Mental Health After TEOTWAWKI

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by B

So often, we talk about the enemy as the guy with the gun that might just come and take away your preps – or your family. There are a few more dangerous enemies that we should be thinking about. They are much closer to us than “gun guy” and are infinitely more dangerous.

Enemy #1 – ourselves

Mental health, like physical health is not always stable. There is a great deal of mental illness in our society. A friend of mine said to me that we don’t have to worry about the ones who take the medication – we have to worry about the ones who don’t. So if we are stable prior to SHFT but soon run out of medication, how will that affect our ability to survive. When there are no more happy pills, will we just curl up in a ball and wish for it all to be over? Now’s the time to be looking into reducing our dependence on drugs.

I’m not suggesting that mental health pharmaceuticals are unnecessary – Just like the thyroxine I must take for the rest of my life to replace thyroid hormones that my stupid thyroid refuses to produce, there are some people who require psychiatric medication to function normally. If you are solar powered and need sunshine or you get depressed, work out a schedule for getting out every day. Once you have discovered that exercise can elevate mood better than most medications, build that into your daily schedule. Sugar – bad, colorful vegetables – good.

Work on reducing what you need from outside sources. Do your best to stockpile your medication, research the best way to store it long term and then remember to rotate your stock – you life may depend on it.

Tied to mental health is lack of motivation. If we have had difficulty motivating ourselves or procrastinating prior to SHFT, how much better are we going to be at this after SHFT? If this is where you have difficulties, consider forcing yourself to accomplish ONE thing at a time. It can be as simple as taking out the garbage, or cleaning the cat litter box – but do it. Right now. Then revel in the feeling of accomplishment for a bit. I know from personal experience that procrastination can weigh heavy on a person’s shoulders.

I also know that when “I really need to….” has been swirling around a person’s mind for a long time and then the task is suddenly completed, there is a period of time when lack of a new goal (obsession) to focus on can lead to almost a depressive state. This might be dealt with by simply keeping a running “to-do” list. Top jobs are crossed off and new ones are always added to the bottom. I will put money on the fact that those who are task oriented are most likely to survive after SHFT.

Lack of confidence. Do we really believe that we could survive all alone in our BOL for 6 months? How can you be sure that what you are doing now really is going to be helpful or useful if SHTF. This is where we need to practice. When you have practiced something often enough, you can do it without expending much mental energy. This is important because all your mental energy will need to be used to deal with new situations. Learn now to make the biscuits, shoot the gun, set the traps, paddle the canoe – whatever skills you might think you need.

Make a list of useful skills – put essentials skills at the top and fluffy stuff at the bottom. Learning to make play dough for the kids without a recipe is a good idea but learning repair your own clothing is probably more important. Chip away at that list. For me, learning to knit socks has come to the top of the list.

There are at least 8 people in my family and we live in a cold climate. Socks are essential. To stockpile enough socks for us for a couple of years might not be as useful as learning to knit socks. I have the sheep, stockpiled feece from the past 15 years, spinning wheel and knitting needles.

My food preps are squared away and my water supply is as secure as I can make it. The hours that I sit and wait for my kids to do their music lessons is used to learn to knit. Security is also at the top of my list but knitting is easier than target practice to do as I wait in the baby room in the church where my kids have choir .

Enemy #2 – others in our household

As a leader in your house, it is up to you to make sure that things run smoothly and everyone knows their role. When a group of people have lived with each other for a long time, they can usually predict how others will react in certain situations. For example, my daughter loves blueberries. I know that if I leave a bag of frozen blueberries visible in the freezer, she will likely help herself to a bowl full. This is fine if I am not trying to ration those berries so they can be a treat for all 8 people in our family.

It is in my best interest and in the interest of everyone in the family to keep those blueberries away from her sight. Rather than risk a fight over blueberries, I take action when I can to avoid family conflict. Yes, she needs to learn self control – but if I want harmony and this behavior drives me bananas, I have to be the one to make the change to avoid the conflict. She can practice her self control on other things that don’t bother me.

The relative stranger. This is scary. I know first hand just how scary. Last year, just about this time, my niece came to live with us. I had not seen her since she was an infant and saw no reason why at age 22 she shouldn’t join us. I imagined that she could help with childcare, homeschooling and housework. In return, we would teach her about farm life, show her the sights in the area and help her upgrade her schooling and get a job. It was only a few minutes after she got off the plane that I realized that things were not going to match up to my little fantasy.

She did not like my children and was rude to them. I think when she saw stored food and supplies, she felt that they must be consumed – and so consume she did. Poured dish soap and shampoo down the sink, used at least a roll of toilet paper every day, left water running in faucets, ate and ate and ate. She was rude and demanding.

Several times the police were involved. But she was family, with obvious mental health issues – she needed help. I did my very best to get her into a mental health facility but in the end, she went back “home” to a less than ideal situation. I felt both relieved and terrible. We are supposed to take care of family but her needs were more than I could attend to.

What if she had been here when SHFT? What if there was no “home” to send her back to? What if I had been stuck with her long term? What if your daughter brings home the boyfriend she is in love with and he is awful – but if you kick him out, then your daughter threatens to leave also! What if you remove your elderly parent with dementia from the personal care home when SHTF so they won’t starve to death there – but then you are overwhelmed with their physical and mental needs?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. But they are real questions that you may have to answer. Start thinking about them realistically now. Plan for mental health just as you do physical health, food, shelter, and water.

Security from outside threats is important to consider and is infinitely easier to deal with than the almost invisible threat of the breakdown of mental health.

Resources for this article:

Prizes for this round (ends April 23 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A  case of six (6) #10 cans of Freeze Dried Military Pork Chops a $300 value courtesy of MRE Depot, and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value and five bottles of the new Berkey BioFilm Drops a $150 value courtesy of LPC Survival – total prize value of over $750.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Federal Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

A Blast from the Past – Ten Blog Posts that you Should Read Now

Below are ten blog posts that you may have missed, skipped over or just didn’t read for whatever reason. But today, I’m giving you another chance – please read and tell us what you think…

  1. What If The Collapse Never Comes?
  2. Preppers Checklist : 10 Things To Do Now!
  3. Ten MORE Things To Do Now
  4. M.D. Creekmore’s Defensive Strategies for Home and Retreat Defense after the SHTF
  5. Top Ten Ways to Blow Your Operational Security (opsec security)
  6. How To Get a Family of Four Prepped for The Coming Collapse – In The Quickest and Easiest Way Possible…
  7. How To Survive TEOTWAWKI In 14 Easy Steps
  8. Preparing for Power Blackouts – Plan Ahead and You Can Weather Any Storm
  9. Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down
  10. Warning: Do You Recognize these Five Common Piles of Prepper BS

Think on your FEET!

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by  Arthur X

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

As preppers we have to prepare ahead. We have to look ahead and notice any potential problems and deal with those problems. Foot problems are one such area. That is my goal today, to have you merely recognize your feet for the next few minutes. This is about taking care of your FEET now, not later, and some downright simple solutions that will keep you walking for the long haul. Read along and learn how to save your feet for only $20.

First, two questions:

Have you ever had a pair of shoes that really hurt your feet but you wore them anyway?

Have you ever worn a pair of shoes until they have literally fallen apart?

I’m definitely guilty here

Do I have feet problems?

