Merry Christmas From

We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and blessings this day celebrating the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. Stay safe my friends and keep prepping because the new year is going to be interesting and I have a few major predictions that I’m putting into an article that will be published here next week.

If after opening presents and eating Christmas dinner you get bored and need something to read then I suggest that you look over and read articles that interest you from this massive list of free prepper information.

What did you do to prep this week?

Here we are again… this is the first “what did you do to prep this week” this winter, and prepping during winter stinks, I think because I can’t do as much outside and that’s where I need the most stuff done. I’m about to go stir-crazy looking at my to-do-list because most of the to-do is outside.

Okay, now that I’ve sufficiently gripped and whined about the cold weather and winter I’d like to thank and give a shout-out to Andrew R, Mr. Bill D, Terry R, Dennis P, Norman B, Kenneth B, and Clean Survival for their generous contributions this week.

If you feel that this site has helped you prep better or in some other way and you’de like to give a little something back via a small monetary contribution then you can do that here.

Okay, now what did I do to prep this week…

This week I bought three more of the metal shelving units at the local Walmart that I’m using to expand my food storage to provide for more people over a longer period.

Put up more pegboard in my garage to hang more tools and stuff as a prepper you can’t have too many tools and stuff – a good book on prepper tools is Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own.

And the big purchase this week… well I traded a shotgun and gave some money… was a Semi-Auto Colt M4.

Well, folks, that’s it for me this week… what about you… what did you do to prep this week?

What did you do to prep this week?

Well, folks, it’s that time again… you know where you use an anonymous name to tell others what you did to prep this week, thereby giving them ideas and encouragement to further their own preps. And that’s the goal to become a little better prepared each week so that you will be as prepared as possible when the balloon goes up, bursts or whatever.

But before we get started I’d like to thank Peter W, Mike D and Tammy B for their contributions via Paypal this week. Thank you very much, it is appreciated. If you too feel that this site has helped you in some way, and you would like to give a little something back via a small donation then you can do that here.

Now, what did I do to prep this week…

I made a big list of stuff that I want to get done outside when it warms back up… get my garden area fenced, put my solar panels back up, build a small barn, build another extension on the wood shed, fence my property etc. Moving to a new location has thrown me behind some and trying to catch up.

This week I also… cleaned and organized my tools… I know cleaning tools some might see as “unnecessary”, but I was raised dirt poor and take extra special care of what I have now because I appreciate it so much. Having nothing and being homeless several times will have an effect on a person… or it should.

I also bought two of these storage shelves at Walmart…

survival blog building a shelf

Well that’s it for me this week… what about you… what did you do to prep this week?

What did you do to prep this week?

Starting next week this segment will be posted on Friday along with our regular postings for that day. This will give everyone more time to comment and interact with that popular segment. I think that moving the segment to that day will work out great. What do you think?

Before we get started with what we did to prep this week and the conversation that follows, I’d like to thank Encourager for her Christmas gift via PayPal, thank you so very much, it’s appreciated.


Now, what did I do to prep this week…

Worked on my indoor root cellar in the basement project…

survival cellar

This is going to be great when I get it finished…

prepper home security

New 15-inch monitor for my security cameras.

Bought 300 rounds of “green tip” .223

Well folks, that’s it for me… what about you… what did you do to prep this week?


Prepping for Your Dog

by Millie in K

In the rush of prepping for your family, don’t forget the canine members (and other pets) of your family! I will be writing about dogs, much of this same information will apply to cats and other pets. I have owned and cared for dogs all my life, owned a boarding kennel, taught obedience classes and trained service dogs, I was a retail sales clerk in a pet department, and was a groomer. I will try to cover things in a practical manner for you.

The first thing to consider is food. There are a couple of ways to approach this. You can buy and save commercial dog food for your dog. Or they can eat what you eat, in which case you want to make sure you buy for “another person”.

Dog food is processed and packaged to last 18-24 months. There is a date, somewhere on the bag that will indicate when the food expires. The little secret the dog food companies don’t tell you is that it will be good for at least a year afterwards, if the packaging is intact and you have not gotten bugs in it, or mice. So buy the food with the furthest expiration date you can and rotate, rotate, rotate! When SHTF you should not worry that Fido has the super-premium, all organic, all meat formula. Buy what you can NOW to meet his needs. If the super-premium food costs $60 a bag or the average food costs $40 a bag, save yourself some money and get extra food from the $20 you will save. Most of the mid-priced foods are very nutritious, especially if you can find a brand that is not so nationally advertised. For example, you can buy Blue Buffalo which is a good food in so many ways, but costs $50-60 for a 28 lb. bag. Or you can buy Premium Edge (manufactured by Diamond) for about $40 a 35 lb bag. There isn’t really a whole lot of difference, nutritionally, the difference in the price is the heavy advertising that Blue Buffalo does.

