21 Cute and Easy DIY Garden Markers

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It’s gardening time!  Have you ever planted your garden and then not remembered what was growing where?  Me, too.  Every year I make a garden map, but then somehow it gets displaced and I end up wondering what I have growing where until it sprouts.  Enter garden markers.  These can be simple or complex, plain […]

Ten Concealed Carry Mistakes

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(Doesn’t look like a concealed carry mistake, but I couldn’t resist 😉 )   The following list of ten concealed carry mistakes will hopefully get those of you who carry a handgun – thinking and doing something about it… Feel free to add you own considerations to the list…   1. Not Practicing Drawing Your […]

Top 7 Reasons I Carry a Mini MultiTool

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When you think of every day carry items, it is common to think of things you may need in a big emergency.  But when I decided to participate in this post round up with my other preparedness blogger friends, I knew exactly what my favorite every day carry item was.  Because I actually carry it […]

22 Survival and Preparedness Movies Your Kids Can Watch

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This list is part of my eBook, Prepared Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Raising the Next Generation of Self-Reliant, Responsible Adults! THIS WEEK ONLY (Jan 16-22, 2017) Get my Prepared Kids eBook as part of the Back to Basics Living Bundle–a spectacular collection of resources for preparedness, food storage, natural remedies, healthy living, cooking from […]

A Fire Starter Kit List

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I keep a fire starter kit in a Ziploc bag in each of my various ‘bags’ (72-hour kit, my Versipack’s for hiking or outdoor adventures, etc..). The ability to make fire is one of the essentials of survivability, and having more than one way to make a fire is just good preparedness. Within my fire-starter […]

A List Of Electronic Devices For Your Emergency Preparedness

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Which specific types of electronic devices may be useful for emergency preparedness? We sometimes talk about the preparedness basics such as water, water filters, food, food storage, etc.., but this time lets consider the electronic ‘gadgets’ or electronic systems that may be beneficial towards preparedness in one way or another…   First, before someone beats […]

A List Of Shopping & Gift Ideas For Preparedness

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If you are looking for shopping ideas, perhaps a gift or gifts for others having to do with general preparedness, then have a look at the following ‘Prepper Shopping List’ to spark the imagination. Comment with your own preparedness gift ideas too…   Lunch And Dinner Emergency Pail (21,000 calories) 30 Day Food Storage Emergency […]

20+ Other Uses For Soap

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To a chemist, soap is what you get when you boil down the sodium salts of fatty acids. To you and I, it’s just soap – known mostly for removing dirt from grimy hands or washing clothes and dishes. Here are a few other uses for soap…   Keep your fingernails clean: While you’re working […]

Book: The Do-it-Yourself Submachine Gun

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See larger image The Do-it-Yourself Submachine Gun: It’s Homemade, 9mm, Lightweight, Durable-And It’ll Never Be On Any Import Ban Lists! Build your own 9mm, blowback, selective-fire submachine gun that’s as powerful as an Uzi or Read More …

The post Book: The Do-it-Yourself Submachine Gun appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Preparing for a Hurricane: 15 Last Minute Ways to Get Ready

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15 last minute ways to prepare for a hurricaneHurricane season is upon us and for those in the storm path, preparation is key to getting through the storm in the best way possible.  But what if you haven’t prepared yet?  While it’s always better to be prepared ahead of time, here are 15 last minute things to do to help you be as prepared as possible!

  1. Monitor local news for updates–on TV, radio, or online.  You may also be able to sign up for text alerts or emergency information phone calls through your local law enforcement’s reverse 911 system.
  2. Evacuate.  If it’s not too last minute, and you live in an area that has received an evacuation notice, throw some survival supplies in your vehicle and get out of town.  Your area may have a shelter set up for evacuations or you can head to a friend or family member’s house out of the danger zone.  A great book to prepare for evacuations of all kinds is the Survival Mom’s No Worries Guide to Emergency Evacuations.
  3. Close and secure storm shutters or board up windows.
  4. Check your supplies at home and determine what foods you can eat with little preparation and that don’t need refrigeration over the next few days.
  5. Hit the store for the things you’ll need.  The most common items you’ll be needing are food, toiletries, and possibly feminine hygiene or baby products.  Unfortunately, that’s what everyone else will be shopping for as well, so anticipate long lines and items out of stock.  This store trip is best done a week or more before the event, and I usually recommend staying away from stores in the hours leading up to a known disaster, but if you really need some supplies, go ahead and see what you can find.  You may get lucky.
  6. Eat foods that will spoil or melt all over everything and ruin other foods if your power goes out.
  7. Fill water containers. Here are the the pros and cons on some of the most common water containers.
  8. Freeze some water containers to be used as ice blocks in your freezer or refrigerator in the event of a power outage.
  9. Find flashlights and make sure they’re charged.  Need more light?  Here are nine great emergency light sources other than a flashlight.
  10. Charge your cell phone.  If you have a charging phone case or portable phone charger make sure they are charged up as well.
  11. Fill sand bags.  If you’re in an area that is expected to have flooding, get ready now to keep your home from getting wet.
  12. Move light weight yard furniture and decorations indoors to keep them from sustaining damage or becoming projectiles.
  13. Fill your gas tank.  And a gas can if you can.  As with the trip to the store, this is really best done long ahead of the storm’s arrival.  Many stations will run out of fuel in the days leading up to the hurricane’s landfall, and most won’t be able to pump if the power goes out.
  14. Refill prescriptions.  If you are evacuating, send your prescription to a pharmacy out of the evacuation zone and near where you are evacuating to so you can get out of town faster.
  15. Check on your neighbors–especially elderly or those with special needs or who may not be connected to news sources.

Stay safe out there!

 

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Another Survival Preparedness List

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Preparedness lists are helpful in that you will often find a new idea within — something that you may not have thought of before. Here is a list, in no particular order, of items that you might consider in your overall survival preparedness inventory.   This list of prep items is meant to promote thought, […]

What To Do If An EMP Strikes While You Are At Work

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A high altitude EMP (electromagnetic pulse) is something that has not happened before (yet) by way of a purpose-built weapon designed to emphasize the natural occurring byproduct of a nuclear explosion – a pulse of energy that in theory will destroy much of the electronics infrastructure within its explosive ‘line of sight’. The devastating EMP […]

Getting Started With Survival Preparedness – Skills, Categories

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While getting started with prepping and preparedness, it may seem overwhelming to figure out what you need, and what you need to know. Don’t worry too much though, because the fact that you’re even thinking about it puts you way ahead of nearly everyone else. There are logical ways to go about starting your preparedness, […]

What Items Do You Or Would You Store In Your Own Faraday Cage?

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Some of you (including me) know of the vulnerability that we face with regards to the risk of ‘natural’ or ‘man-made’ EMP (electromagnetic pulse), which has the potential to destroy our electronic components and electronic infrastructure – and maybe even bring down the grid. As a precaution, some of you (including me) may stash some […]

State Rank List – Percentage Of Preppers Per Population

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Have you ever wondered which states have the highest percentage of preppers? (those who are preparedness-minded)? Have you ever wondered where your own state ranks within the 50 states of the United States? Have you ever wondered which state has the least preppers per population? Having recently run a poll asking our readers to let […]

Preparedness And How To Prep When You Are Poor Or Low Income

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(image: the Great Depression poor) There is a big difference between “I can’t afford a generator” poor and “we are splurging by adding cheese to Raman noodles for dinner” poor. Too many people might not start prepping because looking at the cost of ‘recommended items’ can be intimidating. Regardless of your own economic status, lets […]

10 Things To Consider While Starting Out With Preparedness

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Lets say you’re just getting started with preparedness. It may seem overwhelming as to where to begin and what to focus on, and you may feel that you’re so very far behind (because you’re just starting) that you need to hurry up (mistakes happen when you’re in a hurry). The following ten considerations may help […]

Which Garden Vegetables Are You Planting This Year (2016)?

