An Outsiders View on Prepping

By Roy E

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest

In studying everything, I can out there, I have noticed a few things that a lot of preppers have not thought about or don’t mention enough. If a major SHTF situation occurs we won’t just be set back a hundred years, we will be set back to a time when basic trade of staple foods and other crucial items will be gone for many years. We also might want to rethink a few things we want to acquire for one reason or another. Here is a list everyone might want to think about.

1) Communication: Do we really want to invest in HAM or CB radio? Even short distance communications? The easiest way for our enemy to find us is by triangulating our position. That mean it puts us and our families at risk every time we break radio silence. We might have a list of reasons we need them for communication and security. I say base your use of radios on what type of situation exists. If it is a natural disaster, like a tornado, sure use them. If I knew it was a situation where the government was coming after your guns or foreign troops were on American soil, You might have to forget about using it for communication. Note You can use it to monitor and get news from other people broadcasting, but don’t touch that com switch.

2) Salt: Now I have seen where salt as a staple has been mentioned and that is great. But what if you didn’t store enough? if you live inland even 20 or 30 miles from a source of saltwater how are you going to get restocked. I know there are salt domes and other natural sources for salt, but who knows where they are located? If you don’t have salt how do you prep your meat or animal hides. How do you season your food? So put it on your list as an item to get large quantities of for multiple uses. I would suggest getting salt from your local feed and seed that is used for cattle. It is cheaper per pound and it can be used for non-food projects. Some people say it is totally edible so use your own judgement.

3) Lids: Unless I have missed it, no one had addressed the issue of mason jar lids that are not reusable. If all you have, after the first few years, is spent lids you are going to have trouble canning anything. You can have the prettiest garden in the world and it won’t do you a bit of good if you can’t store it. You have to realize that even great grandmas could go to the general store and buy certain things. The difference will be that you will not have that option. How long? Only God knows.

4) Antiseptics: It will take years before alcohol and other simple germ killing solutions can be made. I hear stories of people using it for cleaning and disinfecting, but you better keep it on hand for wounds and cuts. It should only be used to disinfect for surgical purposes. I would hate for someone to die from a cut on the arm because the alcohol was used to clean a countertop.

5) Borax, Baking soda and soap: We can use these products for all our cleaning needs. That’s great but how could you possibly know how long it would last, unless we use it now for those needs. Again it might be a while before it is produced so never say you have enough.

6) Solar power: The good with the bad. Have you ever been in complete darkness? If you have, you know that spotting light in the distance is so easy. If you have solar power and you are living off grid be mindful that a lit up house might put you in danger. If you stick out like a thumb you attract attention. Someone might decide they want what you have. I suggest having an after dark shielded room or rooms that allow you to use you lights without being in danger. For the first few years I would also suggest that you stay away from your power tools. It is easy to hear noise in a quiet world. I would also suggest that you hide your panels as much as you can. You want the sun to see them but not your possible enemy’s. I would also suggest that you have a safe place to store your panels during storms. There is always a positive side to solar energy other than the obvious. Mental wellbeing is crucial to moral. Many people that are so attached to the grid will become depressed. Having the simplest creature comforts to keep your family going will be key.

7) Cell phone: How many times have I seen people include cell phones as part of a bug out bag. Yes they can have a library of survival books and saved articles. Compass and navigation apps to use. Creature comforts to improve moral. But is it worth the risk in a major SHTF situation. I say no. Weather you want to believe it or not, you are being watched. If you are deemed a threat because you had the audacity to prepare, you are a target. Your phone has a gps chip in it and they have your number. Please don’t risk your life and use your phone for anything. A drone can lock in on you in a heartbeat. I hope it never comes to this but if it does and you foolishly hang on to idea that it can be used for your benefit, your wrong.

8) Revisit everything on your list: I would say it would be a good idea to revisit every item we have on our list and ask a simple question, “How long will it be till I can replace this item? “. Some things we can grow and make but other things could have to last a decade or more. Remember that we won’t have a store to go to for a long time. Society will always rebuild and people that survive will go into producing goods and services again but that will take time.

If anyone has links to answer any of the questions I have brought up please send them our for everyone to learn.

Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of  TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
  3. Third place winner will receive –  International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.
About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Great work indeed. My relatives grew up on the edge of the dust bowl in the 1930’s. Heard stories of the boils from poor hygiene. This has inspired me to get 10 lbs of calcium hypochlorite ( $30 from the worlds longest river). Placed in 12 0z pop bottles (with about an oz of air push out before sealing; any expansion will be visible) and then placed in a qt jar with reusable canning jar lids. Just noticed 10 oz juice bottles are more sturdy. Yeah, over done but chlorine gas is way too corrosive. Yep, more washing soda, borax, soap from wally world. If I don’t use it the next generation can. Off to the feed store for more salt.

    • 1 lb of granular calcium hypochlorite makes 80 gallons of bleach. Store wisely.

      • Anonamo Also says:

        I think , (that and 2.00$ will get a cup of coffee) need for a small family 300 lb min of salt. when all uses are taken into consideration.Most lists call for 10 lbs per person, to salt food and make hydration formula, that might be enough, but when working skins or salting meat for winter…UUUUMMMM don’t think that will be any where near….
        .Vinegar can be used for cleaning and disinfecting many things including counter tops and wounds. If you live in a place where extra fruit can be easily had, so much the better… very cheap to make, just takes time. I have the instructions written down for when I get fruit peels and cores to use..
        fresh fruit is not a regular here, not at present, maybe when trees are productive I’ll have some excess to make vinegar.
        Also as others have pointed out liquid corn and Lye soap can be home made,but it does take supplies, cookwear and instructions to make these.
        Medicinal things… Collodial silver generators and supplies will be imperative, but you need to know how to test for an allergy to Silver…or it could be a final straw in your or someones coffin.
        Do you have oregano? do you know what it takes to express the oil from it? Do you know how to develop the allicin in garlic? Do you have ascorbic acid (vit c) to add to homemade drinks? How much Vit D, do you have stored for each person? Light bulbs that are “natural light” combat depression…do you have any in storage?

    • You might also consider a several 50# bags of flour and 25# of sugar. I don’t know the difference in salts, but pickling salt might also go on that list.

      • Rod:

        IMO you would be better served with a grinder and 50# bags of wheat. Flour starts to loose its nutrient value without extra chemicals.

        • PrepperDoc says:

          Yep. The homeschoolers in my area had plenty of wheat berries and got me up to speed.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          I concur with you. Even the Amish in the area buy sugar and flour from the local grocery; but, all are capable of grinding their own flour. I have some bags of wheat, but most are #10 cans which have a longer shelf life, and if one spoils, doesn’t destroy as much food. We also havw many neighbors with hundreds of bushels of wheat in storage, and I suspect we could barter in a pinch.

  2. mom of three says:

    Canning salt, is one product I try and have a few boxes on hand. There is no way I could have 5 or 10 year’s worth of supplies, ever on hand just because I only have so much room and money. I’m going for 2 year’s at best and even that takes planning. Good article, again great information to read and re read again.

    • Thank You. I searched: canning with iodized salt. The “extras” in salt make the product less visually appealing (clouding, sediment, discoloration). I “can” (pun intended) live with that.

      • My experience with Iodized salt is it can be used for canning but not for meat preservation or cheese making. I tried a batch of cheese once with iodized salt to see if all the stories about it not being usable where correct. The salt made the cheese turn a yellowy color and it developed a off smell and the iodine killed the good bacteria the cheese needed to age properly.

        So I stock both iodized for cooking and 500lbs of non iodized for canning and cheese making and salting meats.

  3. #1 agree
    #2 have been told that I have to much but I say to much is not enough
    #3 TAttler lids plus learn to dehydrat with out an electric dehydrator . Learn to ferment foods .
    #4 make your on alcohol . It need not be made from grains or other food stocks . Also add sulfa to preps. Have the ability to make colloidal silver.
    #5 burn wood and leach lye it will work to disinfect and also make soap .
    #6 I dolibe off grid and a able to blackout .
    #7 use kindle or iPad that is wifi only.
    #8 always learning to do more with less.

    • #5 Fat for soap. I need some lard hogs. Food, soap, candles, cooking oil, Vitamin D in the lard if they are pasture raised ( those who winter north of Atlanta get no “sunshine” vitamins). Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets; especially in kids. Happened to my relatives.

    • One on #4 is raw honey is great for wound car also .

  4. MD, The older non-reusable canning lids can be reused, up to 5-10 times, depending on how carefully they are removed. According to some Mennonite friends, they do it regularly. All that is needed is the 10 minutes in simmering water that used to be part of the process, to re-condition the sealing compound. Lids purchased after 2013 have thinner sealing compounds, but lids purchased before that can be used, washed & stored to be reused. It would be a simple thing to store clean, older lids keep mine in the small packages in which the lids were purchase, taped shut with “old” marked on the outside. I use clean “old” lids to keep the insides of the jars clean (& to keep spiders out) as they are emptied over the winter. If the lid of the jar has a date before 2012, the lid can be reused.