If you buy your food, check the expiration date. If it is getting within about 6 months of expiring, find someone ask for a big discount for you to take that food off their hands. You know it will last longer and you can use that food now, setting back food with a longer date for later use. They don’t want this food around because if it expires, they will have to throw it out.

This gets more complicated if your pet has a medical problem or allergies. In that case, you may want to think about feeding them what the family eats. Family dogs have eaten scraps for years, so long as you don’t overdo it on the fat, they will be fine. You can experiment now with two sources of nutrition. One will be a protein source, one will be a carbohydrate source. Most of the allergens that dogs react to are the grains, second is the meat source. If they are on a trout and sweet potato based food, you can start with that. Find a fish that the dog can tolerate. You can stock a pond, if you have it, for fresh fish for everyone. You can buy cans of fish for them for storage until you can figure out something else to do. You can fish for the dog every few days. Sweet potatoes can be grown in the garden and stored easily. Try and find other things your dog can eat in this case. Experiment by adding a singular kind of food to the regular diet for two weeks. If no reaction, you probably have found something else they can have. This needs to be done NOW so you can be ready for the future and know what they can have.

How much to buy? My dogs on average, eat about a cup of food a day. Sometimes the bag will indicate how many cups are in the bag. Sometimes you have to weigh a cup of food, divide the pounds in the bag by that weight to get the number of cups. Or you can take the kilocalories in the entire bag (don’t ask me why they put this on the bag) and divide that by the kilocalories found in a cup which will also be on the side of the bag. This will give you the number of cups in a bag. One thing to keep in mind is that most dogs are somewhat overweight. Dog food takes up room. So figure out how much food every day that Fido can have and then buy appropriately. Go ahead and get him slimmed down to what he needs to be. Then you won’t be wasting prep room for an overweight dog that is certainly going to be developing some kinds of health problems over time.

I have bought enough food for my pack for a year. I figure by that time, I may be sharing the food we have with them, or we will have figured out what will work for us. I worked out how much oatmeal I would need for each dog and it was an enormous amount. Oatmeal is a great thing to feed because it is one of the most nutrient dense grains there is. Corn, wheat or soy which often causes food sensitivities in dogs over time are not good choices, but rice is a good choice for most dogs, as is bread or macaroni. You can also explore other grains such as amaranth or milo.

When storing the food, it doesn’t matter so much if it gets cold. But it should not get hot. Most dog food is “extruded” meaning it is cooked, then made into a gooey mass and then extruded into nice little kibbles, which are then heated to “bake” them and sprayed with flavored oils to make them more appetizing for your pet. That oil can go rancid if the food is in a place where it is warm. Your dog will not eat it and nothing will make your pet eat that food if it smells bad to him. Canned food should be kept from freezing, as any canned goods should, as well as not getting hot. If you have it in a pile with your supplies, be sure you have some sort of rodent protection around it. Mousetraps or poison (make sure Fido does not go in that area!) or mothballs work. Dogs will eat mothballs and they are poisonous. They taste sweet to them. A better alternative is cedar oil or peppermint oil or dried leaves. Put the oil on cotton balls and refresh them every month, tuck them around the bags.

Plant a package of mint somewhere on your land. It can be very invasive so keep it away from your gardens or it will take over. It will re seed itself every year in that same patch; while you are about it, throw down a package of catnip for Kitty. She will appreciate the fun she can have with a fresh branch every day and you can dry it for winter fun or even tea for yourself if you desire.

When you run out of commercial food, Fido will have to rely on scraps, crows and other birds I can shoot, road kill and/or predator meat. If I shoot a coyote, I will put it to use. I probably won’t want to eat it but the dogs could. Any varmints, such as possums, groundhogs, foxes, feral cats, all could be useful for this. I am also working on a better chicken house so that my chickens are not being picked off by hawks, a cup of oatmeal and a fresh egg or two would make a fine meal for most dogs.

When hunting after SHTF don’t forget to save the bones for the dogs. Raw, uncooked bones will keep their teeth cleaner and provide some nutrition as there will be meat on the bones. If you still have electricity and can freeze them, they can be kept that way for a while, they can also be smoked. Be aware that all bones can splinter and cause awful problems, especially the cooked ones, so look for the sturdier leg bones for them. Take them away after most of the meat has been removed, throw them on the roof to dry out better, pulverize them in the spring to put calcium in your garden. Bones of smaller animals should not be given. However, if you decide to cook a whole rabbit or a chicken (or birds that have been shot for this purpose) in a pot of water, cook it covered on low (a la crockpot style of cooking) for 24 hours. Take a potato masher and mash it all up. The bones will be fragile and disintegrate. I cook chicken this way all the time for my dogs in the crock pot. Remove the skin on the chicken and the rabbit. Dogs can also have tongues, brains, liver, heart, etc. of whatever you hunt. You can also teach your dog to help hunt. Right now my barns are filled with mice and I’m going to be taking one down every day and letting them learn the joy of catching and eating a mouse.