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Participate in our anonymous poll and choose from the list which vegetables that you’re growing in your garden this year… It should be interesting to discover which are the most popular, etc.. Check back as the poll develops:   Note: The list of garden variety vegetables would be exceptionally long if I included every single […]

The Many Uses Of A Bandana

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While a bandana may simply look like a big handkerchief, it actually is a tool with many uses. A characteristic trait of the survival-oriented or preparedness-minded is that of adaptability. Using what one has on hand to help with the current situation. Perhaps finding multiple uses for an ordinary object. Well, let’s talk bandanas… Here’s […]

Uses For Aluminum Foil

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Not only is aluminum foil useful for covering casserole pans, its many additional uses make it a unique preparedness item to always have on hand… Here’s some:   Foil Hat: Great to wear while reading conspiracy websites… 😉 DIY Cooking Pans: Works best with heavy-duty aluminum foil – Fold into the shape which suits your […]

10 Foods That Last Almost Forever

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Which foods will last forever? While ‘nothing lasts forever’, some foods and ingredients will last almost ‘forever’ – a really long time… Here’s a list to get you thinking about naturally long lasting food storage preparedness:   SUGAR White sugar will store indefinitely. It will last forever. Sugar has an indefinite shelf life because it […]

25 Ways to Prepare Without Spending a Dime

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25 Ways to Prepare without spending a dime!One of the recurring excuses for not getting prepared is that preparedness costs too much.  It’s true that some aspects of preparedness are going to require an investment of money, however, cost is no excuse for not doing something!  There are lots of ways to get prepared for free!  Start with these 25 ways to prepare without spending a dime.  Got a free way to prepare?  Share in the comments!

Plan and Organize

1. Get to know your neighbors.  Invite them over for dinner, or plan a block party to get to know a lot at the same time.  Strike up conversations when you see each other.  What do they do for work?  Do they have any special skills or equipment?  These are the people that will be surrounding you if a disaster strikes at home.  Knowing your neighbors will help you know which are potential partners and which could be potential threats.  It will also allow you to better help them.  As a side benefit, you may need someone to feed your dogs while you’re on vacation and a friendly relationship with a neighbor goes a long way!

2. Make a plan.  Plan what you will do if you need to evacuate–where to meet, routes to travel, how to communicate between family members, what to take, what to do with any pets or livestock.  Plan what to do if you need to shelter in place–what supplies you need, how to stay cool or warm if the power is out, how to get home if you are away when the emergency strikes.  Plan your food storage–what foods you need, how to store them, where to store them, recipes you’ll be able to make with the foods you have stored.  There are lots of plans that can be made, pick one and get your plan in place.

3. Inventory your supplies.  How can you know what you need if you don’t know what you have?  Take an inventory of your food, emergency supplies, medical supplies.  You might have more than you think!  Then compare with one of those lists from #2 of what you feel you need and you’ll know where to focus your efforts.

4. Gather documents.  Start with this list.  You already have most of these at your house, but where?  If they aren’t in a location that is easy to grab and run with, gather them up!

5. Scout your evacuation route.  How are you evacuating?  By car, bike, walking?  Take a little trip along that route.  Here’s what to look for along the way.

6. Track what you eat to calculate what you need.  I talk about this in depth in my book, Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival.  Tally how many packages of different foods you use in a month.  How many jars of pasta sauce, how many cans of peaches, how many cans of tuna?  For things that last longer like condiments or oils, mark the date you started using them on the bottle or a spreadsheet and note how long they last.  With these numbers, you’ll be able to calculate how many of each item you need for a one, three, six, twelve month or longer supply of that item.  Remember to take into consideration any eating away from home you do and round up to cover those meals.

Do Something

7. Go for a hike.  A great way to get some exercise and fresh air, hiking can also be coupled with scouting your evacuation route, identifying wild edibles, finding shelter, building a fire, and more.

8. Exercise.  Anything you like here.  Walk, run, do martial arts, aerobics, dance, weightlifting, swimming, or whatever you enjoy.  Your body is one of your most important preps, and it needs to be taken care of if you’re planning to outrun the zombies, or even just make it through the initial emergency and the work that could accompany the aftermath.

9. Save seeds.  Growing a garden?  Practice saving some seeds.  As a bonus, if you started with non-hybrid plants, your seeds can grow next year’s garden!  Some great ways to start seed saving are with cucumbers, squash, radish, and tomato.  I talked about seed saving from these and even more garden plants on two podcasts here and here.

10. Forage.  Are there any wild edibles where you live?  I bet there are.  Even cities have wild plants growing that can be used for food.  Go find some.  Make sure you’re 100% positive on plant identification as well as how to prepare and eat what you foraged.

11. Change a tire.  This will come in handy some day.  Even if you get help when you actually need to change the tire, it’s good to know where your jack and spare tire are and how to use them.

Learn Something

12. Learn how to shut off utilities at your home.  Where is the shut-off for gas?  Electricity?  Water?  Is there more than one?  Do you need a special tool to shut it off?  Many natural disasters could result in broken utility lines or it being unsafe to have the utilities running at your home.  Knowing how to shut them off can keep a disaster from becoming an even bigger disaster.

13. Check out books from your library and read.  There are a lot of great survival guides on the market, including my book, as well as a bounteous supply of survivalist fiction.  Both can provide ideas and instruction for getting yourself and your family prepared.  If your library doesn’t have the book you want, see if there’s a way to request it.  If you have Amazon Prime, you can also check out many of these books to your e-reader for free!

14. Read blogs.  Hey, you’re already doing it!  Way to go!  While you’re at it, check out some of my other favorite preparedness blogs.

15. Watch YouTube videos.  For those of you who are visual learners, YouTube is absolutely a gold mine for preparedness information.  And yes, I have a channel there!

16. Learn a skill.  Do you know someone who has a skill you want to learn?  They’d probably love to get you started!  Canning, needlework, car repairs, home repairs, shooting.  Ask someone to help you learn and you’ll have another skill in your quiver.  Don’t know someone to learn from?  Head back to the books, blogs, and YouTube and you might just find what you need.

Add to Your Supplies

17. Fill water bottles.  Have any empty 2 liter or juice jugs?  The hard clear plastic type.  Wash them out and fill them up with water from your tap.  Now you have some water storage!  That was easy.

18. Ask for preparedness gear as gifts.  This is one way to get those items that are going to require money to get.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, they’re all a great time to ask for what you want.  If someone doesn’t know what to get you, give them your preparedness gear wish list.

19. Use gift cards for preparedness gear.  If you acquire gift cards, either as gifts or as a byproduct of something like your credit card “rewards” program, use them for preparedness supplies!  Even places like home decor stores or office supply stores have products that can help in your preparedness efforts.  Use those gift cards to get prepped!

