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Okay, the title is a bit misleading, its more like a good reason you should skimp when eating your long term storage and starve yourself a little. In easier terms, you should go on a diet in a SHTF scenario.

So what the heck are you talking about Richard? I stored up this food so my family and I WOULDN’T have to Starve!

Here’s Why….



The collapse hit in early March, Things were bad, but food was available, what little government was still functioning tried to quell any dissent and riots by shipping what food was left in warehouses and what could be “nationalized” from farms during the summer was shipped to central distribution areas in cities and some made it to the rural areas.

Most of the people in your town were surviving off what they could get in from the distribution centers, people were becoming thinner and malnourished from lack of quality food, but there were no truly hungry days, belly’s went to bed full.  Things have changed, what little crops made it through the summer were needed immediately to fill the gaps, and now food was becoming more scarce, calories for each daily meal have been cut from 2000 to 1500 a day and will only get worse through the winter.  The Government had started to send out pamphlets on “how to make a home garden” in late July and early August, much to late to do any real gardening and with ridiculously unuseable information for anyone outside of southern California growing climates.  Next years crops were to be even worse as artificial fertilizers were harder to come by and years of using them left them unusable since fertilizers had robbed the fields of any organic material necessary to natural growing.

As things have gotten worse people are getting skinier and less healthy looking, however you had foresight and built up a 2 year supply of food for you and your family. Meals were more bland, plain jane most nights, however you had put away quite a few spices, so a few nights a week things got ‘changed up’.  Your family hadnt really lost much weight, none of you were chubby or fat before the collapse, but all of you could have stood to lose a few pounds.

In town all people talked about food, rumors that a big shipment was coming in, or even that a large herd of cattle had been found out in the range and fresh steaks and ground beef were probably on their way.  Kids talked about candy, drunks opined over booze and moms cried because their kids wanted their favorite meals. 

As meals got cut or shipments came a few days late, people had began to talk….

“Why do the Smith’s still seem healthy?”  “We are all getting the same food and I have lost 25 lbs, do they have secret garden somewhere?”

As weeks and months went by, and food got less filling the talk of “why” and “how do they…” changed to

“They must be hoarding food…”, “I bet they have a bunch of food stored away, maybe they stole it off one of the trucks..taking from my kids!”


You may think that it sounds crazy, however as I outlined in my article on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment as malnutrition sets in people become obsessed with food and become dangerous and angry.  In the Experiment all the participants were avowed pacifists, but they began to develop fantasies about everyone they saw, that they were going to eat and started to become very angry at them.

These were avowed pacifists, so what do you think people who are used to huge meals and see you still keeping your belt in the same notch.


Think about it, if everyone else is starving or near starvation, or in the least malnourished and you are still a more than healthy 38 waist, what is everyone going to be thinking?  You can guess, because that is what ANYONE including you would be thinking….YOU HAVE FOOD STOCKED AWAY.

In my opinion the best thing to do is to finally go on that diet, everyone needs to.  Portion out the meals in combination with the extra work you will probably be doing and make sure that everyone starts to slim down.  Don’t make you and your family UNHEALTHY, however cut down the caloric intake and get everyone down to a healthy weight, now this may not cast off all suspicion, but with a good garden season people will not be be as suspicious.

With this tactic you may just save your life, they are not bad people, they are just hungry.









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Cardboard Gardening: Dont Throw that out!

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Now currently I am inundated with Cardboard from our move last year, I kept 80% of our boxes and flattened them, etc, however a whole house of stuff produces a lot of boxes, so I have been slowly using them for other things, from backing for spray painting to fire starters.

Now I was trying to look for more uses for my cardboard as it seems a waste to even recycle it if i can find a use for it, and I did!

Spring is rapidly approaching, although my prepper brothers and sisters to the east may not feel like it is!


Egg Cartons:


Now I don’t buy store bought eggs anymore, I prefer to source my eggs locally until We get settled into our final destination (where we are now currently will NOT be our homestead unfortunately) so I end up with quite a few egg cartons.