Make sure you have a water bowl and a food bowl in your BOB, with food, a sturdy leash and collar for your pet. The water bowl can double as a food bowl if necessary and to save on weight. Kitties should always have a small crate; they get frightened and take off if you let them out. Some kind of litter box would be helpful and you can use just plain dirt for litter if necessary.

Water: A dog will need about 8 oz. of water (one cup) for every 5 lbs. of body weight. They will need a little more in hot weather. Dogs can and do drink some really scummy water and don’t seem to mind but some can be more particular. Mine really like the algae water that is in their swimming pool on a hot day, warm, green, very yummy apparently. They do have a shorter digestion system, so many of the things that would affect us can pass through their guts quickly and without problems. But you cannot count on that; giardia comes to mind, and coccidia. Those will cause digestive upsets and especially diarrhea. Make sure your water filter can make enough water for your pets, too.

Medicine, wormers and flea control: Please verify what I am telling you. I am not a vet nor do I play one on TV. Double check the dosages of anything you might need to give to your dog. Also be aware that many things that work well in humans and dogs will kill a cat, such as aspirin. Never give a dog Ibuprophen. Do some research on what you put in the kit for use in animals.

Also, NOW is a good time to be sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations and wormings. Get this on your to do list now and keep an eye on the timing for this. There won’t be vaccinations for animals when SHTF. Rabies is particularly important, no one wants to see a redux of Old Yeller with their beloved family pet.

Make sure there are things in your medical kit that will help Fido, should he need it. Benadryl for insect bites, particularly bees and wasps, is helpful. 1 mg. per pound is the dosage. A couple of different antibiotics for fish is a good idea, tetracycline is not as effective for most things but amoxicillin and cephalexin are good choice and easily obtained as fish medicine. Make sure you look up the right dosage for your pet’s weight.

You can buy tapeworm medicine made for fish, too, check the dosage and make sure it is written down. They will get tapeworms from fleas, they nibble the fleas and the fleas are ingested and then you have tapeworms. People can get tapeworms so it’s a good idea to keep on top of this. You can keep flea preventative on hand, I’ve not seen expiration dates on the spot on type. You can also make a tea out of mint and spray that on your dog, it will repel the fleas at least. Diatomaceous earth can be rubbed into the coat and put in the dog’s bedding, it supposedly cuts the flea larva up and dries out the adult fleas. Pennyroyal is also good for repelling fleas but should not be used on pregnant dogs.

If you are in an area with heartworms (carried by mosquitoes) you will want to be sure you have preventative on hand. You can buy cattle Ivermectin, the 1% injectable kind. The recommended dosage of cattle Ivermectin for dogs to prevent heartworm is .0015 milligrams to .003 milligrams per pound of body weight once a month. Figure the dosage very carefully and measure out with an insulin syringe, be sure you know what you are doing. This will be given ORALLY, not injected, once per month. Put it in something tasty to get it down your dog. You use the insulin syringe to get a more exact reading. Cattle Ivermectin is good for longer than the expiration date on the bottle. Never give Ivermectin to dogs that are of “collie” origin, collies, border collies, Australian shepherds, or mixes thereof. The measurements on an insulin syringe are in units. There are 100 units to 1 cc or 1 milligram. The 40 unit syringes are easiest to work with and you can reuse them for this purpose only. Do not think you can make a mistake on this; Ivermectin poisoning can kill your dog. Do some research to be sure you know what you are doing.

Training: You may need to train your dog for various duties when SHTF. One may be that you want the dog to raise Cain and bark its head off any time it sees a stranger or something unusual. Barking vigorously gives the impression that the dog means business, even if it is a small dog. Most people cannot read a dog’s body language and assume the dog means to bite if the dog can get to them and will give a wide clearance. Conversely, you may wish the dog to be silent. It may be best not to draw attention to what appears to be an abandoned house where you may be. Training to bark is easier than training not to bark. You may need to have some help bringing in cattle or sheep. Be sure your dog has some instinct in this area, you aren’t going to be able to bring in cattle with a Maltese, but you can train a poodle to retrieve ducks, it’s what they were bred for.