    Having said that, my grandmother always had enough canning lids on hand for two years & she had 14 children, so we are talking a lot of lids. Once she got the canning process going, she did not stop for a trip to town because they ran out of lids. I suspect the reason it is not talked about more is because those of us who can more than a few jars of jelly & pickles just consider it part of the canning process.

    I did notice that the last time I was in Stokes, they had small boxes of the reuseable lids & gaskets for sale right along side the Ball/Kerr lids. Carefully removed, the gaskets are supposed to work for 10-20 times, & the lid itself is reusable indefinitely.

    • I reuse my lids many times and had one not dent in the cooling process, so I ate the food within a week as simple as that. The secret to lids and not put them through the heating process so much is have a large jar for a lot of food for canning instead of small jars. They go longer that way.

  5. I disagree somewhat with this post. Trade has existed for thousands of years. Spices from all over the world were readily available in the 13 British Colonies, and that included sugar and salt.
    However, I do believe everyone should stock enough until cargo ships powered by sail become the norm again.

    While I stock quite a bit of borax and baking soda, they are not necessary for cleaning. Making soap only requires two ingredients, fat and wood ashes. Now, the fat needs to be rendered and the wood ash needs to be soaked in water (actually the water needs to run through a barrel of wood ashes but that is getting technical). Really, daily living should give you sources of both. Get a book on how people cleaned their homes and clothes 200 years ago. That will teach you everything you need to know.

    Antiseptics? I believe antiseptics will be very plentiful! Think moonshine! Just stock enough until it is safe to start trading or better yet, make your own.

    I stock one time use canning lids. I have hundreds of jars of home canned product by the end of each summer and almost 600 lids in storage. Those lids should last me 4 – 5 years. I pick up some every time I go to the store. While I am still trying to gather supplies of the reusable lids, it will take me years to get hundreds of them – I think they are quite expensive. And, I have many friends who say they tend to break their seals. If jar lids are not available after the world ends, then I will save the ones I have for pressure canning and return to using wax for things like jams and jellies. If 5 years after the event jar lids are still not available, then I will need to turn to drying more foods.

    HAM radios and cell phones? I don’t believe in them. I work in the 21st Century, I try very hard not to live there. Learn to live like it is the 18th or 19th century now, and your problems after the event will be minimized.

    • Yes,trade will always exist. Safer travel means cheaper trade. Now it’s $6 for a 50 lb salt lick. Later, it could be 10 lbs of salt in trade for a cow. I don’t live near a port. Heaven help those who do. Check restaurant supply store for food salt ($6 for 25 lbs).

  6. What blog was it that recently had the article on the machine that makes bleach for sterilizing water? As I recall it was relatively cheap and operated on 12 volts. As far as using alcohol for wiping a counter top you can be just as dead from food poisoning as you can be from a wound infection. Bleach is the primary ingredient in Dakins solution for wound care, it can disinfect water and you can wipe down counter with it. Unfortunately it has a fairly short shelf life. Alcohol
    should not be used on any deep wounds. That stinging you feel is living tissue dying. I’d prefer to keep it for drinking!

  7. 1 Qt of 10% povidone <$12 on e-bhay; 1 gal.; <$30. Good for wounds on critters and me. Colloidal silver gel also.

  8. I have never been accused by my DW of stocking too much. Being that where we live can be considered “natural resource limited’ I try to look at what I need, what to store vs. where I can locally procure.

  9. As to #4, that will be one of the FIRST items produced. However, it won’t be for medical reasons, but for consumption. Straight, un-aged moonshine is pretty potent.

  10. Ed has had it says:

    If you run out of canning lids , use clean wax melted in top of jar and put back on the old used lid.. works lots times. store up lids and wax and save all the glass mayo jars will work same as mason jars. note the two jar mouth sides Qt. and Pt. size save both. and lots good rock salt for canning.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      For jams, jellies, and some fruits, that was how I was taught more than 50 years ago. It still works, and the reason we have nearly 100 pounds of Paraffin wax in storage. It can also be reused.

    • Putting jellies and jams in a non-mason jar and sealing with paraffin is not the same thing as canning vegetables, fruits and meats. Just want all to be clear on that point. Non-mason jars should not be used in a pressure cooker for canning other foods.