One very great way to use these is for planters.  Now I know my green thumbs out there are probably going “duh!” but many folks out there are quite new to all of this!

Start by cutting the carton in half, and you can leave the flap on one side of them to write the name of the plants if that helps (i think its a great idea!).  Fill the carton with soil and then plant a few seeds in each area, this will give them good spacing to begin with. Water them and as they come up cull the weaker seeds in each carton section so that the strongest survives, once planting season is here you can just bury the carton in the ground as the cardboard will decompose.  If you can use the recycled non/white paper cartons as there are chemicals in the bleaching process.

The photo above comes from gardeninggrrl.wordpress.com, and you can see how she planted them carton and all!


Weed Control/Mulch:


(photo courtesy of snakeroot.net)

I did this last year in a couple of my beds as a test case to see if it would work well, and I was impressed.

I started by digging out about 5-6 inches off the tops of the raised beds.  I then loosely flattened out the area and layed in a piece or two of cardboard across the whole bed.

I cut out the areas where I would plant and marked off the corners with some sticks/stakes, Then i soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it.

You will want to make sure the cardboard is through and through soaked, because if you don’t it may become hydrophobic and repel water, and that is opposite of what you want, you want it to hold moisture.

Once it was good and soaked I then cover it with dirt then at about the 2-3 inch layer i layed down another layer of cardboard and soaked it finally, covering it all with dirt.  What this did was two fold.

It helped stop weeds from coming up all around my plants (it didn’t stop them from coming up in the areas where i didn’t lay cardboard, but it cut down weeding a lot), but it also helped to hold moisture in the soil.  Where I am currently at the sun is very hot and the wind is harsh so it leads to dry soil.  There is very little rainfall in the summer so the little we had along with my watering was held very well in the soil and led to good growth.  I would often check during the days and my soil was always damp, a very good thing in that climate.

A Note: you can also use newspaper as well not the shiny junk mail flyers but paper newspapers.

In the case of the picture above these people used wood mulch on top of the cardboard, im guessing this was more to inhibit weeds than hold in moisture as it doesn’t seem to be soaked.


Raised Bed Straw grown Potatoes:


This is something i can not speak much on since I have not done it yet, I just discovered this but am very intrigued and will try to do this, this summer!

I read a brief description of how to do this on the Colorado State Extension site.

Basically what you do is prep your soil with organic matter/compost, dig a trench four inches deep and 12 inches wide.

Plant your potatoes 4-6 weeks before last frost in your area and push the see (eye up) 1/2 inch down into the loos soil and space 12 inches apart.  Then fill the trench with six inches of weed free straw and as they come up add another 4 inches of straw.

Water evenly to keep moist and don’t overwater them.  The straw will help to keep the soil moist, and promote plant health and growth.  When August comes (or whenever your harvest time may be), you can just reach in and pull back the straw to reveal soil free potatoes, no need to dig them out!

Now how does this relate to cardboard…well if you wanted you can use some of the bigger boxes as planters.  As seen in the photo above they used a old washtub/basin and filled it with 4 inches of soil and then dug the trench in there and filled with straw.  On a budget or in SHTF you can use Cardboard Boxes!  The nice thing as well is that the carboard will break down and you can use that as mulch the next year, etc.


There are multitudes of uses for cardboard, these are just 3 ways to use it specifically for gardening!







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5 Overlooked Prepping Items

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Back in September I wrote i post on 10 important Barter Items that people may not have thought of, I wanted to keep doing this every so often to bring attention to items we often dont think about when we are focusing on the 3 Big B’s, that is Beans, Bullets and Band-aids.


1) Note Pads and Pencils

215_1_b890 notepad

I for one jot down a lot of notes on all different things, from ideas on posts for the site to shopping lists to keeping track of our expenses.  This of course is more in line with ‘normal’ living, however even in the worst SHTF scenario you will want to be able to keep track of many many different things.  Think right now, how many pads of paper do you have right now? Perhaps you have a ream of paper for your print and maybe a few little pads in the junk drawer, is that enough?

