 7).

Expectations about Homesteading

After all is said and done, the biggest thing that you need to think about when considering to get into homesteading is: are you ready for it?

Raising and preparing your own food is one thing. But once you take that extra step of turning your backyard farm or homestead into a business, the game entirely changes. Now, the food’s presentation needs to meet customer standards, not just family standards.

While a few blemished apples don’t bother your family, your more finicky customers will pass it by as substandard. Though there may be absolutely nothing wrong with the fruit.

An imperfect seal during the canning process means you can immediately refrigerate the jar as soon as it cools, and still use it. But you cannot sell that unsealed jar at a farmer’s market.

Your display at the farmer’s market will need to be a bit more refined than when you just throw a few extra vegetables on a table by the driveway. At a farmer’s market, sight sells: a good display that showcases your offerings can make all the difference.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or prize-winning. But it should be attractive and eye-catching. It’s also more important than ever to know what you sell.

e prepared to teach customers how to use a product if it is an unusual fruit, vegetable or herb. Have a couple recipes available for it, as well; customers are more likely to try something new if they know what to do with it.

Finally, whether you choose to view your homesteading as a lifestyle or as a job. Think about whether a small homestead, backyard farm, or urban farm is right for you.

Do you have the time and dedication necessary to make your farm a success? If you’re only doing container gardening in the backyard or on a balcony, you will most likely only be growing enough for your own use, and containers are not as difficult to maintain.

However, the soil and its nutrients may need to be replaced each year in a container; larger plants, such as fruit trees, will need occasional transplanting into larger containers, and containers, especially plastic ones, will need to be replaced from time to time.

But though this sounds like a lot, those with little time or space to spend on a garden will find that container gardening can be the way to go. It may limit you somewhat in the types of plants you can raise, but you will still have a wide range of fruits and vegetables to choose from (with some now being developed specifically for use in containers).

In other words, container gardening provides an attractive, low-impact option for people just looking to see whether they have a green thumb or not.

If a container garden isn’t right for you, a raised bed garden provides another low-stress option. There are now so many types of raised beds to choose from.

You can create an attractive garden which is easy to combine with traditional gardening methods and even container gardens. If you have a medical or physical problem which makes it difficult for you to use a traditional gardening style, raised beds can be built specifically to meet your comfort needs and accommodate almost any physical limitations that you may have.

And then there’s the question of livestock. If you are considering livestock of any kind, will you have the time and money to keep them?

Pens need cleaning, animals need grooming, daily and twice-daily feedings, and all of it rain or shine (or snowstorm). If you are keeping a goat or cow for dairy use, add twice-daily milking to your routine. Even when you’re ill, they still need care.

In short, both you and your family need to determine for yourselves whether you’re ready for the commitment. If the extent of your urban farm will be half a dozen containers on your balcony, the time commitment will be relatively low.

However, the larger you decide to go with your homestead, the more time you will need each day. Whether your homestead is a job or a lifestyle, it will be a part of your life, albeit a fulfilling and personally rewarding one. Whatever you decide, make sure you’ve done your homework first!

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Review: Fire Starter Flint (Survival Hax)

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Whether you’re a mom or dad, live in the country or the city, like to camp or prefer not to, it’s important to practice personal safety and to learn how to survive in emergency situations. While I’m not someone who thinks we all need to learn how to live “off the grid,” I do believe that it’s a good idea to be prepared for emergencies that can arise, especially when you’re traveling with kids or in a remote area where you can’t simply call for help.

This week, I got a new product I think is a great addition to any bug-out bag or emergency car kit. It’s a 6” Fire Starter Flint with Waterproof Tinder Holder and Whistle from Survival Hax. This is a small, versatile tool with several benefits that anyone can use. Check it out.

As you can see, there are a couple of things included with this:

  • Ferro rod
  • Paracord lanyard
  • Tinder holder
  • Emergency whistle
  • Hex wrench, bottle opener, striker, ruler
If you like versatile items that have multiple uses and benefits, you’ll enjoy this. When I first got this product, I was under the impression that it was just for starting fires, so I was surprised when there were other items included, as well.