Toys: At some time, there will be worn out toys and we all like our dogs to have some fun. Old socks, knotted together make a fine tug toy as does an old rope. The lid from a 5 gallon bucket makes a pretty fair Frisbee. Bones are always amusing. And it’s probably not a bad idea to lay in a small supply of tennis balls for the dogs who love those to play with, we never know when we may run across another tennis ball!


An Alternative Way To Prepping… For The Frugal Minded

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – By Rural Buckeye

Many of us want to be prepared as much as possible when the crap hits the fan. A favorite and another practical method of obtaining items that may of be of such interest, is visiting your local recycling center. I have been making frequent visits (every 7-14 days)to a local recycling center for the last 5 plus years. I was and still am amazed at what items end up there. Some of these items can be very useful and others you may want to just to pick them up for a resale.I have

I have found by selling a few of my finds it is a good way to help subsidize your other purchases. Or just hang on to them for bartering items down the road. Scrap prices do fluctuate and depending what the item is made out of, will be a factor when purchasing. But typically all my purchases are around five to ten cents on the dollar of what the item would cost elsewhere. Except for scrap, I pay around twice what they pay out. Keeping in mind that this article is more about acquiring and not on construction or refurbishing items.

Before I continue, I would like to make it very clear. Be careful what you are buying and inspect the items very carefully. Have an idea on why someone may have wanted to get rid of it in the first place. Some of these treasures are just no longer needed and others have defects. I have made bad buys only to take them back and sell them for less than what I paid originally. Also, although I will not be disclosing my sources or location (competition and security reasons) hopefully you will find some places to visit in a city near by you.

Fuel Tanks-A couple of my early on finds were aluminum fuel tanks. One being a 30-gallon tank that came out of a retired boat and the other is a 100-gallon tank that was removed from a tractor trailer rig. Both tanks appeared to be in very good shape, but before filling with fuel I checked them for leaks and cleaned them. The larger tank had 1/2 inch plug leaking. I replaced it with a new one and all is good. These are being used for emergency backup reservoirs and I am going to rotate fuel through them once a year. And yes, I am using a fuel stabilizer.

Hand tools- The one location I go to has a flea market type area setup. These items that they place there are recognized by their employees and set up to sell to people like myself. The reason I mention this is, because some items cost a bit more than d. Because a hoe or rake has very little metal in them, they are put out with a $1.00 price sticker on them. On all hand tools. I have purchased several hatchets, hoe, shovels, maul, sickle potato fork and other oddballs.

Steel-When buying raw steel, I normally pay twice what the center pays out to people I have picked a variety of steel, from 24 gauge galvanized sheet metal to many different lengths of cold and hot rolled steel. Along with piping from 1/2 inch to 6 inch. I have probably collected around 300 to 400 lbs of steel and still have less than $60.00 in it. One of my projects in the making is building a couple of rocket stoves. If you are not familiar with them, use a search engine like google and check them out. They area biomass cook stove that runs very efficient and are fairly easy to construct.

Although you will need metal working tools and a welder. The 3″ stove pipe will just be a cook stove, while the 6″ will be a vertical evaporator for boiling down maple sap to syrup. This will be used with a cut off stainless steel beer keg. But the keg really is nothing more than a 20-gallon pot boiling on a wood stove. This is nothing fancy or expensive like a commercial evaporator, but will work just fine for home use. I just want to make enough syrup for the family and some friends. I should have less than $50.00 in it by the time I am done.

Climbing Tree Stands- Believe it or not, someone scrapped out 2 brand new never used climbing deer stands. I have thoroughly inspected them, but I have not yet tried them out. And yes safety is critical here. Heck, they would make great zombie lookouts as well. These just might be a resale item, for I do most of my hunting from a ground blind anymore and I really do not need anymore.

Weight Distribution Hitches- This is something I did not need but I picked up 1 complete unit along with the makings of 3 others along with sway bars. If you do not know what a distribution hitch is. It helps level out a trailer to the truck it is attached to. Just this purchase alone has made me enough money to continue picking the scrap yard for a quite while. I paid $50 bucks for the hitches and turned around and sold them for $350.00. Once again, you have to be careful what you buy because of liability issues. These were a name brand item and appeared to be never used. I sold these on Craigs list and I had no problem getting rid of them.

This is just a small list of items that I have acquired over a small period time. To me, it is a win-win-win-win situation. The person getting rid of the item is freeing up space and picking up a little cash. Fewer items are ending up in the landfills. The recycling center is turning money. Lastly, I am obtaining items that help make life easier now and to be better prepared in the future for whatever may come our way.

The great thing about the treasure trove is that you never know what is going to show up. Good hunting my conservative friends.