  11. Ed has had it says:

    and don’t forget ammo , learn to reload , at some point you will run out , once going , you can make better , cheaper ammo and reuse the brass many times, collect all other brass and shot shell cases too , shot gun ammo you can use nails , bb’s , stones , etc.

    • Stock up on rimfire as much as you can. Also get some bore sighting gear. Anything to save ammo for sighting in will help.Pellet guns will be very sought after ,quality ones not the 19.95 walmart specials. My friends son kills squirrels with them at a true 100 yards. Put a good scope on it and you are set up for rodent assination.

      • Uncle Frank says:

        Steve can you let us know what brand he is using for taking squirrels at 100 yards? Thanks, Frank

  12. Bobcat-Prepper says:

    #3: I didn’t get the memo until recently that canning lids were one-time use. I’ve canned with the same Ball brand lids for 10 years with no problems of spoilage or non-sealing.

    • Bobcat, I have often wondered about lids that I remove that seem perfect. It is good to learn that they can be used again. Can you provide any tips for when to trash the lids? I have a large supply, but they will run out if I continue canning every year.

      • Bobcat-Prepper says:

        Any lids with damage to the rubber gasket, rust on the bottom, or major dents should be discarded. When opening the sealed jarI take care when removing lids by placing a tablespoon between the lid and can opener, to distribute the pressure on the lid metal.

    • Mother Earth says:

      You reuse your metal kids? Didn’t know that worked. Any special instructions?

      • Anonamo Also says:

        generally…,To remove carefully, do not twist or scrape the inside….inspect for damage and clean thououghly. boil several minutes…just before re-use.

    • TN Mountain Mama says:

      I have also reused my lids for years with no problems. I open the jars carefully to prevent damaging the lids, and I check the gasket part of each one for gouges and worn-down areas before re-using them.

    • Geneva Garrett says:

      20 years ago my Mom bought a case of jar lids. I have wondered if they are still good? I can but have been afraid to use them but could not throw them away.

  13. Good article!!! Be sure to burn hardwood if you are collecting the ash for lye production. Besides soap, lye is used to make hominy. The manufacture of pot ash was a whole industry during our colonial era. Each farm had to have a ‘leeching pit’ as well during that time. The animal waste and chamber pot’s (night jar’s) were emptied into a pit along with the bedding straw to collect the nitre crystal, aka as salt peter, for the production of gun powder.

    No refrigeration or canning lids? I suppose I would be drying alot of food, back to the ”three sister’s”. This is one reason why I would rather have goats than cattle. It would be easier to use forty or fifty pounds of meat before it spoiled than the hundreds of pounds a cow would provide. Alot easier to butcher and hang for smoking also.

    Salt, I would have no trouble chipping and grinding salt from a white salt block. People say how our oceans are polluted yet pay for sea salt, and a white salt block isn’t good for you? Do you have a cheap corona mill to grind your salt pieces? Plain rock salt would be more convenient but salt blocks store easier. It wouldn’t take long for salt mill’s to get set up on the coastlines after a major event. Trade caravan’s were large because of the amount of good’s being transported, but also because they were their own protection.

    • If your near the ocean you can burn sea weed in place of the hard woods to make Lye.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      For details on making your own gunpowder from scratch, one of the Foxfire books goes into detail, including the use of soft willow for the charcoal. If your area has any caves, then bat guano can also be useful for leeching out the nitrate.

  14. As our family moves toward ever more preparedness, the problem of noise, smoke and light is something I worry over. I have often thought that having a place in the foothills or mountains would be great until we traveled to Pennsylvania this winter and saw all the highland homes exposed by the naked trees. In the lowlands of home I think we will fare better. The question is timing; when do we destroy the winding woods lane that leads to our farm and resign ourselves to walking out if we need? I am hoping the obvious will be obvious to all concerned when the time comes.

  15. patientmomma says:

    A great reminder and good comments from the pack! The list of items (2-5) are what I buy almost monthly (depending on available $$) BUT storage space is a problem. I am storing some things in used food grade drums and buckets in my farm buildings which don’t require low storage temps (A/C). I am thinking about solar, but as an after-event solution rather than a now solution, which means I would have to store everything in faraday containers until needed. Plus I don’t know if storage would be OK for solar items??