Everything arrived in this small box. As you can see, there’s quite a bit there, but it’s small. I like this because you can easily put it in your bug-out bag or car kit. If you’re a busy mom like I am, having survival and emergency items that are small is especially important. Who really wants to haul around kids and a huge bug-out bag? (And a diaper bag, and a stroller, etc.) I have a small emergency kit and this fits right in with my other items.

This is my favorite part of the flint kit. It’s a hex wrench, rule, bottle opener, and striker all-in-one. I can never seem to have enough bottle openers, and this is something I think a lot of people tend to overlook when it comes to emergency prepping. You might have 37 cans of food, but what happens when you can’t actually open them?

I also love the emergency whistle. It’s small, easy to carry, and you could honestly slip it in your pocket or the front pack of your emergency kit. It’s also super loud. My kids had a great time testing this out today. My ears did not have as much fun.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this product. I love that everything has multiple purposes. For example, the paracord lanyard can be taken apart and has five feet of usable rope. The bottle opener also can be used as a ruler if you need to measure something. Multi-use items are very important to me because it means I can save money by only buying one item and it means I don’t have to haul around excess stuff. As a minimalist, this is a win-win for me.

If you’re interested in the fire starter flint, you can purchase this directly from Survival Hax or on Amazon. I’d also like to offer a coupon code to my readers! If you choose to purchase the starter flint through Amazon.com, you can use promo code SH50FIRE to save 50% on a single flint or 60% if you buy two!

Author’s note: I was provided with a complimentary flint in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed within this post are my own.

8 Simple Emergency Preparedness Hacks That Work

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Today I have eight emergency preparedness hacks for you–but I didn’t come up with them! Instead, I’ve invited my friend Colette from My Computer is My Canvas to share her emergency preparedness hacks with you. As you probably know if you’ve followed me for very long, I very rarely have guest posts.  I personally don’t […]

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What Makes for a Great Hiking Boot?

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Choosing the best hiking boots is essential for your hiking experience. You want to stay comfortable, safe and dry while you are exploring new trails and spending time in the wilderness. In order to find the most appropriate hiking boots, you must first consider when and where you are planning to hike, the terrain, the weather, the distance as well as the weight of your backpack. Also, getting a proper fit and the break in time are other key factors to keep in mind when shopping for hiking boots.

First of all, choose between the various types of hiking boots available, including: trail shoes, light or backpacking hiking boots or heavy duty boots for mountaineering.

  • Hiking shoes are the lightest options. They have good traction and provide moderate support and cushioning. Suitable for shorter trails, good weather, a mild terrain with slight elevation, these shoes can be worn as casual wear as well.

  • The light hiking boots are also pretty lightweight but provide more support than the trail shoes. They are suitable for good terrains and moderate elevation. Great for good weather, these boots can dry quickly and are breathable. No break in time is needed for the light hiking boots.

  • Backpacking boots or hiking boots are heavier and more durable. They are usually made of waterproof full grain leather, and provide reliable support on rougher terrains and when carrying heavy backpacks. They are good for snow and bad weather as well as for rougher terrains. Durable and cushioned, these boots have good traction and will keep your feet dry and warm.

  • Last but not least, mountaineering boots are the most durable, heavy duty option of them all. They provide maximum ankle protection. Their thick and stiff soles are superb for very difficult terrains and for big elevations and climbing. Waterproof and insulated, they are an excellent option if you are planning on doing winter hiking. They are heavy and stiff and are not the best choice for day hikes in normal conditions and terrains.

    Offering maximum support and foot protection, mountaineering boots are extremely durable and provide the best ankle protection. These boots have thick, stiff soles designed for difficult mountain topography and significant elevation gain. Most boots in this category are waterproof, and some include insulation to protect feet in cold, windy and wet conditions. If you don’t know what to look for in the top winter boots, check this article by My Bootprint. Many mountaineering boots are compatible with crampons, which makes them suitable for traversing ice and snowpack. Although these boots are excellent for mountaineering, they are probably overkill for most day hikes.