No I do not. I think mainly because I have been proactive with my feet. If my shoes wore out, I would immediately buy a new pair of shoes. Wearing insoles, is a way of life for me and I don’t own a pair of shoes without them. When I was younger I wasn’t so lucky and developed some calluses from not wearing good shoes. Nothing too serious or needing any type of surgery. However, I learned from my mistakes and I am sharing my own personal experience. Let’s talk about some solutions!

Been there done that!

Have you ever been to your local store and visited the foot section? Most of us probably have. And it has grown over the years to a very big business. That is good news because preppers have options that make our life easier. What’s the best product, field tested? 

Gel or Foam?

Personally I do not like gel insoles, for example Dr. Scholls. I have tried many brands. But the ones I have tried, I didn’t like. They do seem to be durable and have quality standards; however I could not find a comfortable pair of gel insoles.

I really like foam insoles, such as Sof Sole or New Balance. Personally I use Sof Sole Arch Insoles. Mainly due to my high arch, I also love the cushion and support.

Sof Soles are a type of latex or composite foam material. They hold up extremely well, are worth the money, and offer outstanding protection. Foam tends to hold heat a little, and I have noticed this with foam insoles. This can be a benefit or a weakness. If you live in a cold climate they will generally offer a little more warmth. In a hot climate that can make your feet sweat a little more. This usually is not a problem considering the manufactures usually make sport or athletic insoles that will help in this area, only something to consider. In my years of use, heat from Sof Sole insoles has never been a problem. I live in a very hot part of the country.

Very few pairs of shoes that I have bought were comfortable “without” insoles. Very few. Shoes like Air Jordans, New Balance and higher quality running shoes are the exceptions here. Shoe technology is much better than say, 20 years ago, I can testify to that.

Let’s make it easy

I recommend Sof Sole insoles. Part of the reason is ‘accessibility’. Sof Soles are in every major department store and shoe store. At only, $20 they will not break the bank. I know you are thinking, those insoles are expensive, “I can buy a pair of shoes for $20”! Yes you can, however what about buying a pair of shoes for $20, AND some quality insoles for $20. Then, for $40 you have a really comfortable pair of shoes. This isn’t only about comfort. These types of insoles really do lessen the impact of your joints. Over a period of years the damage could be significant, especially if you wear really hard sole shoes. You may not feel the pain now, but down the road you could develop some serious feet problems. And like back problems, feet problems can’t be ignored, they can get much worse.

Orthotics

Custom orthotics are not usually an option for preppers. Mostly because of a cost issue, not anyone can afford a custom pair of orthotics. I’m sure there are some benefits here, however with new, over-the-shelf products offering such high quality I don’t feel custom orthotics are needed, unless you have a foot problem. Then this article is not for you! I’m not a foot doctor only sharing my experience.

There are also heel supports and other store bought orthotics. I never really liked these because I like more cushioning on my feet. For example, if you work on concrete floors for 8 hours a day, you are going to need a lot of support and a really good pair of shoes. If not, your feet will be hurting.

Tips for Happy Feet

Don’t remove the insoles that come with your shoes

Merely put the Sof Soles on top of the insoles already in your shoes. This will give you more support. It may make your shoes wear a little tighter, adjust your shoes, or shoe size accordingly.

Buy new shoes

If you have no tread or your shoes are torn etc., go buy a new pair of shoes. Shoes are so cheap nowadays there is no reason not to buy a new pair of shoes. Even if they are not the highest quality, buy a new pair. Insoles can help those shoes feel and preform much better.

Quality not quantity

In essence, this is what I’m saying. Not everyone can purchase a $120 pair of New Balance running shoes, or Air Jordan’s. As a solution, find shoes on clearance for $40, then purchase a pair of insoles for $20. For $60 you have a really comfortable pair of shoes. And your insoles should outlast your shoes, so you’re only helping yourself here. If you can afford those high quality shoes, by all means, wear them!

Shop on the cheap

Big stores like, Kohls, Kmart, Walmart, Big 5, Ebay, offer shoes at great prices. Many times I will walk into big box retailers and find shoes for $10.00 on clearance. Shop around, and if you find a good pair of shoes you like, buy two pairs. Why not?

Waterproof your shoes

I can recommend Sof Sole Water Proofer. In most shoe stores you can find leather conditioner and Water Proofer. This stuff isn’t usually cheap, but I do believe it is worth the price. Let me explain.

High quality boots, Gor-tex or waterproof shoes are usually expensive. Water will kill shoes pretty quickly, especially if you live where it rains a lot. If it rains a lot where you live, you might need boots or a water-proof pair of shoes. However, if you are like me and wear shoes most of the time, I can save some money and water-proof my own shoes. It will help them last longer and keep your feet drier. If your shoes are wet a lot, you might NOT notice the wear on your shoes on a daily basis; however over time water is a real threat to your shoes. It breaks apart the glue in shoes and wears them down. It basically ages shoes faster than normal.

If you have leather boots or shoes, leather conditioner is also recommended as it will help your shoes last longer. You can even use olive oil on your leather shoes or boots.

Be a lightweight not a heavyweight

Shoe weight is important to me. For example, have you ever worn a pair of steel toe boots? They are heavy! Alternatively, you could buy a pair of steel toes shoes and cut the weight in half. Your feet will thank you later. For example, Nike Men’s Manoa Leather Boots are extremely lightweight for a boot. I own a pair and they are very comfortable for a boot. I do wear them with Sof Sole insoles because they didn’t come with any good support.

Reflexology

Reflexology might be an option if you have feet problems. Very therapeutic and you might be able to find a local Groupon deal and save some money

Future Technology

D30

D30 is a company that created a unique shock absorbing material. They have been in business for a number of years. They became well known by their snowboarding gear, where you can literally get smacked in the head with a shovel! Products made with their material in them are starting to become more widely available, helmets, jackets, gloves etc. I have not had the opportunity to try out their new line of insoles at this time. I could only find their comfort insoles for sale on the internet. I’m really looking forward to trying out this new technology. Look for them possibly next year with more insoles on the market.

Products mentioned

Sof Sole

Love their products. Period.

New Balance

I have had good luck with the New Balance Pressure Relief insoles. New Balance, in general, offers high quality products. Highly recommended and easy to find almost anywhere.

Dr Scholls

I have not had good luck with Dr Scholls products; however they have many, many different insoles. These can be found in any Walgreens or Walmart.

Mission Athletecare Foot Rehab

An interesting product I tested recently with great results. Highly recommended for dry or cracked feet.

Prizes for this round (ends Jan 13 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Bacon courtesy of MRE Depot, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a Survive2Thrive Organic Food Storage bucket courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Where to go and what to Avoid When Food has Disappeared off of the Grocery Shelves

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by Randy W 

It is a normal day and life is throwing the normal junk at you, when all of a sudden a radio or e-blast comes across your smart phone. A volcano / meteorite / hurricane / earth quake / flood has just hit your part of the world and life as we know it may never return to normal.

You have your “bug out / get home” bag, lying next to your desk in your “cage” cubicle; the breath has just been knocked out of you like a sucker punch from Hell! You say a quick prayer and then leap into action. Your are doing all types of mental gymnastics in order to try and remember what to take with your or what you will need to hunker down and you realize, there are 3 diapers in the house, the last pint of “Simalac” has just been tapped, and your know you are out of Ritz crackers and Oreo’s, and you do not see yourself faring well if you return home without these life sustaining staples.