  16. Don’t forget ammo!!! You can make your own black powder. Lead can come from junkyards from rims on tires. Slingshots and bows can also have unlimited ammo.
    Its going to hit before the end of this year, gain as much supplies,knowledge and skills before it hits.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      I think you will find abundant lead in the pipes and sulphated batteries…..

    • Can you explain how you KNOW it is going to hit before the end of the year?

    • Ed has had it says:

      It’s true the SHTF before the end of 2016 count on it. the tribulation of the Bible starts about Nov. 2016 and after that all hell breaks loose and Amerika will be destroyed that is why it’s not in the Bible in end time events also… this is not a game EMP will kill 88% of all Americans the first 10 months.

  17. PrepperDoc says:

    Wow, such a pessimistic post. Have I read this somewhere before?

    KNOWLEDGE is the key to avoiding most of the issues brought up. Knowledge is what enabled the modern production of all these things — but people are so specialized (and many so UNeducated) that they don’t realize you CAN do much of this stuff — and the fellow who figures ONE area out will instantly be in business, and trade will return.

    The key – as other posters have pointed out in other articles — is that “no man is an island” — you want to get your community going, not try to survive in one house. Division of labor! Assign appropriate people to different areas.

    A special note on radio: yes, if there is a wiley and functioning dictatorial government, you will be far more careful with your transmissions. But there are ways to confuse them. And quick ways to transmit. Consider highly directional systems that really can’t be triangulated, for one thing. Surreptitious repeaters that disguise you as well. Encryption. However, if there is no tyranny, that radio will be hugely important to you. LEARN NOW!!! And people who have the skills to put together a Linux router….will be worth a lot.

  18. Good advice overall. I would suggest another salt source for those that live near Costco. A 25 pound bag of granulated salt is only $4. I maintain at least 10 bags on hand at any given time. Manufactured by Diamond.

    • Geneva Garrett says:

      How do you store it. Do you break it up into jars etc. I worry about moisture?

      • Geneva Garrett:

        fort me 23 pounds fits in a 2 gallon bucket and the other 2 goes into a mason jar for household use. If the jar is going long term storage, we vacuum seal it. We don’t have high humidity so just sealing the bucket works for us.

  19. Good article today, we buy our salt at the feed store, what we get is made from the water of San Francisco bay so I suppose it qualifies as sea salt. So many people forget about vinegar as a disinfectant, it is excellent for burn care or wounds.

    • I get my rock salt at the feed store also. I like the white salt blocks because it stores in less space than the 50 lb bags of rock salt.

      I wonder if I could sell salt blocks post fan? Then, like the miller charge 5-10% of the goods to grind it for them? Power a corona mill with a bicycle? Why not.

    • Jefferson Franklin says:

      There are signs on all of the beaches in the San Francisco Bay and nearby Ocean beaches as well saying that pregnant women should not eat more than 1 servings per year of fish or seafood from the area. The Bay water is very polluted – PCB and mercury contamination in fish to name a few. I would not want sea salt from there. Look it up on

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Northern Ohio and Southern Michigan have huge underground mines for salt, and it is a great export for the state. A dozen or more millennia ago, those areas were covered by shallow seas, and glaciers. When the seas finally dried up, they left large salt beds that were eventually covered by earth. We now dig into that earth and mine the salt, which was, and as far as I’m concerned, still is, sea salt.

  20. Txgalatheart says:

    Thank you for putting in writing things I have been thinking about and trying to get in to my stock of items. Still need work on a few items but will keep going until I run out of storage room.

  21. Regarding, re-using canning lids, I recall my mother using paraffin to seal the foods we “put up”.
    That way the seal was less important and we re used the paraffin, next batch.

    Is this process outdated?

    • Using paraffin is not a recommended way of processing food. They have found that the wax can pull away from the sides of the jars – allowing air and bacteria to reach the food. And it is also not recommended that we reuse the lids. They are marketed as a one time use item. Just remember that in a true SHTF medical treatment for the various types of food poisonng may no be available.

      • mom of three says:

        I am in full agreement on the canning lids, thank you for the reminder on the wax too. It just me but I don’t think I could use canning lids, over and over. I had 2 dozen lids that I used and all of them did not seal, I had to redo that batch over thank goodness it was salsa. The rubber gets hard and to me it’s not worth our lives.

        • I just went through the lids I had saved for use with my vacuum sealer. They worked okay for this use, but the rubber was a bit hard and I do not think I would want to use them for canning. Sealing jars of dried barley is not the same as canning for safety. This has changed my mind. I have always only used Ball lids and have found no cheaper place than WalMart to buy them. I have a plentiful store, but plan to get more for barter.