Think of uses for writing in a SHTF scenario one can come up with many uses.

  1. Keeping track of your gardens: I keep track of all my garden beds and plants in the house, i write down what their status is, how they are looking, the temps that day, how much water i gave them, how well they are producing and growing, what compost if any i added to them etc.  In reality you should be doing this now so that in a SHTF scenario you arent starting from scratch (no pun intended)
  2. Shift Rotations for guard duty and a log book would be useful, have those coming on duty sign in and write hourly statements on what is going on; most likely nothing is going on but it reminds them to keep on the look out and gives them something to do.
  3. Keeping a log of food input and output.  More likely it will be 90% input until you can get those gardens going if you havent already, but this way you can see how much of everything you are using daily, weekly, monthly and know how long you have left before you are going to need to cut rations or go out and find more food or barter.
  4. If you have kids, they are a great thing to have for them to play with, sketch and take their mind of of the situation.

These are just a few ideas, but having a good supply of notepads and pencils will help in this.  Pens are useful but pencils work until they are nubs and never have issues like ink drying up etc.  Have a good measure of each.  Looking on Amazon you can buy small 4×6 notepads in 100 page-120 pad bundles for $69 or 6 dozen small notepads for around $8 or if you prefer legal pads you can pick up 12 50 page legal pads for around $25.  Pencils you can pick up 144 regular #2 for $14.60 or 144 small golf pencils for $8.


2) Percolator

coleman coffee percolator


Granted you will need to have stored some Green Roasting Beans and have the necessary info on how to roast your own beans etc which i explained in a post awhile back. But once you have that coffee you will want to be able to brew that delicious nectar of the Gods.  If you have never used a camp percolator you are missing out, there is just something about brewing coffee over the fire that really makes it delicious.  The picture shows the Coleman Coffee Perculator which is coming in at around $32, however a less expensive option is the Wenzel at $18.  If you can find an older WWII GI one that would be better.  Camp Percolators are good because they require no coffee filters and you can use this over a campfire, rocket stove or propane/camp fuel stove.




Need I say anything?  For storing anything smaller than  tote size Zip Loc bags are excellent for organizing or keeping food fresh in your fridge or freezer.  They are also worth their weight in gold when you are needing to keep smaller items or packs of socks and underwear dry in your pack.  I keep all my clothing items in Zip Loc bags in my Bug out Bag, Having a dry pair of socks, underwear and shirt can be very nice or necessary to your survival depending on the situation if you are actually doing bug out on foot.

In the picture above you can see the XL Big Bag that they offer than can pack away larger items of clothing or a whole ‘outfit’, while Freezer bags will work for anything else and are more desireable and hardy than the smaller sandwich bags.


4) Vermin Reduction


Now this is a multiple of items under the same header so I am cheating a bit!

However most of us, especially those not in the country don’t realize how prevalent vermin populations can grow once they get a foothold, sure in the city you may see a rat in the alley way garbage or a cockroach in your kitchen but most of those are kept at bay with a lot of spraying and city pest control.  Once systems start breaking down do you think the government will concentrate on control and feeding the population to keep them docile or hunting rats and spraying for roaches?  The fact that you wont be able to just call Orkin when roaches start moving in is also something to consider…become your own exterminator.


In the 4 corners area of the southwest and areas around it HANTAVIRUS is a major concern this can kill you in days, so if you are in an area where hantavirus is possible you will want to keep your mouse population as close to zero as possible, any droppings you find spray with a 10% bleach solution, let it sit for a minute or two and then dispose of it.  Hantavirus is spread by disturbing the droppings and the dust particles that fly up are what carries it.

Now I don’t like Pesticides and I don’t use poisons for mice mostly because I dont want them storing it where my child or dog could get at them, but this a decision that you will have to make.

Consider stocking up on these items.



Mouse/Rat Traps: I love the plain old Victor Moustrap, you can pick up a pack of 72 for just under $40, however i have begun to like the ones with the fake cheese as the trigger, if you slather a peanut butter/molasses mix on to the fake cheese the mice really have to dig in to get it and easily sets off the pedestal snapping them up.