You know in your “knower” that things are going to be crazy just trying to get home, in this “Grid down” situation let alone trying to compete with “panic buying” that will hit the supermarket. Your training screams out at you to do otherwise but you know you must venture into this no-man’s land of insanity called “shopping”, as you are painfully aware that most if not all will get caught up in a buying frenzy with everyone having the overpowering urge to get the last few staples/items before things are no longer available on the grocery shelves.

Your “prepper” research has told you that most all Supermarkets have a 3 day stock of items on hand (under normal conditions) and in a typical, winter storm warning, most all staples will be gone in less than 4 hours after the end of normal business hours.

What are your alternatives and options in order to help you navigate these treacherous waters in the few hours you have remaining before the chain of supply is tapped out?

I know for most folks who believe they are ready for any disaster that might befall this might be the farthest thing from their minds, but in all reality, when the time comes and the flow of goods is disrupted there will be a huge panic, to purchase the last case of water bottles or the last cans of mixed nuts or other comfort food or baby formula, the list is endless as the amount of things as there are on the store shelves.

Human nature being what it is most shoppers will head to the nearest Super-Market or Wal-Mart to duke it out with the 10,000 other un-prepared sheeple. The sad truth is that in a fight or flight type of panic situation most will default to there “training” and have only one destination on their mind. This mind set can get a person killed.

Here are a few lifesaving, tips that I believe might help those who are forced in to the malaise to succeed in these last minute purchases.

Tips for possible success:

Slip away from work, the moment things seem like they are getting really bad and head for the larger stores in order to beat the rush that occurs on a daily basis as normal business hours end for the day. Make up an excuse, to get out of the office, if you travel or drive a vehicle to make a living quite obviously you will want to do the same.

If this is truly TETWAWKI situation, the prospects of company disciplinary process pales in comparison to the possible want and depravity that may be just around the bind. Make a quick Opspec decision to see if the parking lots are full, the shopping carts all taken or there are bodies piled up at the entrance. If the cost is clear, make a quick strategic strike and do not look back, as there will no returning to the large stores once the Hordes are turned loose in a possible SHTF event.

If you are not able to escape from work in a timely fashion, if you are caught at at home for the Weekend during such an event or tied up with toddlers till re-enforcements arrive, your options for success may not be as great but there may still be “light at the end of the tunnel”.

In an “even race” to purchase, (everyone heading for the same places at the same time, Avoid the large stores like the hornets’ nest they will inevitably be. To venture to a Wal-Mart or Super Center of any kind will be akin to running lead long into a “Festus Mo” type event, (not good)!

What I recommend is looking for a number of alternatives that may give you hours if not days of shopping possibilities that may be initially overlooked.

What types of alternative options am I talking about? I am talking about the secondary food outlets that are not normally know for groceries or staples. Below is a list of such outlets (just to mention a few)

• Dollar stores carry tons of food and snack items (often at a discount but of limited selection)
• Large box hardware stores in the Midwest called Menards carry a large selection of snacks, beverages and some staples including milk.
• Drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, and the like carry Isle after Isle of snacks, provisions, and staples not to mention the candy and snack foods we will seek for comfort in difficult times.
• Convince Stores. I recommend entering at your own risk but if you are there getting the tank topped off, there are lots of normally overpriced items that may seem like a bargain at the time of an emergency, including bottled water and flashlight batteries albeit, not at great prices.
• Small neighborhood groceries are pretty much a thing of the past but often there are small, Mexican or Asian markets close by and these can be a great resource for last minute staples such as rice, beans, and spices.
• Surplus or Commercial food outlets if they are available could also be a viable outlet. Some of the items in surplus food outlets (overstock, dented, torn, dated items abound) can be had for as little as $.25 on the $1.00.
• I do not recommend flagging down the Swans truck is you should see him on your commute home, chances are he is fleeing for his life due to the mobs of people looking for a possible entre for their last meal in a world gone mad.

These are just a few of the alternative food outlets that compete for the grocery dollar but cam be hiding in plain sight in times of panic buying after a life altering event.

Remember that if there is a grid down situation, that Cash will be King, small bills will rule, and credit will just not be a contender. A $100.00 in small bills, stashed in your get home bag or bill-fold may just be enough top off your tank and purchase those items that slipped by you in your quest to be prepared. This small act of training discipline may make a huge difference in a crazy town, world gone mad, shopping scenario.

The best advice anyone can offer is to have your stores in order but since life is unrehearsed and we might find ourselves coming up short in a match to the death for those last minute items we do not want to live without, options may be limited but these tips may buy you precious supplies or staples when the rest of the populace/panic shoppers are in vapor lock, competing for the last can of pork-n-beans in Isle 4 of the nearest supermarket.

Prizes for this round (ends Jan 13 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Bacon courtesy of MRE Depot, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a Survive2Thrive Organic Food Storage bucket courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Prepping BIG in SMALL Spaces

 

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by Deb S

“We live in a small house. As soon as we can afford to buy land, we’ll start prepping.”

I’ve heard that excuse and similar remarks from people who incorrectly believe disaster preparedness requires owning ten acres in a remote location. I use the word excuse because anyone can start preparing for unexpected disasters now – if they really want to.

My husband and I lease a small apartment in an older complex with few amenities. We prefer this to the larger communities because it’s quiet and tucked away on a secluded cul de sac. It would probably not be the first place looters targeted because we are surrounded by affluent residential neighborhoods.

We’ve learned to maximize space and utilize innovative efforts to build our mini-fortress. We live in a second floor unit with ground access from the front and a balcony on the back. That leaves one accessible entrance to guard which we can fortify on a moment’s notice with a portable door brace and door bars. We also have a rope ladder to throw over the balcony rail or through a window if the front is under attack.

We keep our guns and ammo strategically placed throughout the rooms but out of sight. In the event of a breach, we can be armed in seconds no matter where we are.

There’s not a lot of storage inside most apartments. Lease agreements typically prohibit permanent alterations – so this is where the creative part comes in. We raised the bed in the spare bedroom with 5 gallon buckets and use a bed skirt to camouflage the cavity. The buckets hold our dry goods i.e. rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc which we have sealed in mylar bags. With the extra space beneath our “tall boy” bed, we can now store bins containing larger items like ropes, bulk dehydrated food, candles, gallon sized jugs of water, medical supplies and our bug out bags. I found a sturdy garage cabinet (4’x6’) for free on Craigslist, repainted it, added new hardware and a lock on the doors. It now holds canning supplies and home canned goods as well as our personally dehydrated foods and MREs. It looks like a bedroom armoire so no one is wiser should they come into our apartment.

You’ve all seen those clever rolling pantries that fit into the space between your refrigerator and wall, much like a pocket door. They‘re about the width of a soup can. We took that same concept and applied it to a headboard in our master bedroom. We have a king bedframe. The extra width allowed us to build two “pantries” which roll out from each side of the bed. I upholstered the front of the unit to create a more authentic headboard look. No one knows the inside is hollow and contains sliding shelf units filled with food and prepping supplies. This is also a nice hideaway for guns and ammo.