    The soles of your hiking boots are also very important. First of all, look at the construction of the hiking boot – are the soles stitched or are they cemented to the upper and the midsole. The boots which have a Goodyear welt construction have the strongest and most durable construction and can be resoled. The cement construction wears quicker but is a cheaper option. The outsole must provide sufficient traction and be made of a durable material. Real gum rubber soles are an excellent choice due to the fact that they are durable, provide superb traction and are semitransparent, brown or white.

    With all types of hiking footwear, durability and foot protection is always a high priority. Remember, hiking shoes are not travel shoes. For this reason, hiking footwear is crafted of more rugged materials than casual shoes. The tougher the construction, the more break-in time will be required.

    Another factor to consider when buying hiking boots is the material of the upper. You can choose between full grain leather, split grain leather, nylon and suede. The fist type, the full grain leather boots are the most durable and weather resistant of them all. They are also usually the most expensive ones. They do need break in time, so you must make sure they are properly broken in before wearing them when going hiking.

    The other three types of materials are lighter and moderately durable. They are often paired with mesh materials to provide breathability. They are great for casual hiking. They usually require little or no break in time.

    You will need to choose the height of your hiking boots too. Taller hiking boots provide more support and are more suitable for rougher terrains and heavy backpacks. Hiking shoes and mid cut boots are more suitable for shorter trails and easy to moderate terrain. The high cut boots provide superior support and cover the ankles. They need the longest break in time, but are the best choice for difficult and steep trails.

    One last thing: boots are rarely comfortable right out of the box. Don’t forget to break in your new boots to avoid the pain and discomfort.

    So, already you should have a pretty good idea what to look for in a good hiking boot. Now get your new boots on and happy hiking!

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5 Tips to Help Preparedness Beginners Focus on the Right Things

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Getting prepared for emergencies can feel overwhelming. Preparedness beginners may feel that they have to prepare for anything and everything all at once, but there is a better way. Here are 5 tips to help you get started with your emergency preparedness efforts.

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The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage

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The thought of food storage can be very overwhelming, especially if you are new to being self sufficient. You have just realized the need for food-storage and the dangers of what is happening in the world. So now what are you going to do about it? You may find some very good answers in the video below.

The best answer that I have is research and lots of it. You Tuber ObessivePrepperAz shares her thoughts on an easy and affordable way to start off making sure you have two weeks’ worth of food. She walks you through how to calculate food storage for your family and points out some very helpful hints.

However, ObsessivePrepperAZ is just touching on the bare minimum you will need in her video, but by adding things like rice or noodles to some of your storage you can turn one can of soup into a pot of stew. Her tips and secrets are very helpful for a beginner prepper.

She focuses on how many cans of Campbell Chunky Soup you would need for one meal a day. One of her viewers suggested a very effective way to stretch those cans to feed four people 2 or 3 meals per day. That is a LOT more than one can of soup for one person.

“Tip: Double that food storage with one bag of rice, one bag of dried potatoes, and two packs of cubed bullion. Take two cans of that chunky soup, add I cup rice OR potatoes, and a bullion, add at least 3 cups water; make it into a large pot of stew. Feeds four, 2-3 meals per day. Stew is salvation.”

We hope you enjoy her suggestions and please feel free to comment some of your tips and advice to help the newbies!! We all have to help each other become reliant on ourselves.

The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage

 

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Alpha Bravo Creations: Tactical Hand Signals & Phonetic Alphabet Flash Cards

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I’m to review Flashcards teaching Army Hand signals & the Phonetic Alphabet?

When I received this assignment, I was skeptical. Certainly, communications modes are a specialty I’m familiar with, but I’m no Platoon Leader, and my days of playing Army Man is a bit behind me. Besides, this is a review of kids flashcards, my last dealing with was in learning math in grade school.

But I was surprised when I examined the deck of cards of the Phonetic Alphabet, I immediately got the concept & it’s potential. Then, when I tried out the deck of Army Hand signals & American Sign Language, it struck me that these flashcards are invaluable for not just kids, but for adults too.