Test Yourself

20. Start a fire.  Once you’re comfortable starting a fire, challenge yourself.  Start a fire without matches.  Start a fire in the rain or snow or wind.  Start a fire when all you think you can find is wet wood.  Get comfortable starting fires under various circumstances.  Check this out for a primer on the how and why of lighting a fire for survival to get started.

21. Build a shelter in the woods.  This goes along with your hike!  If you don’t have woods nearby, scout for shelter locations between your home and work, or along your evacuation route.

22. Make a meal without your stove.  There is a learning curve to each method of powerless cooking!  Not sure how to start cooking without your stove?  Here are eight great ways to cook when the power is out.

23. Hold an evacuation drill.  This is a fun one.  Surprise your family with a mock emergency.  There’s been a disaster and you have 10 minutes to leave the house.  Go!  See what you grab and what you forget, then hold an analysis meeting, make some lists, and try again another day to see if you improved!  For a great reference on emergency evacuations with some pre-made lists to help you out, check out Lisa Bedford’s book, Emergency Evacuations.

24. Shut your utilities off for a day.  You don’t have to actually shut them off, but don’t use them.  Tape your faucets shut and turn the heater or air conditioner off.  No turning on lights, either!  See how you fare without gas, electricity, or running water!  These kinds of tests find holes in your emergency plans faster than kids find that chocolate you hid in your sock drawer!

25. No shopping challenge.  This is another excellent challenge for living on what you have.  Don’t go shopping for at least two weeks.  No stops for more bread, milk, eggs, your daily soda break, or shampoo.  How do you do?  What areas of your emergency supplies do you need to strengthen?

No money is no excuse for not getting prepared.  Do you know a way to get prepared for free?  Scroll down to the comments section below and share so we can all benefit!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Subscribe to my email newsletter for updates and special deals.

Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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The Successful Survivalist’s Rules of Life

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The Successful Survivalist’s Rules of Life

Successful survivalist's rules of life!1. Carry a pocket knife.
2. Get comfortable with lighting a fire.
3. Learn to shoot and clean a gun.
4. Be able to perform basic first aid.
5. Keep your blades sharp.
6. Work hard and smart.
7. Shop at yard sales and thrift stores.
8. Exercise regularly.
9. Share with others.
10. Grow and preserve your own food.
11. Eat a balanced diet.
12. Expect that things will not go as planned.  Have a backup plan.  Then have a backup plan for your backup plan.
13. Value relationships.
14. Forgive freely. Allow yourself and others the opportunity to change.
15. Practice using what you have.
16. Don’t allow fear to make your decisions for you.
17. Help someone learn a skill you have mastered.
18. Be aware of your surroundings.
19. Plan for the everyday emergencies as well as “end of the world” emergencies.
20. Be grateful for what you have.
21. Get out and stay out of debt.  Build an emergency fund.
22. Store food you will eat. Use it, then replace it.
23. Hug your loved ones. Every day.
24. Know potential terror targets near you.
25. Plan multiple evacuation routes.
26. Keep survival gear in your vehicle.
27. Believe in a power greater than yourself.
28. Create opportunities for your children to enjoy the outdoors.
29. Shoes matter. Own some quality hiking shoes.
30. Drink plenty of water.
31. Learn a skill you can barter with.
32. Don’t waste energy on things you have no control over. Invest your energy in the things you can control–yourself, your emotions, how you spend your time, the way you think, feel, and act.
33. Do something to further your preparedness efforts every week.
34. Include comfort foods in your food storage.
35. Have regular fire drills, change batteries in your smoke alarms.
36. Make a plan for getting home in an emergency.
37. Have more flashlights and batteries than you think you need.
38. Sleep outside.
39. Cook over a fire.
40. Make and stick to a budget.
41. Be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones.
42. Have realistic hope for the future.
43. Pray daily.
44. Know how to make water safe to drink.
45. Have life insurance and a will.
46. Learn to identify, harvest, and eat wild edibles in your area.
47. Create a library of good reference books.
48. Learn to harvest and butcher an animal for food.
49. Conserve.
50. See the good in others.
51. Preparedness isn’t a destination. Celebrate the little steps in the journey.
52. Participate in government.
53. Be able to perform basic car maintenance.  Change your own oil and flat tires.
54. Know how to make something using hand tools.
55. Take care of your gear and it will take care of you.
56. Plan for those in your life who cannot take care of themselves–children, elderly, those with disabilities, pets.
57. Keep your promises.
58. Think positive.
59. Improvise.
60. Never stop learning.

What would you add?

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Food Storage and Survival’s Top 10 of 2015!

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Top 10 of 2015 at Food Storage and Survival!It’s that time of year when we look back over the past year and reflect on what has happened in our lives, how far we’ve come, and what the highlights of the year were.  And on the blog, we look back at the top posts of the year.  What did you, the readers, like to read and share from this site this past year?  So let’s get to it!  Here are the top ten posts of 2015 on Food Storage and Survival!

10.  12 Favorite Comfort Foods You Want in Your Food Storage PLUS How to Store Them.  Why have boring rice and beans food storage when you can store some foods you love?  This post breaks down exactly how to get those comfort foods in your food storage!

9.  Keeping the Special in Special Occasions: 10 Tips for Celebrating During Hard Times.  Hard times come and special occasions are still going to happen.  Here are some great tips for keeping them special when money is tight and times are hard.

8.  Don’t Eat That! Seven Signs of Good Food Storage Gone Bad.  If expiration dates are just a suggestion, how do you know when your food is not safe to eat?  Check for these seven signs of good food storage gone bad!

7.  27+ Clever Ways to Use Dandelions.  Ahhh, dandelions.  You’ll be glad they pop up in your yard this spring with these 27 creative ways to use them!  From tea to bread to lotion, there are plenty of uses for all those dandelions!  Get busy!  🙂

6.  4 Compelling Reasons to Keep Your Gas Tank More Than Half Full.  Including a slightly embarrassing story of me running out of gas on the side of the road, these reasons may just convince you to fill up at half tank instead of empty!

5.  How to Make Soap: Cold Process With Oatmeal.  I love this soap.  It’s easy to make and is so much better for your skin than store soap.  And there’s some really flattering pictures of me in this post.  Actually, it’s about time to make some more of this soap around here!

4.  Six Things to Scout Along Your Evacuation Route.  Go your evacuation route planned?  Here’s what to look for as you’re planning so you’ll be prepared when you need to actually use it for a real evacuation!

3.  72 Hour Kit Series: Food for your Emergency Kit.  Part of the 72 hour kit series, in this post we covered options for food for your kit.  Because nobody wants to go through an emergency hungry!

2.  Eight Great Ways to Cook when the Power is Out!  You’ve got your food stored, but what about ways to cook it when the power is out?  This post has eight fantastic options.  Get at least one in your arsenal and you’ll have a better chance at not eating cold spaghettio’s from the can!

1.  23 (mostly beginner) Preparedness Sewing Projects.  As a seamstress, I love this post and am so glad you all have loved it, too!  Fantastic projects to hone your sewing skills and get a little more prepared in the process!  Great for beginning sewers, even kids can do most of these projects.

2015 was a fantastic year here at Food Storage and Survival!  Thank you for joining me and supporting this site.  I LOVE my readers–you all make this endeavor worthwhile!  If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter and join me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  Here’s wishing you all an amazing 2016!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Subscribe to my email newsletter for updates and special deals.

Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Eight Great Ways to Cook When the Power is Out!