Prizes For This Round Include: (Ends July 29, 2016)

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.

Clothing Maintenance Pre- and Post-SHTF

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – by Diana R. Smith

At work the other day, I noticed my co-worker’s uniform pants were separating at the seam.  Fortunately, not in an embarrassing spot.  When I commented that I could mend them if he wanted me too, he casually replied “Nah.  I’ll just go to Wal-Mart and get some more.”

This attitude about clothing has become common.  Hardly anyone mends, hems, alters or patches clothing anymore.  Not even me, and I’m a seamstress.  We are a throwaway society.

However, if the S ever truly did HTF, it is my belief we may last only a few years before we’re all running around naked unless we learn to maintain our clothing again.

I know how.  My parents both grew up in the Depression.  I knew from an early age how to darn a sock, sew on a button or patch, turn a hem or close a seam.  Even my Dad sewed, often mending his own clothing.

I had originally thought of this article as post-scenario clothing maintenance, but seriously, there are some things we can do now to keep our clothing intact and get into the swing of things.


One, is that we can keep our clothes clean.  The fibers in material are fragile by themselves.  Leaving substances on them that can be abrasive or caustic can wear on those fibers and cause them to wear thin or break.  It can be hard to totally clean some things—especially for those people who work hard, dirty jobs all day.  Many of my husband’s old shirts still smell like oil and grime, or carry the stains of cement, paint and industrial substances.  We don’t need to clean things everyday if they aren’t that bad, but just doing so will extend their life and our continued usage of them.

Another is to keep them hemmed.  This is a constant struggle in our house because we are both short.  The fashion industry has somehow decided that all women are 5’9″ and all men are 6′.  This results in many, if not most, people wearing pants that are inches too long.  Then we tread on them, trip over them, tear them, fray out the bottom and wonder why they look bad.

Another thing is to keep them mended.  When we notice a hole developing in the knee, or in the back regions by the pocket, it is far easier to darn a small hole than patch a large one.  Seams are better if they are caught and reinforced before they rip out all the way down the leg or provide us with some embarrassing air conditioning.  It is better to catch a button while we can still see where it goes, or before we lose it and have to replace it with a white button among all the blue ones.

The same things go for socks, coats, shirts, gloves and hats.  Also underwear.  If we can keep our clothing clean and in good repair before the SHTF, it will still be there for us, and last us through some troubling times.  It doesn’t matter if its just a personal SHTF moment or the big one.


Post-scenario, life gets a little more interesting.  For one, (and I am using a severe scenario here, just for discussion purposes), we won’t be able to just run down the road to the store to go get new clothes or shoes, or even a needle and thread.

Cleanliness becomes even more important at this time.  In order to maintain the health of you and your family, keeping things clean is the first line of defense.  Some of us may be lucky enough to have acquired manual washing machines.  The rest of us may be beating clothing on rocks, which I actually don’t recommend.  The abrasiveness of rocks and scrubbing boards was notorious for wearing cloth thin back before washing machines.  Far better to use a large tub and find someway to agitate the clothing in the water.  Some may balk at this idea of using so much water just for clothing, but remember, the gray water can then be used on plants when you are through.

One method of agitation can be done by mounting a barrel or bucket on a pivot of some type, closing the lid, then manually moving it back and forth for about 15 minutes.  Another method is to use a washing plunger such as those used for handwashing woolen or silk garments.  A servicable plunger can be made by taking the smaller bathroom plungers (new and clean, of course) drilling 4-6  quarter-inch holes in the top and plunging up and down on the clothes in a large tub.  Move the clothes about periodically so they can all have a turn.  The only use of a rock that is actually beneficial was shown to me by an old Korean gentleman who owned a motel I worked at.  Nasty stains of a questionable nature were first soaked in stain removers, then spread out on a rock and the edge of a credit card used to gently scrape away at the stain.  Our fingers didn’t touch it, and the stain usually left.  For this purpose, a washing rock may be very effective, and there is still a use for all those old credit cards and driver’s licenses that will no longer have a purpose.

With laundry, hot water brings a sterilizing power.  Underwear, sheets, babies diapers and towels should be sterilized.  Bleach is useful, but if you run out, hot water is one option.  Sunlight is the other.  Sunlight breaks down many proteins and amino acids.  Many mothers used to hang their cloth diapers in the sunlight for an hour or two to sterilize and deodorize them.  Sunlight also fades cloth, though, so I wouldn’t keep your regular clothing out for any longer than necessary.


Let’s talk mending now.  For some folks, this sounds like too much work, but if you can catch things while they’re small, it’s not so bad.  And, let’s face it—after stuff happens, you’ll have time to mend things, especially during the winter months and when it’s storming or night falls at 4:30.