Communication in it’s purest sense is simply transferring information from one place to another by any means necessary, either verbally, or non-verbally. So while from the standpoint of preparedness, the ability to convey information clearly & accurately is paramount, the ability to also do so silently can be vital.
So here’s where these flashcards come in handy, (pardon the pun).
Use of hand signals offers clear communication totally unspoken, as any misbehaving youngster frozen in mid-frolic by Mom & Dad pointing at them can attest. Message CLEARLY conveyed.

Each flashcard offers a term or statement with an illustration of it’s accompanying hand gesture. There’s also directions on how to do the gesture.  By learning to recognize the gestures and connect it to the word or statement, standard terms & gestures can be strung together to make whole sentences or concepts. By repetition of using these cards anyone can become proficient in using hand signals.
Like I said… very handy.
It didn’t take long at all for this old dog to learn some new tricks, not long at all.
Hand gestures are useful…(bet you thought I’d say HANDY again), if ever I’d be in a situation where I NEED to communicate without speaking a word. Serious stuff, like  HURRY! THIS WAY to the RALLY POINT.

While Alpha Bravo’s Hand Signals for Kids helps kids add realism to their playacting, what you can learn from them can be a vital aid for anyone in a disaster to emergency.

 
http://www.alphabravocreations.com/military-phonetic-alphabet-flashcards/

Next came the deck of flashcards teaching the Phonetic Alphabet.

If you’ve ever seen a Cop show on TV or a Hollywood Blockbuster War Movie, someone is always talking over a mic saying stuff like”Foxtrot Uniform Bravo Alpha Romeo“…or some sort of drivel. It’s not heatstroke that’s got the actor talking gibberish, it’s the PHONETIC ALPHABET, used to verbalize individual letters using spoken words. Tango is the letter “T”, India the letter “I”, Charlie the letter “C”, and so on.

Using phonetics is handy when noise conditions make it hard to discern single letters. Sounds like “Eee” & “Tee” &”Cee” can often be misheard in a noisy location. So by attributing a word starting with the letter, it’s easier to understand, because you’re more likely to hear parts of a word and mentally fill in the blanks.
With the Phonetic Alphabet Flashcards,  Alpha Delta Creations has presented each letter with a picture symbol depiction of the word, as well as it’s corresponding Morse Code symbol.


HUH! What? Morse Code? Hams do Morse code! Heck, even Rambo tapped out Morse code to send a message in one of his movies! Morse Code is HANDY!

While not a requirement any longer to know Morse Code, it’s still a widely popular mode of communication in Ham Radio, the dots & dashes able to be heard & deciphered, when signal conditions are so poor that vocal speech is “in the mud” & unrecognizable.

I know very well the phonetic alphabet, but I never acquired Morse Code. So now, armed with a set of flash cards depicting them, I’ll bet picking up the code could be just as easy as picking up these cards.

Dare say it… it’ll be CHILD’S PLAY.

My review started out skeptical, but I quickly came around. I seriously suggest getting your kids these flashcards & using them yourself. Who says kids get to do all the fun? In fact, make learning how to do Tactical Hand Signaling AND the Phonetic Alphabet & Morse Code a family fun project. One that may pay SERIOUS dividends later.
(I almost forgot… did anybody catch the reference of “Foxtrot, Uniform, Bravo, Alpha, Romeo”? Learn the Phonetic Alphabet & watch Saving Private Ryan till you do. )
LEARN MORE or ORDER a set of flashcards, visit Alpha Bravo Creations Website. www.alphabravocreations.com

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Learning a new skill (things every prepper must know!)

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A guest post from the author of No Zombies Aloud.