Our balcony hosts a small water heater closet with storage. We’ve placed our faraday cage inside with extra electronics in case of an EMP, along with another scope since our first one is electronic. We hope to add parts for our vehicle’s electronic ignition in the future.

A second armoire occupies a corner of our living room. It’s been converted to a dry bar on top and extra storage beneath, with two sets of doors that allow us to keep the bottom half closed. This is where I store things like our 100 gallon bath tub bladder, water filters, extra solar blankets, sterno, batteries, flashlights and solar lanterns, tools, extra fire starters, etc. Concealed closet nooks contain a small generator, chargers/inverters, silver ingots, USB sticks containing copies of important papers, and other valuables.

We were on a roll at this point and needed to put that excitement to good use so my husband and I created a ‘wish list” of additional ideas to incorporate concealed storage into our small space. Concealed is a key word for renters because you will always have those periodic walk-throughs by maintenance or management. Don’t advertise your prepping efforts. If an unexpected disaster occurred next week, those same people will remember where to find food, water and guns. And they’ll tell their family and friends.

Here are some ideas from our wish list. They might work for you, too.

Cabinet style end tables or trunks offer room for lots of goodies in otherwise unused space. Why have a four legged table when you can maximize that dead air into a functional yet attractive storage unit? I love the idea of Murphy bed type storage. An eight inch pull down box will hold a lot of supplies if you use vacuum sealed bags. When not in use, it functions as a designer friendly accent wall. If you can’t sacrifice the height for a full wall unit, use the same concept beneath a window disguised as a small seating bench or ledge for your herb garden. Eight inches barely encroaches into livable space but provides a LOT of usable storage. Another way to add extra “hidey holes” is using dressers for TV stands, dining room buffets or a foyer table.  Build a hollow base for your dining table with a small access door. All of these ideas provide room for supplies in under-used areas which could equate to survival when the SHTF. And best of all, they can be dismantled easily should you decide to move.

A thick, wooded area meanders behind our building. We will utilize it as part of our exit plan if we’re forced to leave our dwelling. As a precaution, we buried a sealed box with more supplies (in the dead of night, away from curious eyes) in case we have to leave in a hurry. Things we included were two seasonal changes of clothing, one for warm weather, one for cold, space blankets which can double for shelter, extra bug out bags, a pistol with ammo, and knives. I won’t go into details about our bug out bags since the topic has been covered extensively by other contributors – but we each have enough food, water and gear to live off grid for a week. It’s important our personal packs provide self-sufficiency for one person because if my husband and I are separated, we both need to survive.

With supplies stashed all over our apartment and in the woods, it would be easy to forget what we’ve acquired. Maintaining a running inventory is mandatory. I’ve categorized my food products and listed them by expiration date so I can rotate out the old and add in the new. I also noted the location of each item so I know whether to look under the bed, in the armoire or behind the sofa.

I’m sure most survivalists are never prepared to their satisfaction, and neither are we. We want another rolling pantry unit behind our sofa disguised as a sofa table, a solar panel for the balcony, and walkie talkies. I‘ve begun collecting an assortment of essential oils and herbal remedies but have a lot more to acquire. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you we need more ammo. I guess that’s the difference between men and women but together, we should have everything covered!

Disaster preparedness and learning survival techniques is an ongoing process. We’re not as “ready” as some but better prepared than others . . . and I’m okay with that. The key is to take the first step. Buy an extra case of Ramen noodles and store it in your pantry. Beef up your first aid kit. Prepare a basic bug out bag for everyone in your household with enough supplies to last a few days. Or stash away a couple of boxes of ammunition.

The upside is you’ll feel more confident about enduring minor events like a winter storm or natural disaster. The better upside is being prepared for something worse like an EMP or terrorist attack.

And you don’t need ten acres and a cabin to start.

Prizes for this round (ends Jan 13 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Bacon courtesy of MRE Depot, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a Survive2Thrive Organic Food Storage bucket courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

The Lights Went Out in Texas

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by Texican

Prizes for this round (ends Jan 13 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Bacon courtesy of MRE Depot, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a Survive2Thrive Organic Food Storage bucket courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive –  A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
  3. Third Place winner will receive –  A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Last week our small area of the world experienced a power outage which lasted just an hour and 55 minutes. The power went out at 5:55pm. Not a big deal, right? I’m prepared, I have batteries, I have flashlights, I have candles, I have lanterns, I have kerosene, I have…….! Yep, I pretty much have it all. Now if I could only find it all.

I write about this very simple inconvenience for the simple fact that although I had everything I needed to get through it, I did not have all I needed very handy. Sometimes it’s the very small things, like this power outage, that show some major flaws in our preparedness.

So, it’s 5:55pm and since it is late November it is already dark. The power goes off while I’m on the computer in the front part of the house. My wife is in the living room in the back part of the house. I don’t know why this came as a surprise to me but, it did…. it is pitch black in my house with no lights! For the first few seconds I just sat there waiting to see if the power would come back on. After about a minute I decided it wasn’t coming back real soon and I figured I needed to do something to get some light in the house. The problem was I could hardly see to get out of my chair much less out of the room and down the hall to the living room. Luckily I had my cell phone with me and I used it as a flash light to get to the living room to make sure my wife was alright.

She used hers to get to the kitchen to get a flash light and I took mine to another room to get a second flash light. Once we both had a light source the first hurdle was jumped. This took no more than 5 minutes so we waited another 5 minutes or so just in case the power should come back on, which it has some times in the past. But, after 10 minutes or so we were still in the dark. Now we start thinking of having more light than just the flash light. I have that covered because a few months back we were without power for almost 4 hours. It was during the day so we didn’t need much extra light but, I decided to get two of my lanterns out of storage and fill the tanks and store them in a reachable location inside the house.

I also put 3 of the quart bottles of kerosene and a small funnel and a box of kitchen matches with the lanterns. That foresight worked out well for us and they really were in a good location and easy to get to, once I found the flash light.
Now, here is an embarrassing admission, I have never in my life lit, used or otherwise depended on a lantern for light. Come on be honest, how many of you have never used a lantern? My knowledge of lantern use comes from watching Little House On The Prairie and I know enough to never leave one unattended in the barn!

Well, I raised the mantle and the wick, struck the match, placed it on the wick and just like that we had light, a very poor light but it was still light. I adjusted the wick a bit and I was so proud of myself that I was just a beaming. Since I did so well with the first one I grabbed the second one and got it going so each of us would have our own light source. After a few moments of patting myself on the back we became aware of just how little light the two lanterns were putting out. It was nothing like the light on Little House! I think they may have used a little trickery on the set.

My wife and I both like to read and since there was nothing else to do we picked up our books and started to read. OK, we tried to read and found out real quick that the only way to do so was to get right up to the lantern with the book pretty much touching the lantern. I swear I got a couple of nose hairs singed! We did manage to do some reading but it was accomplished by twisting the body in too many ways for me to describe.

After a few minutes of reading we decided we needed a smoke break. We never smoke in the house and we couldn’t just flick the switch for the outside lights so we each took our lantern and went out back to the patio. Now that was the only nice thing about the outage. It was kinda like mood lighting and not too bad. That was over all too soon and we had to return to the dark house. We picked up the books again and read until the lights finally came back on. That was the longest hour and 55 minutes we have spent in a long time. We were happy to have the use of electricity again.