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8 Great ways to cook when the power is out!So you are storing extra food for times of emergency, right?  Unless you have all canned goods or MRE’s, that food will need to be cooked.  Even canned meals and MRE’s taste better warmed up.  However, in many emergency situations you are without power which means no microwave!  Making a plan for powerless cooking as part of your prepping will help ensure you’re not eating all your food storage cold and raw.   So here are eight great ways to cook when the power is out.

1. Fire. We’ll start with the most primitive.  Build a fire in a fire pit, barrel, or other enclosure.  Be careful, you don’t want to add a burning house, field, or tree to your emergency!  You also don’t want to cook your food over something that produces toxic fumes as it burns like tires.  Roast your food on a stick or use metal to make a grate over your fire and cook in sturdy pots and pans.

To make it work you’ll need: a safe place to burn, fuel to burn, and matches or other fire starter.

2. Wood or coal stove. If you have a wood or coal burning stove in your house, you can cook on the top of it if it’s flat enough.  An old wood burning kitchen stove would be awesome although I expect this method would have a pretty steep learning curve for those of us accustomed to cooking with power.  A benefit of this method in the winter is being able to warm your home with the same fuel you’re using for cooking.  Not so beneficial in the summer!

To make it work you’ll need: A wood or coal stove safely installed in your home or bug out location, fuel to burn, matches or other fire starter.

3. Rocket Stove. These are little stoves that burn standard biomass fuel like sticks, but use less of it than an open fire.  You can make your own rocket stove with empty cans, or purchase one like the EcoZoom stove or the similar-to-a-rocket-stove fuel saving Volcano Stove.

To make it work you’ll need: Some form of rocket stove, fuel to burn, matches or other fire starter.

4. A barbeque grill. This one is easy if you are used to cooking on it anyway.  An outdoor grill, either gas or charcoal, is a simple powerless cooking option.  Grill meats, large veggies, fish, etc.  Anything small enough to fall through the grate can be cooked in foil or a pan.

To make it work you’ll need: A grill, propane in your bottle if it’s gas or charcoal if it’s a charcoal grill, possibly matches or other fire starter depending on your grill style.

5. Camping stove. These are the portable stoves like the Coleman Stove your grandpa used when he went camping.  Except now there are so many varieties out there from super light weight backpacking stoves to more stable single burner stoves to larger two burner stoves, there’s surely one that will fit your needs for preparedness and probably make itself a regular use cooker during camping season as well.  Each stove will have a specific fuel type, so make sure you’ve got the correct fuel for your stove!

To make it work you’ll need: Camping or backpacking stove, fuel specific for that stove, fire starting method if your stove doesn’t come equipped with electronic ignition.

6. Larger camping stoves. Larger camping stoves, like a Camp Chef, are a bit more cumbersome than their backpacking counterparts, so won’t work as well if you’re doing a quick evacuation, but they are great cookers.  They generally run on large bottles of propane and come with legs so you’re easily able to cook standing up rather than on the ground or balancing your stove on a rock.

To make it work you’ll need: A stove, propane, and a fire starting source if your stove doesn’t come with auto ignition.

7. Your gas stove top. If you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove in your kitchen and the gas lines are not damaged, you can use the stove top in your home.  Just light it with a match or other fire starter.  Due to fluctuations in flame to adjust for temperature, your gas oven won’t work without power.  Cook up anything in a pot or pan on your stove as you normally would once you bypass the electric ignition and get it lit.

To make it work you’ll need: Gas stove already installed, matches or other fire starter to get it lit.

8. Solar oven. You can make your own or purchase one like the Global Sun Oven.  You can even make one out of a Pringles can.  These work great on hot sunny days, but also work on cold sunny days!  Depending on your design, your oven may not work too well on windy days.  A solar oven can cook anything you’d put in your normal oven as well as dehydrate foods.

To make it work you’ll need: Solar oven, sunny day.

Of course, for each of these cooking methods you may need specific pots or pans for them to work best.  Testing out your gear before an emergency is always a good idea.

And just for fun, I’ll throw in these safety disclaimers as well.  Some of these methods of cooking use open flames.  Don’t burn your house down.  Others burn fuel that need ventilation–don’t use those stoves indoors.  Okay?

Now here’s a challenge for you. Some time this week, cook a meal using a powerless cooking source of your choice.  This could be as easy as a BBQ or as challenging as building a solar oven and baking a cake in it.  Get out and give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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7 Things To Do If Instinct Warns Of Imminent Terrorist Attack

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Lets say that your instinct (your ‘gut’, your ‘spidey’ senses) are warning your inner self of a potentially imminent terrorist attack… …maybe there has been an unusually high number of reported threats, or a recent incident (which may be ‘just the beginning’ of something bigger), or an upcoming event or holiday which could prove ‘ideal’ […]

The Exit Plan – Remodeling, Downsizing, and Preparing to Sell While Building

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Today is the 3rd installment of 24 articles in our year-long series called “The Simple House Project.” Every 2 weeks, we will publish an article or video covering the process from start to finish. From permits, plans, and construction of the exterior, to the complete interior finish – we hope to document the challenges, trials and tribulations of creating a simple cost-effective, energy-efficient and earth-friendly house. With the new house plan well underway, one of our biggest concerns now becomes our current house – as in finding the time to prepare it for sale and deciding when to put it on the market. We also need continue to pare down to prepare for living in a smaller home. The good news is that we have been preparing for this for a while – the bad news is that time is beginning to run short – and we need to get the house ready for sale at some point next year. As many of you know – we are both big believers in using daily to-do lists and yearly goals to help motivate and keep us on track – and those have both played a huge role in helping us get the house ready to […]

12 Favorite Comfort Foods You Want in Your Food Storage PLUS How to Store Them

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Why have boring food storage?  12 Favorite Comfort Foods You Want in Your Food Storage PLUS How to Store Them!Nobody wants to go through a hard time eating just beans and rice.  I’ve heard frequently that “if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat anything.”  But why should you need to when you can have foods you love in your food storage?  Comfort foods are familiar.  They taste good and provide an emotional boost.  And who doesn’t want to be happy eating their food storage?  If you’re using it because you need it, you’re probably already stressed enough!  Bring on the comfort foods!  Here are twelve favorite comfort foods you want in your food storage, plus the best ways to store each one to keep them tasty and ready to eat when you want them!

1. Bread

Not too many meals go by here without someone eating bread with it!  Toast, sandwiches, rolls, breadsticks, pizza crust, scones (the western kind).  It’s all bread.

How to store it: 

  • Baked bread can be stored in the freezer for about 4 weeks.  Not too long, but not bad if you catch bread on sale or want to bake six loaves at a time and freeze some for later.
  • Purchase bread dough mixes.  Honeyville makes a really tasty scone (fry bread) mix, and Thrive Life has an amazing white or wheat dough mix.  Shelf life on these is about 3 years unopened.  For any of these mixes, you’ll need to store yeast as well.  Store yeast purchased at the grocery store in the freezer to prolong shelf life.
  • Learn to make bread from scratch and store the ingredients to make it.  Wheat, yeast, oil, and water will make the most basic bread.  Add salt, powdered milk, sugar, and dough conditioners like gluten flour to fancy it up a bit.  Store the ingredients in airtight, rodent proof containers like #10 cans, buckets, or Mylar bags in a bucket or barrel.  For shelf life of individual ingredients, see this Food Storage Shelf Life Chart.  Want a great bread recipe?  We love this one: 6 Grain Bread

2. Mashed potatoes and gravy

I know this is really two ingredients, but they surely go together well!  Not much better than a big pile of mashed potatoes with gravy spilling over them to warm the soul.