Preparation is far more than squirreling away a little food and water: it’s getting ready for a new way of life. That means alongside our cans of corn and our bottled water, we should be stockpiling the kinds of skills that we think we’ll need in the future.  We should be learning to live our future life now, so when it arrives we can face it with confidence and help others make the transition.
When it comes time to learn a skill, however, it’s sometimes hard to get started.  There’s so much to learn, so many things that need to be done.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So as with all things related to preparation, it’s good to start small. But it’s critical to get started.
The first step is to pick a broad subject you’d like to learn about. Take gardening as an example.  Storing food is good, but serving fresh, healthy food that you’ve grown yourself is even better. Gardening is still a huge subject. Some people garden their entire lives and never learn it all.  We’ll need to simplify.
So make a list of very specific things you’d like to do that relate to gardening. These are your goals. Maybe you love Italian food; write down that you’d like to grow your own oregano. Maybe you’ve always admired your neighbor’s roses; write down the names of some flowers you’d like to plant.  If your list is small, don’t worry about it – like your garden, it will soon grow out of control.  Circle the one that seems easiest – that’s where we’ll start.
Now for the fun part: it’s time to learn.  So let’s say you’ve decided to grow oregano. For a fast start, go to Youtube and search for “How to Grow Oregano.”  Watch a few videos, noting new words the instructors use, note the tools they use, and note the steps they take. Do they talk about soil management? Do they mention feeding and watering? Where will you get your seeds? Write down everything that’s new to you. Get a feel for the subject and become familiar with the terms.  Now when you pull that old garden book off the shelf or pick up a book from the library, you’ll know what it’s talking about because you’ll have seen it in action.
But before you go to the library to learn any more, get started!  “Wait, that’s crazy,” you say. “I don’t know enough yet.” Actually, you now know enough to get started.  If you’re going to grow something, plant it today, indoors if you must, following the instructions as best you can.
Every time you don’t know what to do, every time something doesn’t work – that’s the time to learn a new skill.  If your oregano doesn’t sprout, write “learn to sprout seeds” on your list and find a book that teaches how to make seeds sprout. Then when you successfully sprout them, take it off the “to learn” list – you now have that skill. If your seedlings shoot up and then wither, find a web page that explains why, then plant again.  Keep going until you serve your own homemade spaghetti sauce.
Every skill you learn makes learning the next one that much easier. If you can manage soil for herbs, you can manage it for potatoes.  If you can plant flowers, you can plant apple trees. As you fix your mistakes, you’ll grow your skills and your confidence.
Every prepper needs to grow her skillset, to be learning something new every day.  The best way to learn to do something is to do it, to fail at it, and to fix it.  An experienced person is one who has made all the mistakes already. A smart prepper is the one who makes all the mistakes today, while there is still time to fix them.  Get started!
Read more from El Borak at No Zombies Aloud.

Essential Oils Every Prepper Needs

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You’ve probably got a friend who sells essential oils (or “EOs” if you wanna be a cool kid). Maybe your buddy posts pictures on Facebook all day long or is constantly asking if you want to sign up to sell them, too. After all, it’s good money. After all, they’re good for your health.
While I’m not a fan of pushy parents trying to peddle me potions (see what I did there?), I do enjoy using essential oils with my family, especially in a pinch when I don’t have a huge first aid kit on hand.
Some preppers swear by essential oils in lieu of traditional medicines and while I won’t go that far, I do think they have their place, especially when it comes to cleaning, sanitizing, and curing minor ailments.
OnGuard, for example, is one of my favorite essential oils. You can buy this here online or through a DoTerra consultant. Sometimes, you can find OnGuard inexpensively on eBay, but no matter where you shop, it’ll end up being about $35 for a bottle. Now, while I’ll be the first to admit that’s pricey, this is one of my favorite oils ever. It’s versatile and you can use it for just about everything.
For example, I use this to make toothpaste for my family. I also put a few drops in my kids’ baths when they’re sick. You can rub it on your child’s feet (use a carrier oil, such as coconut, and cover their feet with socks) when they’re sick. You can mix it with vinegar and water and make a cleaning solution. The possibilities are endless.
Peppermint Oil is another “must have” for any prepper. This oil is great for dealing with allergies, sinus pressure, or headaches. Some preppers also have great luck keeping spiders and insects at bay when they spray peppermint oil in their homes. Just add some peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle, then go crazy. It’s fine to use around kids, but make sure you check each individual brand before you decide to ingest this stuff. Some oils are fine to take internally, but most are diluted and designed for external use only. DoTerra and Young Living are both good, reputable brands, but make sure you read your labels before using. Buy it here on Amazon or through your favorite essential oil distributor.