Now to the lessons learned from this minor yet very instructional time period. The first thing I plan on correcting is the number of flash lights in the house. I want at least 1 in every room plus extra batteries in each room. Secondly I will learn the number of steps to get to and from each room in the house. Thirdly I will purchase several more lanterns and more quart bottles of kerosene. My storage location for the lanterns and kerosene is a good location and doesn’t need to be altered. From this experience I would like to be able to get more light in the living area.

I don’t know if more lanterns is the answer or something else, any suggestions?

With very little light we noticed it to be very depressing and somewhat stressful which was something we did not count on. During a prolonged period like months or more that could be a real problem, for us anyway. Since my only knowledge of lanterns comes from Little House On The Prairie, as noted above, I have a question. I know by extending the wick(turning it up) the flame burns higher and brighter. The higher it goes the more smoke it emits and darkens the mantel. Is there a ROT for how high the wick should be? My lanterns are cheap ones, do more expensive ones work better(I think I know the answer to that)?

To sum up our little outage, I know that light is good. I know that some light is better than no light. I know a small amount of light in a living area is depressing. I’m sure one could get used to it but at my age I may not have enough time. I know now that having everything one needs to survive most anything that comes along is worthless unless it can be retrieved quickly and put to use easily. I know that preparing for the unknown future is a lot more fun than it will be living it.
Well, that is a description of my little survival moment. I hope it may serve in some small way to assist some of you in your preparations. At the very least it should tell you not to depend on Little House On The Prairie for your survival needs.

The Survival Plan Done Right!

By Ski

Remember the number one rule of survival: When the disaster occurs, the time for preparation is over. Those who fail to plan have planned to fail. Planning and training allow you to overcome fear; both yours and others’ around you. Survival is not “water cooler politics” – where everyone runs their mouth about things they know nothing of – where they repeat endlessly what others told them while never thinking about it themselves. Survival requires thought, a plan. And that means writing it down.

In this post I will show how I wrote my survival plan; what considerations I judged to be important. You may find it looks similar to yours. You may find things you didn’t consider. You may have things on your plan which I missed. Excellent! That’s what this blog is for!

I’m still disgusted with the anonymous troll who last week told MD Creekmore, our generous host, to shut up and let the “government experts” decide what is right for others. I understand there are people who let the government do their thinking for them; who fail to take responsibility for themselves – but I do not understand why they do that.

I understand no matter how smart I think I am, there’s no way I’m smarter than all the readers of this blog put together. As far as I can see, the people reading this blog ARE the experts; and I welcome any input you graciously choose to share with me in the comments or a guest post. Thank you.

I am a military man. I can form and execute a plan. Others are experts in frugality. Others know gardening. Others know canning. Others can build a house, or maintain machinery, or weld. Others don’t know much, but they share their passion with others – motivating them. Each of us have something we’re good at. Together, we are the survivalists.

List of disasters

The first thing I did was write a list of disasters. I tried to simply write everything I could think of as fast as I could. This is brainstorming – creativity unrestrained by judgment. My list looked something like this; forest fire, national mass starvation, world wide nuclear war, radiological accident at the power plant, earthquake, car accident on the way home from work, house fire, city water being poisoned, poison chemical spill on the freeway or railroad, biological attack, a “natural” plague, Mexican uprising to take control of the southwestern states, random gang warfare on the streets, kid falls down and breaks a finger, an EMP attack by North Korea, civil disorder (Oakland/Los Angeles riots), foreign troops or government hired mercenaries “pacifying” US cities, US troops enforcing a new totalitarian rule (probably with a permanent state of emergency), city government stripping everyone of all rights (New Orleans), The Great Tribulation, hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, lightning storm, electrical grid collapse, kid burns herself with boiling water in the kitchen, and so on, and so on, and so on…

The next thing I did was some research. I looked for emergency/disaster advice. Turns out there’s quite a bit both online and pamphlets; American Red Cross, State Office of Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Fire Department, Nurses on Call, Poison Control Center, and many others. I printed out about twenty then added any disasters to my list they’d thought of that I hadn’t. I noticed all of them gave the same advice; food and water for three days , flashlights, blankets, etc…nothing specific. I also noticed Homeland Security was the only one that advised “one firearm per two adults and one box of ammunition per firearm”.

Lastly, I judged which of these disasters I might actually experience and which were so remote as to not even bother with. However, I did leave “outer space invasion” on my list; not because I think it possible (I don‘t), but because it was my way of reminding myself to think “outside the box”. I tried to see any blind spots on my list; anything I‘d missed without realizing it.

List of effects on my family

As a husband and father, I am responsible for providing for my family. I tried to logically deduce what the effect of each of these disasters/emergencies would be on my family as a whole and as individuals. I considered both the physical and spiritual effects. Boredom and hopelessness lead to mistakes that kill just as dead as thirst or violence. This was the part of my plan that required the most thought and work. As I wrote all this data down in one place, I quickly realized that many disasters all had the same effects on my family and thus all have the same mitigation. Which is why these Survival Tips begin with the three survival necessities; clothes, water, food. With those three covered, there is at least a chance to respond to whatever new challenge awaits us. Once finished, I tried to look at the list backwards. Instead of disasters driving needs, I listed human needs when no disaster threatens. I came up with the same three; clothes, water, food. When I work a math problem forwards and backwards and get the same answer both ways, I know I have the right answer. So, that is where my preparations began.

Mitigations for each effect

Until I tried to see the totality of the possible problems, there was no way I could arrive at a correct solution. But, as my risks are different than yours, your solution must be different than mine. Perhaps you have no risk of forest fire because you live in a desert. Perhaps there is no nuclear power plant within 20 miles of your home. Perhaps there IS a hazardous chemical using manufacturing plant within 10 miles of your home you don’t know about – have you looked? Once you see the risks written down in front of you, the list of mitigations writes itself: Starvation requires food. Poisoned water requires a good water filter.

Devastating earthquake requires an escape plan with a predesignated family meet up place, knowing how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity, tents and sleeping bags. An EMP attack by North Korea requires…uh…a web search to learn something about EMP. Hey, this is easy. I see ‘first aid’ keeps coming up again and again on my list… Mitigations come in two types; equipment and training. Buying equipment is fun! The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys…that is SO true! A smart girl can use this.

Who wouldn’t want to own a water filter and two canteens with a nifty backpack to carry them in? Isn’t having three months of canned foods all boxed and labeled under the stairs just the coolest! (Well, I think so…) This is where the 10% rule really works for you! If you’re loaded with cash such that you can buy everything you want all at once, you don’t need to read Survival Tip #1 again. Training is sometimes the more immediately useful of the two.

The family needs to understand everyone should have some minimum amount of training. Red Cross Basic First Aid is probably the best place to start. The fire escape plan; when our kids were little, we used to practice this every three months. Your plan may include such things as a family meet up place, firearm safety – Eddie Eagle can help little kids with that, where the emergency supplies are and how to use each of them. You must decide what threats you will train your family against. You cannot train them against everything. Prioritize, and remember there are outside resources…use them.