How to store it:

  • Potatoes from the store or garden can be stored in a cool, slightly moist environment for 3-6 months.
  • Potato flakes.  Already canned, like the mashed potatoes from Thrive Life, potato flakes store easily on the shelf for up to 25 years.  If you purchase boxed potato flakes at the store, you’ll want to repackage them in a Mylar bag or bucket to keep them fresh.
  • Gravy can be made from the drippings of meat or using broth made with bouillon.  You’ll want a thickener like corn starch or white flour to thicken it up.
  • Gravy mixes are also available.  Bechamel (white sauce), Veloute (chicken gravy), and Espagnole (beef gravy) are packaged to store for 10 years on the shelf.  Gravy packets can also be purchased at your local grocery store and stored by sealing in mason jars or in Mylar bags.

3. Cookies

Warm cookies from the oven!  Yum.  Chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar cookies.  What’s your favorite?

How to store them:

  • Store bought cookies (off the shelf, not from the bakery) can be stored for up to 1 year by vacuum sealing them in mason jars.
  • Purchase cookie mixes.  Mixes from Thrive Life are packaged to have a shelf life of 3 years and include Classic Cookie Mix (for chocolate chip type cookies), Sugar Cookie Mix, and Coconut Macaroons.  To make boxed mixes last longer than their printed expiration date, repackage them in buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.  MAKE SURE you read the directions for making the cookies from the mix so you have the necessary ingredients in your storage!  Some call for butter, some for eggs (you can substitute powdered eggs), some for oil, and some for just water.
  • Store the ingredients to make cookies.  Look for recipes that use oil or shortening rather than butter for longer storage life.  Store ingredients in air tight, pest proof packaging like #10 cans or food grade buckets.  For shelf life of ingredients see this Food Storage Shelf Life Chart.

4. Cakes

Cake in your food storage can help with celebrating special occasions like birthdays during hard times as well as make a quick treat for a potluck or school party!

How to store it:

  • Purchase cake mixes from the store.  To increase shelf life past the printed expiration date, repackage them into buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.  Be sure you have the additional ingredients in your storage as well, usually oil, eggs (can use powdered eggs), and water.
  • Learn to make a cake from scratch and store the ingredients for cake.  This is a little more time consuming, but storing ingredients gives you a lot of flexibility in what you choose to make with them.  For shelf life of ingredients, see this Food Storage Shelf Life Chart.

5. Hard candies

Sugar is a quick pick me up, and one easy way to get snackable sugar in your storage is with hard candies.

How to store it:

6. Chocolate

Could the world exist without chocolate?  Available in a variety of forms, chocolate is one of my weaknesses!  You know I have some in my food storage.

How to store it:

  • Chocolate candy can be purchased (post-holiday sales are great for this!) and stored in the freezer or vacuum sealed in a mason jar using a vacuum sealer and jar sealer attachment.  This includes chocolate chips.
  • Hot cocoa.  Drinkable chocolate that’s also warm for those winter months or camping trips.  Stores very well on the shelf.
  • Brownie mix.  As with the cookie mixes, make sure you know what other ingredients you’ll need to store.  Thrive Life’s brownie mix has a three year shelf life and only requires adding water.  Boxed mixes from the store may need oil and/or eggs added (again, you can use powdered eggs).  Repackage boxed mixes in buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to extend shelf life past the printed date.
  • Baking cocoa (this brand is my favorite!) adds the ability to make chocolate goodies like cake, brownies, breads, and cookies from your stored ingredients.

7. Ice cream

This is from my kids’ list, and actually one of the trickier food storage foods to store.  Tricky, but  not impossible!

How to store it:

8. Cheese

Cheese is a staple in most of our meals around here.  Macaroni and cheese, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, casseroles, burritos, and I’m sure that’s not all.  Cheese is right up there with chocolate in my opinion!

How to store it:

  • Waxed cheese is shelf stable and does not need refrigeration.  It gets super sharp quickly, so I’d recommend starting with mild cheese and eating it within 3 months.
  • Store block cheese in the freezer.  The texture sometimes gets a bit crumbly after defrosting, but if you’re using it shredded, it’s not too big a deal.
  • Buy freeze dried cheese.  Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Colby, Mozzarella, and even Parmesan.  After reconstituting, these cheeses melt just like their fresh counterparts.  20 year shelf life in the can.
  • Buy cheese powder.  If you’re a lover of macaroni and cheese or want cheese flavor in a casserole dish, cheese powder is one way to get it.  15 year shelf life in the can.
  • Learn to make your own cheese.  A learning curve here, but if you have access to the milk to make it, pick up a cheese making kit and give it a try!

9. Butter

For spreading on bread or making cookies, real butter just can’t be beat.

How to store it:

  • Butter stores fantastic in the freezer for 6+ months.  I keep an ever rotating stash there and have never had a problem.  Just put the box in the freezer and swap it to the refrigerator when you’re ready to start using it.
  • Butter powder makes a nice spread, but doesn’t work in baking like fresh butter.  It can be used to add butter flavor to your cooking though!  5 year shelf life in the can.
  • Canned butter.  Real butter, but shelf stable.  Do not, however, can your own butter.  Not safe.
  • Use the heavy cream powder to make butter in a churn or by shaking vigorously in a jar.  This is also a great option if you have access to fresh cream by owning a cow or living near a dairy.

10. Condiments

Almost every meal tastes better with some kind of condiment.  Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing, steak sauce.  You probably have a favorite.

How to store it:

  • Purchase condiments and store on the shelf.  Almost all are shelf stable until they are opened.  Pay attention to expiration dates and rotate them into your regular eating.
  • Learn to make your own condiments and store or grow the ingredients.  Herbs, tomatoes, oil, sugar, and spices can make a variety of sauces.  Find a recipe for the condiment you love and start experimenting with making your own.

11. Pizza

Pizza!  What kid wouldn’t love to have pizza in an emergency?  Pizza is just four basic parts put together: bread, sauce, cheese, and optional toppings.

How to store it:

  • Bread.  See #1 above.
  • Sauce.  Store bottled pizza sauce.  Or the ingredients to make your own sauce (tomato sauce and spices).  Or this tomato sauce is really good and quick to mix up.
  • Cheese.  See #8 above.
  • Optional toppings.  Freeze dried vegetables and meats like sausage work great for topping pizzas, now and in a disaster.  Pizza meats like pepperoni and Canadian bacon purchased at the grocery store can also be stored in the freezer.

12. Peanut Butter

Filling, nutritious, and great on sandwiches or in cookies, peanut butter is a food storage staple.

How to store it:

  • Peanut butter stores on the shelf for up to 3 years.  Check expiration dates when you’re buying and purchase the jars with the furthest out expiration dates.  Rotate into your regular eating to keep your storage fresh.
  • Peanut butter powder also has a shelf life of 3 years.
  • Peanut flour can be mixed into peanut butter by adding sugar, salt, and oil.  Shelf life of 5 years and contains only the ingredients you put into it.

What comfort foods are you storing? Let me know in the comments!

For items that need baked like bread, pizza, cookies, and cakes, you’ll want a powerless baking method. A Sun Oven, dutch oven and coals, or HERC tea light oven would all work great.