Tea Tree Oil is one of those go-to oils that everyone loves. One of my close friends loves to use this oil in homemade mosquito repellent. Others use it in toothpastes or homemade cleaners. Here in Taiwan, this oil is used frequently in hand sanitizer. Fun fact: when my son was in the hospital, all of the soap was tea tree oil based! There are many brands of tea tree oil and lots of products that incorporate this fantastic oil. You can even use it to conquer mold and mildew in your home.

Have you used any of these oils? What are some of your go-to oils for prepping?

Do I really need that?

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The simplest way to start living a minimal life is to ask yourself, “Do I really need that?”

Honestly, this can be used in any number of ways each day.

“Do I really need that extra slice of pie?”

“Do I really need the large size?”

“Do I really need this box of books I’ve never read?”

“Do I really need to buy another blanket?”

This week, consider asking yourself, “Do I really need that?” When you focus on this idea, you’ll find that you’re more conscious of what you’re consuming and what you’re bringing into your house. Even if you’re a prepper – which I highly encourage – you can still ask yourself if you need things. The best way to prep is to do so within reason. You probably don’t need 370 jars of green beans for your pantry. You might need 50. You decide. Just remember that sometimes, we think we need things that we really don’t and a bit of self-evaluation can go a long way.

How to get your crap together

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I wrote recently about why people don’t move overseas. I’m convinced that the single greatest reason people don’t move overseas is fear. They’re afraid of disappointing their moms, their friends, their churches. They’re afraid they’ll ruin the lives of their children or that they’ll be making a mistake. They’re afraid.

Unfortunately, if you want to live your life the way you want, at some point you’re going to have to get over your fear. This might mean that you disappoint people you thought were important and it might mean you do make a few mistakes, but you’ll never know whether or not you’ll succeed until you try. If everyone in the world who was afraid they’d mess up never tried, nothing would ever get done.

Here’s how you can get your crap together and move overseas, simplify your life, or become a better prepper.

Read
Reading a book like Gorilla Mindset is a great way to start. Even though this book is geared toward men, I really enjoyed it and I am definitely all girl. You should read books that motivate you. I have several prepping books available on Amazon, as well as minimalist living books. These things are important to me, so I write about them. I also read about them. When I’m not writing, I am almost always reading. I read books I agree with and books that I hate. I read lots of different opinions and viewpoints and then figure out what works best for me. If you want to be brave, read books on bravery. If you want to stand up to your family, read books on boundaries. (“Boundaries” is a great book.) If you want to move overseas, read books on how it’s done. If you want to simplify, read minimalism books.

List
What do you want? What are your goals? Write them down. When they’re written down, you’ll have a better chance to really explore what you want. Sometimes seeing things in print makes it seem more serious. Sometimes it makes things seem more attainable. If there’s something you want, write it down, then create a list of steps. Figure out exactly what you need to do to make this thing happen. For example, if you want to publish a book next year, where do you start? Maybe you’ll write one chapter each week. Maybe you’ll write 2,000 words a day. Maybe you’ll join a writer’s group. How you reach your goal doesn’t matter. What matters is that you reach it. Write down your goals and create a plan.

Act 
Finally, you just have to do it. You have to jump. You have to try. When we decided to move overseas, we had quite a few people think we were insane. A lot of people thought we wouldn’t go through with it. My husband didn’t have a job when we left for Taiwan and we didn’t have resident visas. We left, trusting that everything would work out and that even if it didn’t, we’d be okay. We have our faith and we have each other. Even if our entire plan to move overseas completely failed, we’d survive, and we’d know that it was okay because we tried.

Whether you want to prep, downsize, declutter, move, or learn a new skill, you just have to put yourself out there.

The idea that you might fail is horrifying, but failing is better than not trying. Failing is better than being too scared to even risk anything. If you spend your entire life avoiding risks, you’re never going to live.

Today, figure out what you want. Where do you want to be in a month? In six? In a year? What do you want to be doing? Maybe you want to be self-sufficient or have a savings account. Maybe you want to be minimalist. Maybe you just want to downsize. No matter what your goals are, remember two things: 1) They aren’t stupid. 2) You can do it. You have to be willing to work hard, to try your best, and to ignore the haters. They’ll always be there. Prove them wrong by succeeding when they think you won’t.