          • Jeanne, have you tried the lids from Lehmans? You can buy a whole sleeve of them, like over 250 lids, cheap. They are the best lids I have ever bought and have rarely had a lid fail to seal. They always toss in a few extra lids too.

          • Encourager says:

            I think you can get these sleeves of lids from any Amish store. If you do not know where to find one, just ask an Amish woman. She will be glad to help.

          • DJ, the Ball lids I buy at WalMart for around $1.80 a dozen very rarely fail to seal, such that I figure there must have been something I failed to wipe off the rim or a chip that I missed. Lehmans sells a 375 sleeve of lids that are not Ball for $70.00, which is about $2.28 per dozen. They also state that the lids are for one-time use. I just didn’t like the look of lids that I had saved for vacuum sealing and don’t think I want to take the chance that lids won’t seal or will seem to seal only to release later. That is time and food wasted for me. Time and space to send the non-sealer back up and food lost due to the seal that loosens later. That is my thought for now, anyway.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Syzy Q,
        As you stated, “They are marketed as a one time use item” and properly read, I think that statement says it all.

    • Mom used paraffin on jams and jelly’s only. She said they don’t need to be ”canned” because they are ‘candied’.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Actually they are generally high acid, and they are hot packed. Pouring the hot liquid into a clean hot jar, which pretty much kills any bacteria. The high acid stops the growth of Clostridium Botulinum so there is no risk from botulism poisoning.

  22. Encourager says:

    I needed to read this. I have had in the back of my mind for months that I need to buy more pure salt for canning. I probably have 20# but that is not nearly enough if we have to preserve meat the old way, or cure hides.

  23. Jersey Drifter says:

    Great article. I have been a little lax in my prepping the past few months. Money, time, and leaving for work and getting home in the dark seems to have me somewhat lazy. Thanks for the kick in the rear end I needed. Things here that I can do now without problem. Like more salt for one thing without spending too much. Just what I needed to get going again.

  24. Another way to preserve jam is to cut a piece of writing paper or similar to exactly fit the top of the jam. Dip it in vinegar & lay on top of jam. Put a used lid on. My grandma used this method as did my mom when she was out of wax. Neither of them processed Jam in hot water as is recommended now. I never heard of processing jam until recently & have put up hundreds of jars with no ill effects.

  25. tuckerhollow says:

    I have always used paraffin to seal jelly& jam never had any problems. What else you could seal with it I have no idea maybe someone else could enlighten us.

    I know my grandmother and some other family members reused canning lids during WWII don’t know if they had any failures. I may give it a try this year just to check it out, what I do know is my DD had some failures using the lids made for Walmart. I’ve never used them so I don’t really know if it was WallyW or her she is rather new to canning.

    • My Mother and Grandmother used paraffin to seal jams and jellies, too.

    • mom of three says:

      The canning lids from Walmart, are a off brand made in China, I would only buy Ball, or Kerr brand, Big Lots carry the Harvest brand. Our Winco carrys Ball and Kerr, the prices are 1.78 1.88 for regular lids and 2.48 and 2.78 for the wide mouth lids, and canning salt was $1.48 for a 4 pound of Morton Brand salt.

      • Trademark Ball brand lids made in the USA bought at WalMart for $1.60 to $1.80 per dozen. More for wide mouthed. What are these off-brand that you say they are selling? Is it Golden Harvest? Those are the only others that WalMart carries in my area.

    • Geneva Garrett says:

      When I can, I always wait to put the canned jars away for few days and check before storing them to be sure they did seal. Just to be sure. Only had a few in years that did not seal but…

  26. Fifth Disciple says:

    I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. I see the aftermath of TEOTWAWKI as a giant flea market with the opportunity to create whatever I need. Give me an alternator from a car and a battery or two and you have electricity. Give me corn or potatos, even wood and I can distill alcohol that any E85 vehicle will run on. Need entertainment for the kids? A 50″ flatpanel LED TV uses the same amount of electricity as a 35 Watt light bulb and I have an extensive collection of DVDs. Want knowledge? I have a library stored as PDF’s on multiple computers. Just because you lose electricity and society begins to crumble doesn’t mean you instantly become stupid. At least not all of us.

    • Thanks to all for the info on canning lids. I have to comment on Fifth Disciple’s library that will need electricity; real books don’t need electricity and watching a movie or reading a PDF seem a waste of a scarce and valuable energy. I have always had a fear of knowledge lost and so have a library that I hope will suffice whenever I need information or entertainment. I don’t know, Fifth Disciple, I would rather have that information without energy dependence.