Red Cross Basic First Aid is my favorite example because it’s usable in life’s many little emergencies, and is available just about everywhere. My wife saved a man’s life two days after her first aid class (that her mean ‘ol husband made her take even though she didn‘t want to) when she was the only one in the restaurant who knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver. I explained to her having a husband who is an EMT is useless if her husband is the one who is hurt and needs help. Don’t you love me? That other fellow gained the benefit and my wife gained some real confidence.

Both of my daughters have used the karate their dad taught them; public schools are so screwed up! But the point is: training is useful. I was looking down a list of skills a book said survivalists should have and realized I have almost all of them except welding. This is when my wife informs me she can weld; learned it in a college automotive course. I didn’t know that! Your plan will show you what training you need. Discussing the plan with your family will help you decide who needs to be trained in what. Remember, this is your plan – think for yourself. The only wrong answer is not to plan, not to prepare, not to train.

Any other answer is an improvement over where you are now. Training should include whoever you include in your survival plan; your brother who lives outside the city, your old army buddy who lives across town – whoever. Survivalists should not plan to face the starving mobs alone. You should try to find half a dozen others in your area and at least explore the idea of working as a team. You might consider starting a neighborhood watch program of like minded individuals. Impromptu survival groups sure worked for those store owners during the Oakland riots! And it sure worked for the two neighborhoods in New Orleans who did it! What!?

You didn’t see anything about that on the news? Me neither. I learned about it from some FEMA folks who were there. If you want some free training, consider joining your local volunteer fire department, or a volunteer search and rescue team, or a Red Cross CERT Team, or the Scouts, or a Mountain Man club. Just get out of your easy chair and join something! The best camping gear and guns are useless if you don’t have the physical strength to carry them. Lastly, training can be fun. My wife and I love camping. She loves cooking over an open fire, and gets a kick out of filtering water from the stream, and trying to find wild foods while we’re hiking.

But training!? Oh, she has no interest in training. A smart man can use this. I just wish I could have photographed her expression when I informed her we were going camping at the top of the mountains in January. But once we got there she realized we could hike through the snow, pitch a tent, spend the night, and…we had the whole state park to ourselves. The confidence she gained was life changing. And she now understands what all the camping gear does because she actually used it. I enjoy listening to her brag about our exploits to others. And I learned I have too much winter gear because it doesn’t get that cold where I live.

For those who are couch potatoes (you know who you are), try walking around the block – just around the block – once each day. Add one block – just one block – every Monday. You can do this. And you’ll be glad you did. Length of time How long do you plan to survive on your own? Not surprisingly, every survivalist gives a different answer. I figure there are three durations that actually mean something: 1)“Until help arrives” means somewhere between three days to two weeks. 2)“Through the winter” means four months. 2)“TEOTWAWKI” means three and one half years. Pick whichever answer is right for you.

But, I suggest you pick two weeks. When you’ve achieved it, then go for four months, then pursue whatever level of paranoia…err…preparedness you think is right for you. I am over one year and slowly climbing. Establish & maintenance Buying equipment is fun. But not worth much without training. Training is not worth much if your equipment breaks when you unpack it after years and years having never used it. The solution is what the military calls a maintenance schedule . Being a firm believer in the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid), I chose one day a year to open, inspect, maintain, and replace my survival equipment.

I chose St. Crispin’s Day. This is why: Video. The fact that St. Crispin’s Day is the day after UN day also appeals to me for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe, it’s just the hope American liberty will outlast the evil that is coming. Another method might be for the whole family to open and inspect each individual’s equipment the day after their birthday.

This gives an excuse for repetition, which is the key ingredient in learning. However you decide to choose a date/frequency to maintain your survival equipment, this means taking it out of the box, looking at it, putting it together, inspecting that it works, talking about how each piece is used, playing with it a bit, inspect expiration dates replacing any that are expired, putting it back away, updating the calendar with the next inspection date. As a general rule sealed medicines are good for two years, unsealed medicines are good for one year, batteries are changed every year, MREs are good for seven years (ten years under ideal cool, dry conditions), canned foods are good until the can rusts.

Your survival supplies will have to be stored in a safe (for the equipment) manner. Accessible in an emergency; but not so accessible it gets used routinely, because then we forget to replace it. In your subterranean bomb shelter under your house works best. You don’t have one!? Well, that hard to get into space under the stairs, or a corner in the basement works almost as well.

Anyplace that is dry, and not too hot. Attics are usually not a good choice, nor the garage because they’re subject to wide temperature and moisture variations. When does survivalism become too much? Survivalism becomes too much when you can’t laugh at yourself anymore. I realize others think I’m a kook. But I still laugh with my fellow survivalist kooks. As long as we’re still laughing with and at each other, we’re OK. Survivalism is important but it is not the most important thing in your life – God is; followed closely by family, then freedom, then way down the list somewhere a job.

Survivalism is too much when you’re so consumed with preparations for tomorrow’s disaster you no longer enjoy the goodness of today’s calm. Don’t be so focused on the goal that you miss the journey. Survivalism can be fun. Say to your wife: You’re right dear. I need a break from all this doom and gloom…let’s go swimming! Invest 10% of your money and 10% of your time preparing, then go outside in the sun and have some fun. Play baseball with the kids, make dinner for your wife. These things are important! Never forget to enjoy life.

You’ve made your plan, you’re adding something to your stash every payday, you are preparing as a reasonable, responsible adult should, now go relax. The Bible says “All things in moderation” – that is good advice. The world will end at the time appointed – not before, not after. But that time has not come today. Is there anything…anyone…more important to you than your own life? Can you think of anyone for whom you will willingly lay down your life? If there is someone who is that important to you – tell them today! Spend time with them today. If you forgot to do so, you have crossed the line between survivalist and kook. Your survivalism has become too much. Take a step back. There is still good all around you. May the Lord bless you.

My Wife is Finally On-board But it Took an Earthquake to do it!

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry  was written by Old Alaskan

It’s strange how a person’s attitude and perception about an issue can change in the time frame of a minute.  A few months ago I was reading on several “Prepper” blogs about the reluctant spouse. For me it was my wife who thought that having a food and water storage for an emergency would clutter up her house and was unnecessary after all Costco and Sam’s as well as Carrs / Safeway, Freddie’s (Fred Meyer) are all just down the street.

Then at 9:50 AM on September 25, 2014 I had just finished washing about 4 pounds of Red Beets that I picked that morning from my container garden alongside of our house and put them on the stove to cook for 15 minutes in order to make Spicy Pickled Red Beets from a recipe I saw in the Ball Canning Book and I had 5 one pint jars were simmering in the water bath canner being sterilized.

Earlier this spring while snow was still on the ground I read an article on “Rain Gutter Grow Systems and Container Gardening”. That was all it took since we had several 5 gallon buckets and many Rubber Maid and Sterilite totes around the house not being used I started to grow vegetables along the south side of the house Sugar Peas, Yellow String Beans, Red Beets, Tomatoes, Cabbages, Zucchini, Carrots and other things. I managed to can 6 pints of yellow string beans for when we have ham & string beans with a left over ham bone and I had already canned 5 pints of pickled red beets and had over 3 gallons of “Pepper Cabbage” also known as “Freezer Slaw” in the freezer.

My wife was tolerating my new hobby since she likes Sugar Peas and Pepper Cabbage as much as I do. I had just set the timer for 15 minutes and was leaving the kitchen when my wife who was taking a bath came running out of the bathroom dripping water all over the rug.