How to Start Prepping When Your Spouse Thinks You’re Crazy

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One of the biggest questions people have about prepping is, “How do I get my spouse on board?”

Hopefully, if you’re thinking of prepping for any type of emergency situation, you have a supportive spouse. Ideally, your spouse is someone who will prep with you, who will help you, and who will come up with a plan that works for your family.

If your spouse thinks you’re crazy, though, prepping will be a little tougher.

It won’t be impossible.

If you have a partner who thinks prepping is silly, a waste of money, or useless, you do not need to ridicule them. You don’t need to make fun of them. You don’t need to bombard them with links to your favorite prepper sites. If you do, you’re simply going to alienate them and demonstrate that your spouse’s opinion doesn’t matter. This is basically the worst thing you could possibly do.

Instead, consider your spouse’s concerns and try to work in a way that demonstrates respect of their opinion.

For example, maybe your wife thinks prepping is a waste of money. Maybe she’s worried that if you spend a lot of money on guns, ammo, food, or supplies that you won’t have enough money to make your car payment. Instead of ignoring her wishes and buying all the supplies you want, consider clipping coupons, looking for sales, or finding non-expensive things you can prep with. You could also look for ways to reduce your household spending to increase your “play money.” By doing this, you’ll show your spouse that you care about her opinion and that you’re willing to work hard to make prepping work for your family.

If you have a husband who thinks prepping is faddish or silly, you can begin prepping slowly. One way to do this is to focus on skills, rather than accumulating “stuff.” For example, you could start running each day to increase your physical fitness and endurance. You could sign up for a free online class at Coursera to learn how to survive in the wilderness. You could watch YouTube videos on gardening. You could get an eBook on prepping. The possibilities are endless.

When it comes to prepping, you shouldn’t do anything that’s going to push away or alienate your partner. Try to include them as much as possible so you can grow together as a couple, rather than letting this get between you.

Learning to Prep When You’re Far From Home

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This past summer, my husband and I gave away all of our stuff and moved overseas.

No, I’m not being dramatic.

Yes, we really did it.

The experience of moving abroad was not as traumatizing or as scary as you might think, but, as you may suspect, there are many differences between prepping in America and prepping overseas.

In our new city, we’ve experienced several earthquakes and three typhoons since moving here. While the earthquakes have barely affected us, the typhoons definitely require prepping on our end.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that you can’t buy canned food at grocery stores here.

Who would have thought?

There are dried noodles and dried fruit, but canned corn?

Nope.

(I take that back – during a festival, I was able to find canned corn for sale for $2USD. And yes, I bought one can despite the insane price tag.)

If you live overseas or even just travel frequently, you should try to be aware of what the weather is like. When you face a storm in Asia or anywhere else, really, things are going to be a bit different than when you’re prepping in America.

First off, don’t rely on canned foods. Seriously. This tends to be our default when we go into prepper-mode in America, but why is that? Does anyone really enjoy eating cold corn from a can when the power is out? I don’t. When you’re living or traveling abroad, you might not even have access to a kitchen, so don’t count on having stuff like corn or beans.

Next, always have more water than you think you’ll need. Seriously. This goes for prepping in America, too, of course, but if you’re staying in a large city, trying to get water can be even more difficult. Understand that with a major typhoon, there can be water contamination problems. If this happens, you’re going to be using bottled water for awhile. Make sure you have some on hand.

You should also try to remember that you might have to suck it up and eat food you don’t like. In the U.S., peanut butter sandwiches were one of my favorite things to eat during storms. Here, not all stores carry peanut butter. So, could I eat plain bread during a typhoon? Sure. Do I want to? Not particularly.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors for help. Whether you’re staying at a hotel, a hostel, or an apartment, locals tend to be very understanding when it comes to preparing for a storm. During our first typhoon, many different people warned us about the storm and offered to help us prepare our apartment. During the actual storm, someone even brought us food. At least in Asia, everyone tries to help each other out, so you don’t have to be embarrassed if you need assistance figuring out how to prepare.