For more nuts and bolts information like this on storing and using food storage, check out my book, Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Keeping the “Special” in Special Occasions: 10 Tips for Celebrating During Hard Times

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Need a low budget birthday or anniversary idea? Check this out: Keeping the "special" in special occasions! 10 tips for celebrating in hard times.Who doesn’t love special occasions?  Holidays are a great time to relax and enjoy life and family.  But what if life isn’t so good and your family is going through a hard time?   Large scale disasters, or personal disasters like experiencing job loss, family stress, or loss of a loved one can severely limit the time, energy, and money available for “extras”.  Regardless of our personal situation however, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and even super special occasions like weddings will still happen.  Being able to set these days apart as special is a morale booster that may be particularly necessary if you are going through a hard time.  You don’t need a huge party to let someone know they are loved and honored.  Try some of these low budget ideas to keep the “special” in those special occasions even when resources are limited.

1.  Do something instead of buying something.  Experiences can be more memorable than gifts.  Even if all you can do is something small, make a memory.  Walk in the woods.  Picnic on the grass (or in the living room).  Read a special book together.  Have a karaoke night.  You get the idea.

2.  Make something instead of buying something.  Homemade gifts speak volumes about the level of thought you put into celebrating the other person or event.  Use your crafting skills and make something meaningful.  A friend of mine has a metal rose made by her husband who was a welder.  Absolutely beautiful, low cost, and more meaningful than a box of chocolates.  Can you work with wood?  Knit or crochet?  Paint or draw?  Surely you can write!  Create a book of things you love or admire about the other person, or write a heartfelt note.

3.  Involve friends and family.  Having special people over can be a treat in itself.  Or have each friend or family member write down a memory they have shared with the person who is celebrating their special day and box them up as a gift.  Free but priceless.  This does take some prior planning so everyone can participate!  No procrastinating here!

4.  Make your own bouquet.  Want to give flowers?  How about a wildflower bouquet.  Or cut flowers from your own flower garden. If you don’t have a flower garden, ask a friend or neighbor who has one if you can use some of their flowers for a bouquet.

5.  Shop all year.  Clearance sales and other special occasion sales like Black Friday can produce some great gifts. So can some yard sales.  Buy it cheap, stash it, and you have something to give when that special day rolls around.

6.  Give things you already have.  This can work lots of ways.  Maybe an older brother doesn’t use his toy car anymore and you can gift it to the younger one.  Clothes that were worn very little by one sister might be loved by another.  Make sure to get the permission of whoever is giving up the soon-to-be-gifted item!  Some of my favorite gifts were given to me this way by my grandparents–ornaments off my Grandma’s Christmas tree, vases and a nativity set from my other grandparents.  Things you might think have little value become valuable because they are a piece of you.

7.  Use special place settings.  Break out the china.  Or just give the birthday boy or anniversary couple special plates.  Pick up holiday themed paper plates and napkins on clearance after the holiday and they’ll be ready to use the next year for making anything you put on it a little more special.

8. Keep party stuff in your food storage and emergency supplies.  No need to go overboard here and buy out a party supply store!  A few cake mixes, frosting, or ingredients to make them will go a long way.  If the power is out, you may need an alternative method for baking your cake.  A Sun Oven, dutch oven and coals, or HERC tea light oven would all work great.  And you do have candles in your emergency supplies, right?  Stick one on that cake you just baked, or use them for a candlelight dinner.

9. Learn to produce some of your own specialty foods.  As you plan your garden, farm, or hunting season, plan for the foods you want to have for your special occasions.  Love pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?  Grow pumpkins.  Want a turkey?  Raise one.  One year my family produced everything we needed to make our own Thanksgiving meal.  It was a little different (nobody could grow cranberries and we had fish and venison in addition to the turkey), but it was fantastic!

10. Simplify now.  As parents, sometimes we want to give our kids everything they want.  If you regularly go to extremes celebrating special occasions, it might be hard to do something small when you’re experiencing hard times.  The good thing is that people, especially kids, don’t need a lot of the “stuff” we get them.  Trimming back on what you spend and simplifying holidays now will help if there comes a time when you need to do less.  One family I know has simplified Christmas by giving each child only four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.  Are there traditions you could start now to simplify your special occasions?

Celebrating should not need to end if things get hard.  Using these ideas can help your family keep the “special” in special occasions regardless of your personal circumstances.  Have any other ideas?  I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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30 Ways a Plastic Bag can Save Your Life

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30 ways a plastic bag can save your life! Perfect multi purpose item for emergency kits!Got plastic bags?  They could save your life!  Today we’re sharing a list compiled by the folks at PlasticPlace.com of the many preparedness uses for plastic bags (plus a little commentary by me anywhere you see these blue italics).

From making cordage to collecting water to emergency signalling, the survival uses for plastic bags are many and varied.  Lightweight and inexpensive, they are an item you’ll definitely want to add to your emergency kits.  Ready to put them to use?  Here’s 30 ways a plastic bag can save your life.

1. Rope and cordage: It’s possible to make strong and durable rope by hand just using garbage bags. Once you’ve got rope, you have the beginnings of shelter, splints, and so much more. Check out this video for the technique.

2. Knapsack: Use sturdy garbage bags and some of that cool garbage bag rope you just made to build weatherproof carrying bags.

3. Wound irrigation: Getting enough water pressure to flush out a wound can be a challenge out in the wild. Poking a small hole in a bag filled with clean water can help clear the wound more effectively with less water.

4. Ice pack: If you need to apply cold to an injury but want the patient to stay otherwise warm and dry, filling the corner of a bag with snow or ice is the way to go.

5. Tourniquet: In a crisis first aid situation, where it’s imperative to stop the bleeding quickly, a sturdy strip of garbage bag applied as a tourniquet can safe life and limbs.

6. Emergency bandage: Keep a cut clean and dry and keep the pressure going by tying a layer of plastic bag around whatever you’re using to staunch the bleeding.

7. Sling: Support and immobilize injured arms with a strong, flexible piece of heavy trash bag.

8. Stretcher: Combined with branches, contractor grade garbage bags are tough enough to support the weight of an injured companion or other heavy load.

9. Create a quarantine: Whether you’re dealing with a zombie virus or something more day-to-day, plastic bag screens and masks can help to slow the spread of disease.

Cut them open and use for sealing doors and windows in your quarantine zone!  You’ll also need some duct tape.

10. Flotation device: They might not be the sturdiest life-jackets, but in a tight spot filling a strong garbage bag with air and sealing it shut can buy you a bit of buoyancy.

11. Food storage: Don’t want to attract bears and other wildlife when you’re spending time outdoors? Put your food in several layers of plastic bags (to cut down odors) and then hang it from a tree away from your sleeping area.

12. Water collection: Drinking out of puddles can cause disease. With a plastic bag, you can catch rain or dew in a cleaner environment. Dig a shallow hole, line it with the garbage bag, and weigh down the edges with rocks.

13. Solar still: Turn salt water into drinkable fresh water with a black trash bag. Here’s a video that will show you how.

14. Transpiration bag: Yet another amazing way a garbage bag can help you get water. Find a leafy branch in direct sunlight, give it a shake to get any critters out, and tie a see thru trash bag around the branch.

15. Boil water: Boiling water is the best way to purify it, but if you don’t have a pot what are you supposed to do? Boil in the bag. We’re serious. Check it out in this video.