D-con style poisoning:  If i didn’t have children or pets around i would consider this, the mice eat it and die later, an issue can arise if they die within your walls, which is another reason i don’t like poisons.  for anyone who has never enjoyed the smell of a rate decomposing where you cant get at it…not a good week or so!


Live traps: I don’t like live traps, mostly because i don’t want to “free” them, they will be back within the hour! However if you really want to they are an option.


Bug Control

Sprays: I spray certain areas of the house where my kids and dog cant get into them as well as they wont leach into any areas where i grow food, so I spray under the house, garages, up in bedroom lofts, etc.  I like the Scotts Home Defense max a jug with a batteyr operated spray wand for around $15.


Foggers: Foggers are great to gut out a house, just set one in each room (make sure all windows are shut), pop them and leave for a few hours.  After you return open up all the windows and doors and run the HVAC for an hour or so.  they say to cover all your areas where you prepare food, personally I did this but i scrubbed every carpet, floor and area where it may have settled i didn’t want my daughter exposed to anything so it was an all day affair.  You can pick up 3 cans that cover 2000 square feet each for under $10. Make sure that if you don’t have cans specifically made to NOT set off if the pilot light in your stove is left on that you unplug your stove. personally i shut off the main breaker.


Bug Spray: Now in a SHTF scenario if you live in mosquito country and have to hunt for food, etc. if you are not used to bugs you will be wishing that you had some good bug repellant.  Personally I cover any entrance areas such as sleeves and bottoms of jeans with 100% deet sprays as well as my hat, etc.  For on skin i stick to the 25% stuff.  I recently bought a mess of bug spray that was discounted for under a $1 a bottle once winter was setting in and they needed to get them off their shelves.

Glue Traps:  Glue traps i have found dont work well for mice, sometimes they stay stuck, sometimes they end up crapping everywhere as they drag themselves around teh garage and eventually get out, however they work great for trapping HOBO spiders and other insects that can be deadly.  Areas where snakes or other reptiles can be a problem they make heavier duty versions.


5) OIL

No I’m not talking about cooking oils, I’m talking about the lifeblood of engines.  Now if you have some plans for backup power using a generator or are planning on using your vehicle post SHTF you have started stockpiling gas/diesel and use some fuel stabilizers such as PRI (which i did a post on if you don’t know what it is).  You might even have hundreds of gallons of fuel for these engines, however do you have the other important part…Oil?

From your car to your Generator to your chainsaw and other engine powered items you will need oil for it to stay running.  Now make sure that you have the correct oils for all the different items you are planning to use, but especially the car and the generator.  For your chainsaw and other 2 cycle engines you will need oil to mix as well as bar chain oil to keep it running smooth.  Do not forget this, or you may only get a few days/weeks out of these engines before they are bone dry and you are trading some hard stored food supplies or something else that you could have spent $50 on now to not be in that position.





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How to Make Logs for burning from Junk Mail and Newspapers

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newspaper junk mail burning logs

(photo courtesy of traybellakc.blogspot.com)

I have found that this IS NOT even close to being as efficient as some good dried hardwood…or even softer woods like Pine.  However that being said most if not all of us are constantly getting reams of junk mail and newspapers in our mail box and dropped on our door.  Im sure you can also easily get this from your friends and neighbors who will be MORE THAN HAPPY to offload this.  It makes a neat little project and also offers you the ability to ‘create’ your own heat.  In hard times im sure it will be harder to find, but you may be able to find large amounts laying around even in hard times.

Just something to take note of and stick away in your brain, another tool in the toolbox.