      • Fifth Disciple says:

        I understand how you feel. From your perspective energy is/will be scarce. From mine it won’t be because I know how to generate it, plenty of it. Books I agree are wonderful to have and I have many but should I need to relocate quickly I may not be able to take them all. In a world without power computers will be useless to most and I’ll be able to get many for nothing. Watching DVD’s or reading PDF’s will help many find a return to some state of normalcy and to build a bridge from the past to a hope for the future. My philosophy isn’t to live without technology but to find ways to rebuild it from the ashes. My father, who in my judgement was the smartest man alive told me, “Son, you just got to be smarter than the wheelbarrow”.

        • Well you are correct about the portability of my library, so I do have a few in a safe to take when/if we are forced to leave. In our particular situation, I am not planning on that, as we have multiple families (and several who will join us) with various skills and several dwellings on our isolated farm. Making electricity and returning technology will be a valuable skill…kudos to you. My main notion is to retain educational ability for the young, as well as, the new-old knowledge we all will need. I guess everybody has their strength and their own desires for keeping the flame alive…and that is good for us all.

  27. Ed has had it says:

    just read the book Shut down by W.R. Flynn, the worst part is not that we can rebuild or recover , that’s history but this time we have too many people with no skills and count on the government for everything , as in the book gangs almost killed everyone , COUNT ON LOTS killing by out of control people etc.

    • At least 30 years ago, I figured out that roughly 60% of people are good almost all the time, 30% are kinda good (when they need to be) but can’t always be trusted, and 10% are mostly bad most of the time. If SHTF, the 60% will get very hungry (except for preppers) and the other 40% will go berserk almost immediately.

  28. My family is from Appalachia & I guarantee there will be no shortage of alcohol. Canning is great but dehydrating takes much less in the way of equipment & stores in less space. Essential oils are antiseptic, antiviral & keep a long time in a minimum of space. Get a good book on healing with oils.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      I also grew up in Appalachia and totally concur on your perspectives on alcohol availability.

  29. 1. Listen don’t transmit.

    2. Salt-dome locations in the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain, south-central United States and the adjacent Continental Shelf This plainly shows that BC will be able to make enough bacon to supply the entire Pack for as long as need be. It also helps to delve into local history and find historical places with salt in the name. Might be a clue or something.

    3. Yes because prior to 1858 when the mason jar/lid was invented no one in the history of the world was able to preserve food. Once again historical research is your friend.

    4. Look under your feet for antiseptics like plaintain, calendula, or St Johns Wort for making red oil. Lots of herbal antiseptics are around, learn to recognize and use them now. Distillation of spirits has only been going on since at least the 3rd century, probably much, much longer. I’ve seen pulque brewed in a clay pot in the ground in rural Mexico and then distilled with a simple pot still into some very nasty mezcal. It’s not a real tech heavy process.

    5. Just mix left over fat with hardwood ashes and you have a simple soap. Cleaned many a dish that way in Boy Scouts, back when they used to actually teach useful info like riding dinosaurs.. ;).

    6. Just spent a few weeks without gridpower as a test, it’s not that hard if you’ve prepared. Though comfort levels will be much worse in the summer.

    7. Never had a smart phone never will but there are ways to disable and even jam gps. Plan ahead to be able set up a very local cell phone mesh network using wifi. Could also use it with tablets and laptops. A RaspberryPi could come in handy here as well. Look up the 12 volt gps jammers, you can run one of those with a car battery and a 12 volt socket. Keep the battery charged with a 15 watt or better portable solar panel. I run a router in conjunction with an aircard to provide internet access at the classes using this battery setup and a little inverter.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      You must have been in Boy Scouts, back before I was because while they used to actually teach useful info we only ever rode horses. LOL

    • Tommy, I recently found out that one of the aquifers in my area is saline. The groundwater district is doing a study to find uses for it, i.e. Agriculture and golf courses. It’s only a few miles, and very shallow in relation to the freshwater groundwater. If evaporating salt is as easy to accomplish as hard water stains, we shall be good.

  30. If dehydrating and not using the food immediately, a brake bleeder works for sealing in mason jars.
    I use it now when the lid won’t seal with the vacuum sealer.