Some folks think hemming a pair of pants is hard work, and it can be if you don’t have a lot of hand strength to pull a needle through heavy material.  This is why I recommend a pair of needle-nosed pliers in the sewing kit, along with a small piece of 1×4 wood.  The butt of the needle can be pressed against the wood to force it up through the material, and the pliers pull it the rest of the way through.  Strong button thread or quilting thread is what I like to use on pants.

A good way to tell the proper length of a pant is to find where it touches the floor when the pants are worn with the top of them at the person’s waist (actual waist, guys, not the fantasy waist that lets your unders show.)  This is where they should be trimmed off.  The material you cut off can be saved to use for patches if you need them later on.

Turn the leg up half an inch, and then again and pin in place.  Use a double thread in your needle, and tie a knot in the end.  I find it easier to start with the knot near the seam.  Sew from the inside of the pant leg.  Catch a few threads of the cloth of the pant, then the edge of the folded-over part, then back to the cloth, etc., back and forth about 3/8ths inch apart until you get all the way around.  Tie a knot in whatever way you can to end it and secure it and it is done.

Hemming shirts is done the same way, but you can use finer thread and a slimmer needle.  To find the proper length of a long sleeve, extend your arm out before you.  Mark the spot where your wrist bone is.  That is where you will fold it under, so you must trim it below that point by about an inch.  This doesn’t work on cuffed shirts.  It is useful for suit coats and other coats that have a plain edge on them, though.

If the needle and thread seem to be too much to deal with, there are some very usable seam glues and hemming glues to be found in most sewing stores.  It acts like a super glue, almost, but is for clothing.  Actual superglue is caustic to the fibers.  Elmer’s won’t stay in.  Haven’t tried Gorilla glue, but it isn’t flexible after it dries.


Mending holes is another thing that can seem frustrating.  A friend of mine announced to me that she intended to just have a large selection of iron-on patches available to make it easy.  I asked her where she was going to plug her iron in for power.  She just stared at me.  It hadn’t occurred to her that the iron wouldn’t work without electricity.  This is why darning them closed when they are small is preferable.

Darning and patching should be done with the clothing clean, unless you are afraid the hole will fray open too badly during the washing process.  Sometimes a running stay-stitch around the edges of the hole will prevent further fraying.  Patches should be of a similar material, similar in age to the item being patched, as weaker material may not hold, and heavier material may pucker.  Also, newer material hasn’t been shrunk in the laundry, so when the item is washed again, it may pull and pucker at the stitches.

There are darning threads available on the market, and several colors may be found.  These are a cotton blend, non-mercerized (not smoothed) and come in four strands.  Generally, work is done with all four strands and a heavier needle, though it can be separated into 2 and 2 strands to use for lighter material.  In the absence of darning thread, several strands of regular thread will do.  In a make-do situation such as the world may find itself in, any thread/yarn/string will do.

My grandmother always sewed around the outside edge of the hole in a running stitch before darning.  If this is a sock, hat, glove, etc, and you don’t have an old fashioned darning ball, something hard and slightly rounded should be placed inside for you arrange the hole upon as you darn it.  Lightbulbs, cue balls, even a wooden cooking spoon will work (the handle will work for the fingers of a glove, too).  The reason for using this is that it will help the darned area lay flat.  If this is a sock, you will understand how important it is to be walking on a flat spot!  All stitching is done from the outside.

I usually don’t knot the end of my darning thread, but after the first few passes of the thread over the hole, I tie one in it.  The work lays flatter that way.


Starting on one side of the hole, a quarter inch from the edge, put your needle in underneath and bring it up.

Take the thread across the hole to the opposite side, and from underneath, a quarter-inch from the edge, bring your thread up on that side.  Do not pull tight.  Leave this thread as long as it needs to be to cover the hole.

Return to the first side and repeat, each time, bringing the thread up from underneath near to the last stitch on that side until your threads go across the entire hole.

Turn your work a quarter turn and begin to weave the thread under, over, under, over each set of four strands until you get to the other side, again, bringing your needle up from underneath to the top.

Criss-cross your work until the hole is covered by the newly woven patch.  Anchor your thread and breath a sigh of relief.  You have just darned a hole!


There are limits to how much a darned hole can cover.  After a certain point, a patch must be used.  As with darning, the hole must be laid flat.  Sometimes I have used a hard-cover book, a board or even a plastic pencil case underneath.

Trim the hole of any long threads or frayed areas.  Measure the width and length of the hole and add about an inch all the way around.  Part of this will be turned under to keep the patch itself from fraying, and part is to overlap the edges of the hole so there is sturdy material for catching the thread.  Be sure to measure past where the material may be too thin to take a stitch.