  • Large (or small depending on how much you want to make) amounts of newspaper/Junk Mail

*Be aware that some of the junk mail/magazines that come in that have the “coated” heavy shiny paper can burn quite badly with thick black smoke, so try to avoid those.*

  • Large bin to soak the paper in, something like a rubbermaid tote will work great (Sink can work as well, but doing it outside is better and cleaner)
  • Cotton Twine/String.  This can be other types of twine like Jute, just not anything poly based (it has to burn!)
  • Water




Get your newspapers and/or junk mail and soak them, not to the point where the more weaker newspaper falls apart, but get it wet/soaked





Hang the paper out to drip dry on a line, or wherever you can hang it.  You only need to do this for a few seconds to a minute, the goal is just to let the excess water drip off, not dry it out.





Roll the Paper.  Now looser rolls means it will burn faster, tighter means it will burn longer.  After you roll the first bit, put it on top of another amount of paper and roll that into it, until you get the size of the log you want.  Now you can roll quite a bit each time, but don’t try to do too much or it will be a mess and a pain in the butt, this is just a learning curve issue, you’ll figure it out after the first few logs.




Once you have the size you want keep a hand on the roll so it doesn’t unravel, and use the twine/string to tie it securely (both ends and middle).  Set it somewhere to dry, let it sit for a day or so (depending on how large it is).  Stand it up so one end is up and one is down.  Sunny, Dry, Windy locations work best.



Now some of the paper may develop mold on it, so you can lay it on a rack if you want to avoid that.


Now just start your fire as normal and throw some of these logs on!







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Episode 25: Glen Tate of 299 Days: The Cabela Prepper

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299 Days Book Series Book 7 CHange of Seasons

Today we once again talk to Glen Tate, author of the 299 Day Book series.

Today we Talk about

  • Updates on his latest addition to the Series (Book 7, 299 Days: Change of Seasons).
  • “Cabelas Preppers” and the danger of buying the gear but not having the training or mindset needed to survive.
  • Why it is more important to Prep than to not just to make your spouse/significant other happy.
  • The Lack of mental resiliency in our children and how that will play out in the coming troubles
  • Planning for people to come to you in hard times
  • And much more!

The 299 Day Book Series is available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles, and you can pick them for any platform from hardcopy to Kindle /Nook and Ipad.





The 299 Days Website : http://www.299days.com

The Article Glen wrote we spoke about in the interview: http://299days.com/ill-come-to-your-place-when-shtf-no-you-wont/





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Biolite Camp Stove Review

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Today I review the Biolite Camp Stove.  Biolite is a great company that primarily focuses on sending their product to the third world to help those in abject poverty have access to power to recharge their small electronics as well as eliminate much of the soot and waste that causes various respiratory disease that come from open flame cooking.


Weight: 33 oz (2lbs 1 oz)

Dimensions: (Packed) 8.25 inches High x 5 inches wide

Fire Output: LO setting, 3.4 kW, HIGH setting 5.5Kw

USB power output: Max continuous: 2W@5V, Peak 4W@5V

Compatible Devices: Most small USB chargeable devices such as smartphones & Headlamps

Charging Time: Iphone 4S, 20 minutes=60 minutes of talk time

Boil Time: 4.5 minutes = 1 Liter of water

MSRP: $129.95


This Stove can use any renewable biomass such as sticks, twigs, pinecones, etc.  Anything you can burn in a normal stove this will burn.

You can see more in the YouTube Video, but this a great little stove and would be excellent for redundancies in your preps in regards to cooking as well as recharging small items.


Find out more at BIOLITESTOVE.COM




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Minicast Episode 20: Why Debt wont Dissapear in a Collapse

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This Minicast is in response to some things i have heard around the Prepper community, on forums as well as in emails to me.

Most of them involved the sentiment of…”Well I think the collapse is happening in the next 6 months (or a future date), so I am going to load up my Credit Cards with storable food and other stuff, because when the collapse happens their wont be anyone to collect the debt anyways!”

This is problematic in many different ways, most notably, no one knows when the financial collapse will finally happen, so if you load up your credit cards with all this debt, what happens when the collapse doesn’t happen for another 2 years? you will end up being in a  worse place than you started.

I elaborate further on different scenarios and more reasons why this is a bad idea.  Bottom Line, dont do this, its stupid.





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