  31. Ed has had it says:

    They have some stones in Georgia build by ? they give the One World plan to reduce the amount of people by 80%. a book in the American Free press ( Making Sense out of a World Gone Mad ) or go to gives TONS of Answers ………… our time is short , VERY SHORT , this could be it . the last year for America… a EMP attack will kill 80 % of all Americans in less ten months …this is not games .. this is the END GAME ,, and its fact and in your face , like it or not . the only way out is for America to repent and has a REVIVAL and great awaking .. NOW. GOD IS NOT MOCKED! We took God out of schools, courts, the library , our media, and God said OK AMERICA ……….WATCH WHAT HAPPENS when my LOVE and GRACE ….leaves you… no preps can save you.

    • Georgia guide stone Ed…check out club of rome, illuminati, trilateralists, Bilderbergers. One part everyone may have overlooked is eminent domain. Since our govt. hasn’t been obeying the constitution they will come to take your land, your food, and you. We haven’t began to imagine how horrific this is going to be.

  32. Thank you for the entry and the comments. I would add an electric generator: crank and/or photovoltaic. They are good for portable refrigerators BUT they could be indispensable for keeping drugs cold. I’m thinking of EMP and the book ONE SECOND AFTER

  33. OhioPrepper says:


    Where to begin. You have made some very good points; but, I think being an outsider has perhaps given you a jaded view of the prepping community, and we are indeed a community. Welcome aboard, and hopefully replies to your article will enlighten you a bit, and encourage you to ask questions instead of making assumptions.

    Assuming that the enemy is the government, you might have a point on triangulation. Otherwise, even with just my Amateur radio equipment, I have literally thousands of frequencies (channels) and numerous modes of communications to utilize. When using proper COMSEC, anyone attempting to listen and locate you that don’t have the resources and equipment of a government, would be hard pressed to find you. And even if someone could, you should have other measures in place for protection. And I don’t mean just a stash of firearms and ammunition; but, a MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) to support you.

    Salt has been a staple throughout history, and the roman legion were paid in it. The Latin for salt is solaria, from which we derive our word salary. It is important, and securing a large amount is also important. We use a water softener, and have storage for 1500-2000 pounds of salt, and never let it get below 1000 pounds. Keep in mind that drying, fermenting, and pickling are also a means for preserving food with little or no salt, end making things like vinegar are relatively easy, and often accidental.

    For canning lids. Look for the Tattler brand and get back to us. Also, many folks, including me, have re-used canning lids by being careful when you remove them and boiling them both to soften and sterilize them before use. Sometimes they fail; but, more often than not, they work fine. Our problem is that too many folks live in a throwaway society, which is why the ”Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” crowd seems to be so in vogue, and often a bit uppity. Ignorance of history will do that to some people.

    Years for alcohol? You definitely need more research on this one. It’s easy enough to make that the ‘A’ in ATF is Alcohol. The first big fight with the US Government was called the Whiskey Rebellion, which took place in 1791 during the administration of our first president, George Washington. You may not be able to make fine wines at first, but basic alcohol distillation just isn’t that hard. Also, I don’t think anyone would clean a counter top and then clean a wound with the same dirty rag. Most people are smart enough to not do that even today.

    Wood ash drippings and animal fat have been and still are used to make soap in the past and today. Look for home made Lye soap.

    Light and noise pollution was addressed in an article and comments on this forum in just the past few weeks. Perhaps being the outsider has limited your exposure to what many of us are already doing. And I also suspect that many of us do indeed know about operating in the dark. In my case we live in a rural area, where you can actually see the stars at night, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Cell phones may not even work in a post SHTF world, so other comms measures should be considered.

    Checking your list is always a good idea, as is attempting to run without some items on occasion by doing dry runs to see where the holes are.
    In any case, keep on prepping and learning.

  34. Ed has had it says:

    Sorry but you can use non-mason jars to can , have done this with the small and large mayo glass jars and the lids worked 100% too.

    • Ed- Yes you can use non-mason jars to can in a pressure cooker, but you should not. They simply are not made with the quality to withstand repeated use, even if they do once. Save them for jelly. Or you can use them and chance breakage, thereby wasting time, space, energy and food.

  35. Ed has had it says:

    Also just found out that canning lids are now be made that is reused several times, some ACE hardware carry etc.. and was a good report about them

  36. tuckerhollow says:

    I was given a bag of canning lids before we moved yesterday I was “still” sorting through things and came across them, I remembered someone writing about lids to avoid the bag has a mixture of Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Main Stay are any of these in the no, no list?

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