People like to do patches in different ways.  Some people like to place them inside, so as much of the original material shows on the outside as possible.  This is probably the best way to do it for nicer clothing, as you can trim and turn the edge of the frayed material so that it looks nice but is still secured to the patch from both sides.

For work clothes, however, it is better to have the patch on the outside.  First of all, it’s easier to tack down.  Second, it protects what’s left of the original material from further wear and tear from outside, and keeps it from being caught on boards, brambles, equipment, etc.

Once the patch is turned under at the edges and pinned in place, use a strong needle and either heavy button thread or two strands of sewing thread to tack the patch down.  Stitches should be no farther than a quarter-inch apart, and for finer material, a little closer is good.  Remember, your stitching will have to take on part of the work load of this material, so you want it to be strong and even.


Even if you’ve never sewn before, it isn’t a difficult skill.  Many people state “I have no patience for it.” but if you need to do it, here are a few ideas to remember.

1)  Never be afraid to make mistakes.  Mistakes in sewing do happen.  I have caught other parts of the garment in hemming, or sewing on a button myself.  The great thing is, most mistakes can be undone and things turn out fine.  Don’t let this possibility make you nervous about sewing.

2)  Take your time.  Unless you need something patched in a hurry, let yourself take the time you need to do the deed.  If you must hurry, and find yourself taking bigger stitches, come back later and reinforce those stitches with better ones.

3)  If it’s getting on your nerves, walk away, do something else, and come back to it.  Even if all you can make yourself do is sit down to do an inch at a time, it will still be done.


Clothing maintenance and mending is a never-ending task.  It may be hard to get in the swing of it now, especially when we can simply replace something torn or faded, but it is a necessary habit for when the SHTF.  It will be important to keep our clothing usable for as long as necessary, until we can discover ways to replace that clothing.

For those of us who already know how to sew garments, I would challenge you to put together a “go-kit” just for practicing this craft.  For the rest, a simple sewing kit in your BOB should keep you clothed until you can get somewhere.  Until then, keep your clothes in as good a repair as you can.  It will safe you money (for more preps!) in the short run, and may save embarrassment in the long run.

Prizes For This Round Include: (Ends July 29, 2016)

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.

Shtf Problem Solving

This is an entry in our Non-Fiction Writing contest – by Brian F

The last few weekends I have had at least one day to myself, along with Wednesday’s when my shop is closed. In early spring, we suffered a lightning storm late on a Friday night so I was without the net for the weekend. I wondered about living at least one day a week as if the country had suffered an event of some sort. After thinking it over for a few days I decided to run with the scenario of economic collapse and a mass corona burst/ eruption. I basically like the rest of my area would have no grid power, and therefore would have to problem solve to live reasonably well.

I have been an active member of my neighborhood watch group for well over a year, so I know most all the folks in my rural community.

The first thing I can allow is the stores will all be closed, I don’t think looking would be much of a problem here in rural southeast Missouri. I believe the few that would try would most likely have a quick end.

Having already repaired and serviced a number of tillers and cultivators some of my garden stops are ready for planting. I packed as much as I could in the various small garden beds. The first one had radishes, kale, spinach, and cos romaine lettuce planted in the rows with English peas, and corn. The corners had hills of zucchini. The reasoning here is the first four plants would sprout and grow quickly and be harvested way before the peas got to an appreciable size. The peas would provide token nitrogen to the corn. Any excess could be fed to my rabbits, pigs, and chickens to extend the food I have on hand for them. Other beds were intensively planted with a large variety of vegetables and grains.

Not planning on using my own tiller and mower, I decided that to plant more beds I would cut the grass close to the ground with a medium size knife. One 16 ft square section would give my rabbits more than enough food for a couple of days. The sod being full of grubs and other parasites I shoveled out and gave to my pigs. They really seem to enjoy rooting and eating the root balls. And this eliminated many of the pest. Next was to use the pick and maddock to break up the ground and then mix in about 20 gallons of rabbit litter in new bed.

Then planting the garden bed. Spacing out the time to get the most of the grass and sod as food it took two days from start to finish, total time, however, was only about 6 hours. So for the first few weeks, I did one new garden bed per week. I have a few working antiques here, a push mower from the 70’s that has points ignition, and it has a bagger, so I used it to mow close around the house to keep pest such as bugs and mice from venturing too close.
Also, many of the neighbors have older tractors, trucks, and cars that would be mostly immune to a MCE, although nowhere to really go.