16. Signalling: A white or brightly colored garbage bag can make all the difference in a search operation. Wear it or wave it to flag down helicopters, boats, or passing travelers.

17. Trail markers: another great use for colored trash bags. Cut small strips off the bag and tie them to branches as you go. This will help searchers follow your trail in thick forests, and let you easily retrace your steps if necessary.

Make sure you can see your last marker from the next one you tie so it’s easy to follow your trail!

18. Shelter: A couple of big drum liners, combined with a rope or a branch, can make an amazingly effective one-man tent. If you’ve ever watched Bear Grylls try to build a shelter from what’s in the wild, you know it’s not easy. Avoid having to skin a sheep by carrying a couple of our strong 95 gallon bags You’ll save time, energy, and calories.

19. Fly screen: Especially in mosquito-infested areas, getting some relief from bugs can be a big deal. Cut some slits in a large garbage bag and hang it across the opening of your shelter. It will discourage insects but let important ventilation through.

20. Sleeping bag: Right? No explanation needed. Bigger is better: check out one of these extra tall bags for the best comfort.

21. Mattress: Stuff it with whatever you can find. This isn’t just about comfort: your body loses a lot of heat in contact with the cold ground. Insulating your sleeping space can be a literal life-saver. Even just getting your head and torso off the ground will make a noticeable difference.

The plastic will also serve as a moisture barrier from ground moisture.  Good deal all around.

22. Dry storage: Anyone who has ever been cold and wet knows that a dry pair of socks is the closest thing to heaven in that situation. It can also fend off frostbite and gangrene. Keep your spares toasty in at least one layer of plastic.

23. Spare shoes: If your footwear isn’t waterproof, a layer of trash bag can provide protection from puddles and rain.

I remember doing this as a kid with bread bags inside my snow boots!  My mom was resourceful like that.

24. Vapor barrier: Most people have used a garbage bag as an impromptu poncho once or twice, but staying dry becomes much more important out in the elements. Protecting your warming inner layers from rain and mist with an environmental shell layer like a plastic bag is an important survival step. Tip: add a few small vent holes to prevent moisture from sweat and condensation from building up inside the bag.

25. Safety vest: If you’re lost in the woods and it’s hunting season, you want to be saved, not shot. An orange trash bag worn over your clothes will keep hunters from accidentally aiming at you.

Bright orange is great for any time you want to be seen or found!

26. Hypothermia layer: If you’re caught outside in dangerously cold temperatures, a plastic bag is excellent for conserving body heat. Keep the hole for your head as small as possible, and don’t bother making arm holes, just hug yourself and hold the heat in. If there are dry leaves, pine needles, or other materials like newspapers around, you can stuff the bag to increase insulation. Bonus: black garbage bags will absorb whatever sunlight is around.

27. Waste containment: Sorry to be gross, but it’s important. In a disaster, disease is what usually causes the second wave of devastation. Plastic bags are indispensable for maintaining hygiene in this situation.

A simple bucket can be turned into a toilet and you’ll want plenty of garbage bag liners handy when you need to use it! Or use the bags to line your home toilet when the water isn’t working.

28. Shower: Staying clean is actually really important in an environment where infection can kill. If water is plentiful and you want to wash, fill a strong black bag and hang it from a branch. After it’s warmed in the sun for a while, poke a hole in the bottom and splash around.

29. Low-tech washing machine: This is a similar technique. Agitating your clothes in an extra-thick garbage bag of sun-warmed water can be surprisingly effective, and takes a lot less energy than scrubbing against rocks.

30. Fish trap: A big plastic bag can make it much easier to catch protein-rich fish without a rod and reel.

How would you use a plastic bag for survival?  Leave your ideas in the comments!  You probably have plastic bags around your house, but if not or if you’re looking for something a little different, PlasticPlace.com has a huge selection of plastic bags!

Now go get some in your emergency kit!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Subscribe to my email newsletter for updates and special deals.

Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Shop the Thrive Monthly Specials or my favorites, the freeze dried vegetables and yogurt bites!

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The 49¢ Secret to Accomplishing The Daily Tasks Needed To Reach Your Dreams

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“How in the world do you two find the time to get everything done? What is your secret?” Those two questions seem to always come up in the conversation when someone talks to us about balancing our careers and family life while building the farm, tending the garden, and writing articles and recipes for the blog. It can certainly get a little crazy at times – and although we, like many, rely on a digital calendar to keep track of meetings, family functions, school events and travel schedules  – its actually a simple, low-tech system that powers us to accomplish the daily goals and tasks of our life. In fact, in an age of technology, time management devices, electronic calendars, alarms, reminders and task lists – I think most people are fairly shocked when they find out that our “secret” to “getting things done” is none other than a tiny, 49¢, 3 x 5″ spiral notebook. How The Notebook Works For Us:   5 minutes in the morning,  5 minutes at night…and a whole day of accomplishment! For us, it actually all starts with the realization that no single large project, goal or dream ever gets completed without a lot of little accomplishments happening to pave the way. […]

Five Ways Amazon Prime Makes Preparing Easy

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5 Ways Amazon Prime Makes Preparing Easy! This service is perfect for preppers!Amazon.com’s membership service, Amazon Prime, offers quite a few perks to the average user.  But how useful is it for getting you prepared? I’ve analyzed the service through a preparedness lens and here are five fantastic ways Amazon Prime makes preparing easy.

1. Free 2-day shipping

Valid on 20 million items available on Amazon.com with no dollar limit on your order.  That means if you just want a copy of my book, you don’t have to add twenty more dollars worth of items you don’t need to get the free shipping!  Use your free shipping to get flashlights, survival knives, water filters, books, or even food! Use your free shipping to send things to yourself or to send gifts to your friends and family members. Remember, this isn’t the regular 5-8 day free shipping, this is the upgraded 2 day free shipping, so you can even be a gift procrastinator and still get it there in time!  Or get that new sleeping bag delivered in time for next week’s camp out.

2. Unlimited photo storage.

How many ways can you think to use this one? Don’t want to lose your photos to a computer crash, house fire, or natural disaster? Store them on the Amazon cloud and they’ll be safe no matter what happens at your own house. Scan in documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, or vehicle titles for easy access from a location other than home. Make a folder with photos of the contents of every room in your house for your homeowner’s insurance. And of course, preserve precious memories of the most important people and events in your life.

3. Access to streaming videos.

Now, some of these shows will be a complete waste of time, but there are some survival themed shows available to stream for free with Amazon Prime like Hunger Games, World War Z, Seven Alone, or Collapse. There’s usually something that can be learned from a survival themed show. Date night, anyone?

4. Ad-free streaming music.

To listen to while you work on one of these Weekend Preparedness Projects!  And all the money you would have spent buying albums can now be used for food storage!

5. Free e-books to check out.

Perusing the titles available for free download for Amazon Prime members brought up lots of preparedness related books, including edible plant guides, The Survival Medicine Handbook by Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, various titles by Creek Stewart, and even my book, Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival! These e-books are available at no charge, just like checking a book out of your library (minus the late fees)!

Amazon Prime is priced at $99 for the year.  That’s just $8.25 per month.  Make preparing easier, head on over and get yourself set up with Amazon Prime.