Not now honey I said I have a bunch of stuff on the stove I have to watch I told her she looked at me and said, “EARTHQUAKE”, I paused a moment and said oh now I feel it, it feels like a small one and no sooner did I say that when the archway I was standing in started to move, the walls started to flex and the house started to sway. I looked at her and said if you are going to run outside like that at least put a coat on its cold out there, then a crash from the kitchen. What was that my wife asked, it was your earthquake warning system I replied.

I always harass her about the stack of pots, pans & lids that she had stacked on the kitchen counter. These fell down and then a stack of cookbooks and other books fell out of the bookcase. I looked at the kitchen stove and saw that my pots were still secure on the stove. Then as quick as it started the earthquake ended.

With a Hurricane you have days to prepare but Earthquakes happen without warning. They can be just a short jolt or a lasting one that increases and decreases in intensity. Thursdays earthquake was the largest one to hit Alaska since 2002. It measured 6.24 on the Richter Scale and was centered 80 miles north of Anchorage at a depth of 18 miles and had a duration of about one minute. Damage was minimal with items knocked off of shelves.

The Alaska Railroad briefly stopped operation in order to inspect tracks and bridges. I told my wife that if a really big one hit and the floor of Cook Inlet changed the port of Anchorage will not be operational (we get 2 ships a week with supplies along with several barges) the railroad tracks from both the Whittier and Seward ports will not be operational for months as well as the roads from either of those towns.

She is now talking about food storage and picking up some items at Sam’s Club as well as first aid items and other things. This summer she saw some solar powered lights for the garden and driveway instead of buying one pack I convinced her to buy two packs of them. I brought just 2 of these lights into the house the other night and they lit up the living & dining room nicely.

Almost everyone in the United States lives in an area subject to earthquakes. The biggest one to strike the United States was the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-1812. If an earthquake struck again there would be billions and maybe trillions of dollars of damage and possibly a million or more lives lost. Instead of boring you all with gee whiz information do a computer search on how to earthquake proof your house. Unlike a hurricane which will give you days to prepare an earthquake happens suddenly without warning and now my wife sees the light although dim it is lit.

Prizes for this round (ends October 20th 2014 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A $500 gift certificate off of any product or products at MRE Depot!
  2. Second place winner will receive –  a gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester ammo fromLuckyGunner and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a Survival Puck  courtesy of Innovation Industries and  20 Live Fire Sport – Emergency Fire Starters from LPC Survival.
  4. Fourth Place winner will receive –  a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules first…

If You Find Yourself Becoming Overwhelmed With Being Prepared

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by TeriLee

Prizes for this round (ends October 20th 2014 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!

  1. First place winner will receive –  A $500 gift certificate off of any product or products at MRE Depot!
  2. Second place winner will receive –  a gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester ammo fromLuckyGunner and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a Survival Puck  courtesy of Innovation Industries and  20 Live Fire Sport – Emergency Fire Starters from LPC Survival.
  4. Fourth Place winner will receive –  a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Photo By: bark

The time came for me to take a serious look at my personal readiness. I wanted to be prepared for any scenario my mind could conceive and some circumstances I hadn’t thought about. After considering myself to be a frugal person most of my life, then realizing I had been a prepper for most of that life, I took it upon myself to really get involved in my survival. After all, living day to day in today’s world can certainly be considered a measure of survival.

I took the first step and did my due diligence. I researched what it meant to become a prepper and read numerous articles on the subject. I, searched various websites, trying to find the one website that offered the most amount of information, moral support, ideas and conversations with like minded people, without having to continually surf from one site to another.

I made my lists, checked them twice and three times, and started getting what I thought was better organized. I performed several small tasks around my home that made me begin to feel more prepared, more secure and safer. And I started feeling like I was actually doing something to ensure my survival in the event of some unforeseen emergency.

After a while, being prepared, reading articles, being active in my own survival became a daily activity. Most everything I did on a day to day basis became an integral part of prepping. It didn’t matter what I did or how I did it, I did it all with prepping in mind.

Going to the grocery store to pick up a few items became going to the grocery store to add to my storage items. Going to garage sales for fun, to find simple treasures became going to garage sales to hunt for survival items. Repurposing items and recycling out of being frugal became repurposing and recycling with surviving in mind. Everything I did I found myself trying to fit with a prepper’s mindset.

On one specific incident, I was preparing myself for a day trip that would end up being an eight hour trip both way. Over three hundred miles there and the same distance back. I checked the tires on my car, checked the oil and water, made sure the jack was in place and the spare was aired up. I realized the spare tire on my car had lost air due to years of not having to use it.

I lugged my portable air compressor from the storage shed out back to the garage up front, plugged it in to build pressure, crawled under the car and aired up the spare tire. After my car was ready for the trip I started thinking to myself, “I should put that air compressor in the garage where I can get to it easily.”

Suddenly, I became completely overwhelmed. I started thinking about all of the things I had accumulated over the years that I had stored on the shelves in the garage. All of the camping equipment, blankets, suitcases, boxes of God knows what, along with cleaning supplies, tools, empty bottles, and what not. Even the collection of childhood toys, teddy bears, and other stuffed items I had collected over the years instantly became a burden that just for an instant, overwhelmed me beyond what my mind could understand.

I asked myself, “What in the world am I going to do with all that junk?” I started distributing things in my mind, thinking about where I would put this and what I would do with that. I knew some of it I would have to simply get rid of. Again, for an instant, I began to feel overwhelmed. I started to realize, as a prepper, I had so much work in front of me I felt like I would never get it all accomplished.

Once again, I thought of my prepper friends on my favorite prepper website. I knew if I was feeling overwhelmed, there had to be others that felt overwhelmed as well. I knew what I had to do. I had to express how I felt and I had to see how other people felt and how they dealt with the possibility of being overwhelmed with prepping.

I realized what I had to do. I had to dismiss the idea that I had to get it all done today. I knew I could spread the work out over a period of time without putting any kind of deadline on the project that laid before me. I began to realize, even though I considered myself a well organized person, I had a lot more organizing that had to be done.

With regards to one small idea, which was putting the air compressor in a more convenient location to the car, I suddenly found myself throne smack dab in the middle of reorganizing the entire garage along with reorganizing the 10 X 20 storage shed out back. I realized how disorganized everything actually was.

I had to once again, make a plan and approach this thing methodically with the least amount of effort, yet putting things in some kind of sensible order. Garden tool all together in the back, automotive tools all together in the garage, camping equipment and survival gear together in one location, easily accessible, as well as making adequate space for those unnecessary items with sentimental value.

The feeling of being overwhelmed began to subside as my the plan came together in my head. Instead of putting things off until tomorrow, I turned off the television and continued the never ending journey of a prepper’s life.

My question is this: Have you ever felt overwhelmed as a prepper? And if so, how did you deal with getting things organized. Where did you put things for easy accessibility?

An Exercise in Self-Reliance

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written Judy W

Photo by: Joan Sorolla

Photo by: Joan Sorolla

On August 18 I received an email about a group of Survivalist nationwide going off the grid for the weekend of the 22 the 23 ,the 24.It said,no electric,no,cell,no Internet, no city water, no gas stations, no stores. My first thought was yes – Great idea! I believe in practice, and it is a great way to learn. In fact I learned by practice to walk my entire home in the dark, by practicing.