A long time ago I discovered that a bushel of grass clippings would provide quite a bit of heat. I got some of my more tender seedlings out early with clippings carefully placed near them and then covered them at night with old sheets. It worked very well. Extra clippings went to the pig and chickens for bedding and food.

Also, I inventoried my fridge and freezer at the beginning, I used the contents of them over the following week, to have minimal loss. Also, I have rain barrels set up around the house and shop so I would a good supply of water for myself. I also calculated how much gasoline was in each vehicle, and that is the amount I would work with along with what is in the shop and equipment that was in for repairs.
Cooking was done with my cast iron collection, I have a masonry updraft firepit which is only a rocket stove made from rocks and clay from my property. I have a large amount of small burnable wood, enough that I could go for weeks. Also, I have a couple of charcoal grills.

For entertainment I read, I have a rather large collection of books, and I carve quite a bit of wood items for personal use and trade. I am currently converting an old pair of craftsman lathes to treadle power or bicycle power. One is for wood and the other is for metal.

I have a number of live traps, commercial and homemade around the garden, I consistently catch small animals that would be good for food. Rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons. The occasional possum and armadillo make it into the traps. They are dispensed with at the current time.

Prizes For This Round (Ends July 29, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.

Unaddressed Prepper Peril: Criminal Street Beavers (Just for fun)

By Penrod

TEOTWAWKI Alert: Real Headline of the Week: “A beaver reportedly took a man hostage in Latvia”


“a man named Sergei was walking through the city streets late at night when a beaver ran out of the shadows and sunk its teeth into the man’s leg. Sergei…got pinned by the beaver, which would bite him every time he tried to get back up.

Sergei managed to get ahold of his phone and called rescue services — who promptly hung up on him because “I am being held hostage by a beaver right now” definitely sounds like a bad prank call.

So Sergei then called his friend, who…was persuaded to come to the rescue. Only…the friend was then pulled over for speeding on the way to save Sergei.”

This would make an excellent metaphor for something, I’m just not sure what. Clearly TEOTWAWKI-related, though.

Don your tinfoil thinking cap and read the whole sordid story here.

Hmmmm…unregistered urban assault beavers with high capacity incisors….protected by corrupt politicians…did the alleged ‘victim’ actually provoke the altercation by flashing a wooden leg? Kudos, though to the apparently unarmed Latvian gentleman: just how cool a head does it take to make not one, but TWO phone calls while being held captive by a criminal street beaver?

Questions all preppers need ponder:

Will the ultra-right wing National Rodent Association lobby for uninfringed possession of Assault Beavers?

And what about the radical National Arborist Association? Will they lobby for subsidies for alder thickets?

Will Russian troops intervene “to prevent violence to ethnic Russian rodents”? Will we see the rise of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Latvian Bark Biters? Will they ally with the notorious Beaverist group al Poplar, only to be outdone in ferocity by the purist splinter group Incisor State In Latvia (ISIL), destroying historic dams and enslaving innocent young muskrats?

Will ISIL radicals encourage disaffected Rodent-Americans to gnaw historic trees? Will ISIL leaders cry “G*d DAM America!”?

Will the true Peril of TEOTWAWKI be, not cannibal tattooed Zombies fleeing the cities on aging motorcycles, but roving bands of unprepared Criminal Street Beavers waddling across the countryside en masse, eating every orchard and consuming preppers’ log cabins?

Will they leave nothing in their wake but wood chips and trout ponds? What territorial calamities will ensue as they encroach on the turf of the methamphetamine-dealing Rural Porcupine Alliance? With which side will the Mexican cocaine dealing Armadillo Cartel ally? Or will the Dillos simply lay low in their underground tunnels and bunkers until the battles wane, only to emerge unscathed and mop up the remnants? Will anyone be safe? Will any survive?

Perhaps we can take heart: Can you imagine Criminal Assault Beavers waddling free in Pocatello? Any 14 year old girl would pull her Personal Protection Device out of her clutch and put a couple .44 Magnum warning shots between his beady eyes, even as our President calls for increased Rodent Immigration Policies and the building of dams across the country. President Balsam “The Chew Gang” Orodent, in a televised speech, would proclaim “The sound of toppling alders is the most beautiful music in the world.”

Could this be our dark future? Are you prepared with deadfalls, chainmail tree wraps, and fly rods?

Or will some future prepper come across your moldering remains, and declaim “Alas, poor Bc! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite repurpose, of most excellent re-use; he hath borne bacon to me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that have eaten bacon I know not how oft. Where be your spiked gates now? Your solar panels? Your war hammers? Your flashes of Swedish firesteel, that were wont to set the porch on fire?”

Preppers, ponder well: Is the Beaverist Menace yet another harbinger of the collapse of Western Civilization? Are you prepared?