How to Talk With Your Spouse About Disaster Prepping

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If you want to prepare for a minor storm or disaster, it’s usually not a big deal. After all, you can just pick up a few extra supplies the next time you’re at the grocery store. Who cares?

If you want to start seriously prepping for disasters, though, including investing in bug out bag supplies or larger amounts of food, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your spouse.

But how can you bring up prepping without sounding like you’re crazy?

Make sure your timing is right
First off, make sure you choose the right time. Pouncing your husband when he walks in the front door or right after you’ve made love are fast ways to piss him off. Seriously. Choose a time when the two of you can casually talk about your ideas for prepping. Make sure he’s relaxed, you’re relaxed, the kids are relaxed, and then go for it. Over dinner is fine, while you’re cleaning up together is fine, and while you’re hanging out in the backyard is fine. But seriously, don’t bring this up when he’s trying to relax

Don’t overload him
Give your husband information, but don’t overshare. Seriously. “I’ve been reading about prepping, and I think this is a good idea because…” is fine. Giving him a list of quotes or reasons why specific preppers do each item isn’t really necessary, at least not right away. Bring up the idea of prepping and how you want to implement it in your lives. You don’t need to compare yourselves to extreme preppers or say anything weird that’s going to freak him out, especially if you’ve never prepped before.

Outline why prepping is important
Talk with your husband why you think disaster prepping is important. Maybe you want to save money by prepping now instead of at the last second before a storm hits. Maybe you want to reduce your stress levels when prepping for storms. Maybe you just want to have extra supplies on hand for random bad-weather days that mean you can’t get to the store.

Talk about what prepping will look like for your family
Prepping looks different for each family. I have one girlfriend who has converted her kitchen pantry into a full walk-in storage room with 6-months’ worth of food. Another simply keeps a box of emergency supplies under her bed. What will prepping look like for your family? Talk about this with your husband and see what he thinks. He might be really excited about prepping or he might need some time to warm up to the idea.

Decide on a budget
Unfortunately, most of us have a budget that restricts how much we’re able to prep. Decide on a prepping budget with your spouse. Discuss whether you want to buy weapons and how much you’ll spend on them. Talk about how much food you want on hand and whether you can use coupons to reduce the cost. You may want to create a multi-month plan where you put $30 or $50 per paycheck toward prepping. This is also fine.

Have you talked with your spouse about prepping? Are you both on board with things?

Why Prepping?

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I grew up in the middle of nowhere on a little farm my parents bought and toiled over. My dad didn’t make his living as a farmer. In fact, he worked hard at his job so my mom could stay home and raise us kids. He wouldn’t say he slaved at work, but I would. I remember how tired he was, how many days there were that just sucked the life out of him.

Still, he worked.

For us.

For my mom.

To give us a better life.

To keep us safe.

There were times when we didn’t have a lot of money or couldn’t take dream vacations, but none of us really cared because we were loved and we had each other.

One of the most important things my parents taught me was that prepping is for everyone, no matter what your situation might be. You don’t have to have a lot of money or a lot of free space to be able to prepare for the future. Prepping is simply utilizing your own available resources to prepare for what is to come.

When we had extra money, my mom would stock up on canned goods, toilet paper, and toothbrushes at Sam’s Club. She would keep these in our “pantry,” which was really an extra room in our basement. This was how she prepped.

Now, the end of the world never came, nor did huge droughts or famines, but we did come upon emotionally draining and financially exhausting times as a family. There were many times when unexpected expenses meant the money my dad brought home barely stretched to the next paycheck.

There were times when we were eating out of our garden and foraging through our pantry for food to cook.

And you know what?

We made it.

More than that, we were able, as a family, to bless others and share with them when they had needs. I remember one friend in particular whose dad had lost his job. The family wasn’t sure what they were going to do to make ends meet, so instead of simply praying with them, my parents loaded them up with groceries from our pantry and a full tank of gas.

Because we were preppers, we were able to help others during their time of need.

So when you ask why prepping? The answer really isn’t as simple as, “because there might be emergencies” or “because inflation sucks.” The answer, really, could be, “to help others in their time of need.”

There are many reasons to prep.

Helping others is one of mine.