Let me tell you on Sept.8th I turn 73. About 25 years ago I lost my husband and my dad in the same week. It was very painful. I have 7 children,one adopted who is developmentally delayed, age 51 but tests age of 6 or 7. My homestead is 5 plus acres,rural private,S he lives with me.All my other kids live in different states and think I am a nut job,lol

23 years ago I went to a workshop in Utah, to learn about being independent and off the grid. I wanted to learn how to take care of me without relying on anyone or anything. Me a real spoiled city girl fell in love with the Mormons concepts of food storage and growing your own food etc. So I began my journey of educating me to learn and grow and survive any and all disasters .

Okay,so I am going to go off the grid for the weekend.I sat down with my daughter and reviewed what we were doing,and the more we chatted the more I learned this was going to be a great challenge…..

No electric means no water for the toilet.Yes I have much water stored but do I really want to use it?Do I have a back up plan, yes for sure remember I trained with the Mormons. So I am good when it comes to the bath room and bathing,it feels good to know this one is covered.

Next the thought of no AC is frightening.The temps here have been high 90’s
The good news is I have battery operated fans and plenty of batteries,which is comforting.I can camp out but am hoping I will not have too.

  • Cooking I have multiple sources to feed us.
  • No cell,hmm
  • No Internet,hmm
  • No TV hmm

These will be interesting to experience.

I have gas stored for my car and my tank is always full if I have to bug out. For this weekend I am staying put.

So today is Monday and I have shared with you my first day thoughts.

It is now Thursday night, and what a week.My brain just would not shut off.I decided I would not do or add anything to my homestead because of the adventure I was planning.I would make do with what I have.I emailed friends and family to let them know they could not reach me.Boy I got some weird responses to my going off the grid.Some very negative. I explained to many a positive attitude is the key to survival of any disaster.

So I am off to bed now and have my paper and pen ready to journal the experience .Do you remember what a paper and pencil are? lol Sense of humor is important also.
One last thing before I pull the switch we are having a heat wave here and heat index will be over a hundred. Maybe I can sweat some pounds off.

First day …I learned I am spoiled and I am wasteful.I put the generators on,grabbed the coolers and ice packs and stored the perishables and food that had to be eaten.I got the meals planned for the 3 day, I got the paper plates ETC. I did a check on batteries, candles flashlights, camping stove, gas grill. I store gasoline, propane, kerosene – the temperature was 97.

I have a pool, a pond ,chickens, a garden, and plants. I am missing a way to catch water,

so I will have to work on that. Not having cold drinks or ice darn near killed me.i am an ice addict so I have to work on that also.I have several small water purifiers but I realize I need a Berkey.

My home is dark to begin with,and I made it real dark hoping to keep sun and heat out.heat index was 111 on Saturday.We stayed outside most of the day hiding in shade or pool.we had hamburgers on grill and a salad I had to use and I waited till about 730 to prepare,cause it was so hot we didn’t want to eat or drink.I made us do both.

I had put flashlights around inside but didn’t really focus on where.At 830 we separated garbage to burn or not to burn barrels .I entered house and it was pitch dark and I had not a clue to where they were.I laughed and laughed, and kept thinking some Prepper I am. I learned I am weak on lights for night time. I also will have a LED at each table marked with where they go. I could have gotten the lanterns but frankly it was too darn hot.I have light sources stored but really didn’t need to break out supplies, cause what was in home was quite adequate for the weekend.

I got my survival book out and started reading with a flashlight that kept rolling off my stomach,all I could do was thank God I had the flashlight and laugh at my big stomach.It was a good read.I went to bed very early for me and I have these 2 little battery operated fans and I put one on and as night when on I began my first strip act.I woke up around midnight in a puddle of water no clothes on and the fan died.
I thought wow this is only day one and I learned so much,my family is right I am nuts…..lol

Day 2 I want to tell you something that I am so happy about,I never thought of aborting the mission and my prayer was always God help me to learn all that I can to help me and others to get through any disasters.

Cooler almost empty now, yogurt for breakfast kinda soggy, but we thanked God we had it and talked about those who have nothing. Gratitude filed my daughter and I.

We did some chores, fed the fish etc. Hey, I said how do we wash clothes?

Now here is another problem.I don’t know. Having no electric is a killer. Who would have thought I would be grateful for my washing machine and my SHOWER.

I remember the night before I began this I said wow no vacuuming awesome…. Mistake, I miss my vacuum. This sweeping and bending over ROTS.

We hid out in pool under umbrella ,heat index 111 how do I know that I turned cell on for a second and asked Siri.That reminds me, I must have hit the light switches hundreds of times,no electric,I appreciate electric now.also solar but mine is down,need to get it fixed .I learned my day must revolve around the sun.

Garbage out,flashlights in place,heat unbearable.Ate dinner,outside in order to use natural light all I could think of was what if they were gangs or bad guys coming my way,we sure couldn’t sit outside .I want to say I am hot I am tired and although it seems overwhelming,I will close day 2 by doing a mini plus sheet. Positive thinking produces positive results…

I have a homestead, instead of looking at the negative, I will look at the positives of what I have…

  • Water
  • Chickens
  • Fishpond
  • Generators
  • Food Storage
  • Candles
  • Flash lights
  • Lanterns
  • A grill
  • A wood stove
  • A fire pit
  • 3 …..72 hour kits
  • 6…24 hour kits
  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Medicine
  • Herbs
  • Mre’s
  • Guns
  • Ammo
  • Bow and arrows
  • Barb wire fence
  • Batteries
  • Solar panels

Ok I feel better. I do see I have many needs to fill and classes to take…

  • I owe no one and have no mortgage.
  • I have a great relationship with God.

Day 3

Slept maybe 2 hours, heat unbearable, grabbed an ice pack from cooler and tried it.In a short bit it completely melted from body heat.We drank a lot all night long.Put wet clothes on us, and believe it or not were so grateful to God for all our blessings and so apologetic to Him for all the things we have wasted and not valued in our lives. Breakfast was cereal with can milk,,and raisins.Food was so not important due to heat. We are going to do this again in winter, I am sure it will be so different.

Today was bath day, OMG what a riot – we had shampoo, soap, pails water, and were outside. It is tough to wash hair and body with little water,and a riot to be naked in your front yard. Its ok my neighbors are not too close but close enough if I need them. All I can say is we laughed a lot and told each other if we had to do this it would not be a laughing matter and we stopped and prayed for the less fortunate people in the world.

Summation

I wish every person would go off the grid for a weekend.When and If something bad happens,it will be chaos because people are not aware or prepared to take care of them selves.It is a very sad scary thought for me.

I learned I have done well and need a lot more learning and studying. Life without electric is painful, life without water is death. Life without God is Hell.

Prizes for this round (ends October 20th 2014 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A $500 gift certificate off of any product or products at MRE Depot!
  2. Second place winner will receive –  a gift a gift certificate for $150 off of  Winchester ammo fromLuckyGunner and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a Survival Puck  courtesy of Innovation Industries and  20 Live Fire Sport – Emergency Fire Starters from LPC Survival.
  4. Fourth Place winner will receive –  a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first…

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