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Deciding What to Do Next

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One question I hear a lot is “I’m new to prepping. Where do I start?” Similar is, “I have so much to do to be fully prepared, I don’t know what to do next!” Here is a strategic planning tool I use to plan my preparations.

what next

  1. I start by breaking down my planning into basic survival focus areas: Shelter, Water, Food, Personal Defense, Communications, and Wellness.
  2. For each focus, I then mentally evaluate my level of preparedness and where I want to be. I try to articulate where I want to be in terms of brief statements of objective.
  3. Based on my objectives, I then list the most promising action steps I can take in terms of gear, plans, skills, etc. I articulate these action steps as major tasks.
  4. I evaluate the tasks I’ve set for myself and try to assign a date to complete each task. Sometimes the tasks are ongoing, but sometimes they can be completed. If so, I decide for myself when it would be reasonable to complete that task, given the other things going on in my life.
  5. Finally, I select just 3-5 of the tasks I’ve assigned and put them on my WIN list (“what’s important now”). These are the 3-5 tasks (ideally spread over several focus areas) that would have the greatest impact if they were all I was able to complete from my entire list. They need to be achievable (in terms of effort, cost, etc.) and make a significant improvement in my level of preparedness. They are the answer to the question, “What do I do next?”

Here’s a sample SGR Planning Guide I might have used at one time. It would represent a time when I had already begun to prepare myself, already had acquired gear and laid in supplies for 1-3 months, and already had begun learning skills that could prove useful in an emergency.

Shelter

The first basic survival concern is shelter: maintaining our core body temperature and protecting ourselves from the elements.

Objectives

  • Clothing appropriate to location and season
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Appropriate headgear
  • Sleep systems
  • Home
  • Temporary/emergency shelter (e.g. tent, ability to construct lean-to)
  • Specified bugout destination(s)

Major Tasks

  • Acquire a bivouac bag and sleeping pad to go with sleeping bag
  • Acquire a new pair of boots and store existing pair with bugout bag
  • Change out old sunscreen in bugout bag, get home bag, car kit
  • Add tarp to car kit
  • Make blackout curtains for kitchen/dining area

Target Date

Have all shelter items completed by end of year

Water

Water is important for cooking, hygiene, and especially for drinking. Having access to water and the ability to treat water is highly important.

Objectives

  • Stockpile minimum water needed for 3 people for 3 months (270 gallons)
  • Have at least two ways of treating water at all times
  • Have appropriate water containers with each kit
  • Have two alternate sources of water in case city services are interrupted.

Major Tasks

  • Acquire a second WaterBOB
  • Purchase enough AquaMira for bugout bag, Nalgene water bottle kit, and car kit.
  • Acquire 8 more Aquatainers, fill them, and add them to my stockpile
  • Refresh the water in existing Aquatainers
  • Locate a wellhead nearby in the community. Inspect it to verify condition.

Target Date

Make the purchases at a rate of $30/month until all is acquired. Locate the wellhead within 30 days.

Food

Food is not only necessary for energy and life, it also plays a role in maintaining morale.

Objectives

  • Stockpile enough food for 3 people for 3 months
  • Identify 3 new edible wild plants that grow in the area during at least 2 seasons. Find some. Try some.
  • Acquire starter gear and supplies to begin pressure canning.

Major Tasks

  • Purchase an additional 30-day bucket of freeze-dried food (actually good for more like 2 weeks)
  • Purchase 4-8 additional cans of food each week. Emphasize meats and vegetables.
  • Build or purchase another rack for the garage for rotating canned goods.
  • Pull old vitamins from bugout bag to start using. Replace them with fresh vitamins.
  • Research edible wild plants in the area. Try to see what is relatively common.
  • Learn about pressure canning. Research what equipment is reliable and durable. Purchase the equipment.
  • Prepare some meals that can be canned, and can at least a couple of weeks worth of meals.

Target Date

Be set up for canning within 2 weeks. Refresh vitamins by end of month. Learn about, locate, and try one new wild edible each month. Have new can rack in garage and new bucket of freeze-dried food by end of year.

Personal Defense

Among the things one should consider preparing for are looters and criminals seeking to take advantage of any breakdown in the rule of law. I recommend you arm yourself with at least one handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle, and long arm. One might consider Opsec part of defense as well.

Objectives

  • Acquire an inexpensive but reliable high-power bolt-action rifle and scope capable of accuracy to 400 yards.
  • Evaluate existing armory for any parts needing periodic replacement.
  • Acquire minimum amount of ammunition needed for up to one year.
  • Make sure everyone in the household is familiar with operating each of our firearms.

Major Tasks

  • Find a good used Savage 10 or Remington 700 or similar in .308 for $250-300. Buy it.
  • Research reliable scopes. Select something inexpensive but reliable. Buy it.
  • Research commonly replaced parts for each of my firearms. Find an inexpensive source of new or surplus parts.
  • Set aside or spend $30 each month for parts and ammunition.
  • Take the family out shooting in the desert twice this year.

Target Date

Since I already have a good foundation in this category and already have the funds for the rifle and scope, I’ll start with the $30/month right away and aim for getting everything else done by the end of the year.

Communications

It’s helpful to be able to receive news from the outside world if the power is out or it’s not safe to go out. Communication can include commercial radio, amateur radio, smoke signals, chalk marks, flares, whistles, etc.

Objectives

  • Maintain functional amateur radio equipment and remain familiar in its use
  • Be able to recharge electronic devices including cellphones
  • Keep contact list up to date

Major Tasks

  • Participate in area emergency nets at least twice a month for both handheld transceivers and HF rig.
  • Install NVIS antenna at home.
  • Test solar charger every quarter.
  • Update contact list

Target Date

Update contact list by end of next week. Test solar charger first week in November. Have NVIS setup by end of year.

Wellness

This is the realm of first aid kits, medicines, health issues, and physical fitness.

Objectives

  • Maintain physical fitness
  • Ensure adequate supply of medical supplies for my skill level
  • Have a 3-month supply of any medicines used in the family

Major Tasks

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes at least 4 days each week
  • Make a list of any medicines used (prescription and non-prescription). Note dosages. Check expiration dates and supply. Refresh or supplement stocks as needed. Don’t overlook first aid kits, bugout bag, car kits.
  • Renew first-aid certification

Target Date

Complete medicine study and resupply by end of next month. Take part in first-aid training offered by CERT later this month.

WIN List

From the major tasks I identified above, here are the ones I’m putting on my WIN list (“what’s important now”). These are tasks that will make the most impact in my level of preparedness and are achievable within the next few months, given all the other demands on my time and money. This is the list of what I’ll do next:

  • Learn about pressure canning. Research what equipment is reliable and durable. Purchase the equipment.
  • Set aside or spend $30 each month for parts and ammunition for my existing firearms.
  • Install an NVIS antenna at home for my HF amateur radio.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes at least 4 days each week.

My past experience tells me I’ll get to quite a few of the other tasks as well, but now I have some very helpful focus on what I should be doing over the next couple of months. I like to keep each planning guide for reference as I prepare a new one at least once a year. It’s been helpful for me to see a steady track record of progress, and to look for patterns as to what sorts of things derail my plans and what’s realistic for the next year.

What will you do next?

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Creating Emergency Preparedness Kits

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

pskThe Rule of Threes

One can survive for:

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

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

David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

The 5 “must have’s:”

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

The 5 “should have’s:”

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

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

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

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

IESSEP

  • Identity
  • Education
  • Skill Set
  • Earning Potential

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

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

What am I missing?

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