Being Elderly and Living Alone Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be A Good Prepper!

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry; “Being Elderly and Living A lone Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be A Good Prepper! ” was written Teri H

As a woman in her middle sixties, I’ve always been frugal. We baby boomers were raised to be frugal by parents who were born and raised during the depression era. Our mothers taught us early how to cook with what we had, usually fresh from the farm. If we didn’t live on a farm, we had a relative who owned one and we visited them often, learning the ways of that kind of life style.

We were taught how to can the food we raised and we were taught how to make butter, milk cows, ring a chicken’s neck and prepare it for eating or freezing. We were taught how to plant gardens, how to control insects and what to eat for any illness that came our way.

Our mothers also taught us to sew and mend our clothing. They also taught us the value of wearing things until they couldn’t be mended anymore. Even then, we used them for rags for cleaning one thing or another or cut them up to make warm quilts. We were taught to reuse and repurpose just about everything we had.

As each new day brings another threat to our survival, I have begun to accept the possibility that we who are currently in our sixties could possibly live another twenty or twenty five years. Some of us will live even longer. With the threat of some kind of disaster taking place in our lifetime or in the future, we, as older adults can utilize what our mothers taught us all those years ago. It got me thinking about how much we really do know about survival.

Living within the city limits of a good sized city, I started thinking about what I could do to fortify my home. I started rethinking the value of having a backyard garden, even in these times of drought. I started thinking about food storage, safety, protection, rain collection and other varied survival techniques and I suddenly realized, I was already a prepper. I guess I really have been all of my life.

I started reading up on prepping and realized it was something we were taught to do as kids a long time ago.

With this in mind, I started looking around my house, the garage, and the back yard, looking for things I could reuse and repurpose within the new parameters of being an elderly woman living alone in my town.

The first thing I did was started buying a few extra things each time I went to the grocery store. An extra bag of beans, an extra bag of sugar and flour, an extra couple of cans of Vienna Sausage here and there, as well as extra cans of vegetables, especially when they are on sale and extra bottles of spices. I even learned to like Spam.

I started reusing my juice bottles to fill with water for storage. If I don’t drink it, I can wash with it or at least flush the toilet when I need to. I started saving the plastic bags to keep for liners for my Porta-potty if I need to use it instead of the toilet.

I had a friend who gave me a two hundred twenty five gallon storage tank to collect rain water in. The rain drains into my gutters which I reworked to run into the storage tank. I use that water for my garden now.

I had another one brought in for the front yard, catching the water that drains on that side of the house.

I gathered up excess, unused lumber to make inside shutters for all of my windows. Even though I had new double paned windows installed for energy conservation, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have heavy duty shutters installed on the inside of my home for my security – just in case. I made them myself in the comfort of my garage and installed them by myself. They are made of two by four pieces of lumber and hung with heavy duty hinges much like the old inside shutters that hung inside homesteaders shelters with crosses in the middle for gun ports. I keep them open during the day for sunlight and close them at night for safety.

I brought cinder blocks inside from the back yard and laid two by twelve pieces of lumber on them to make study shelves for my food storage. It reminded me of being a teenager, building shelves for my cool stereo system in my first apartment. The shelves are sturdy and hold a lot of canned goods.

I made sure the Walther PPK my husband had when he was alive was clean and in good working condition and I made sure I knew how to use it. I also learned how to clean my husband’s twelve gauge shotgun. I knew I could use it and knew without a doubt, if I had to, I would use it.

I installed a set of heavy duty supports made from angle iron on each side of the door, both front door and back door. The supports hold a two by six piece of lumber that keeps each door barred closed. And of course each steel door has a dead bolt lock. I would venture to guess it will take quite a lot for someone to break in.

I got all of my husband’s old camping gear down from storage in the garage and made sure I knew how to use or operate each item. The camp stove, lanterns, fishing equipment, and other paraphernalia. I even had his old rusted machete cleaned and sharpened along with his axe and other tools.

I took a little bit of the money he left me and turned it into small bills and coins that I keep in a fireproof lock box. I don’t use the money for anything but I know it’s there in the event I can’t get to the bank if I need to.

With each thing I do to secure my safety and each step I take as a new found Prepper, even though I’m an old woman, I have to smile a little because I realize, I’m not just a scared little old woman who lives alone. I know I’m taking care of myself now, and will be able to do so in the event of an emergency. I’m full of piss and vinegar and will be able to survive for quite some time if need be. My daughter knows what I’ve done and how I believe. She actually feels better knowing I can take care of myself.

The point is – I used to sit and fret over what I would do when the time comes for me to have to do something. All I could think about is, “I’m alone and I’m scared.” I took that fear and reworked it, remembering the things my mother taught me and I put what I knew to good use.

Now, not only am I prepared for what might come my way, I’m not alone anymore and I’m for sure, not scared. I have made the home my husband built for me a real fortress. I am proud to say I am a real life prepper and I hope anybody who is elderly and lives alone and who reads this realizes the knowledge they already possess. I hope they too can put what their mother’s taught them to good use.

Elderly people who live alone don’t have to be afraid. There are things we can do to make our homes safe – to make us safe. There are things we can do, even as little old women who live alone, that will give us half a chance to live those extra twenty or twenty five years.

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 and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of

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


  1. Thomas The Tinker says:

    Madame: I would like to see you on Nat. Geo some day. ‘Stuff’ is nice to have. I like your attitude more.

  2. Nebraska Woman says:

    Great article!!
    Jackie Clay has a new book out about simplifying life on the homestead. A lot of tips there.
    The line that struck me was “I took that fear and reworked it…” That is a mantra I have lived all my life. Fear keeps us in its web, but action frees us.

    • It’s amazing the amount of fear a person’s mind can create. It was too easy for me to sit and fret over all of the fears I had. I realized I had to ‘get busy’ and TCB (take care of business) because I knew if I didn’t, I would easily sit and just waste away. I knew I couldn’t do that, so I got up and re-entered the world of the living. lol

      • patientmomma says:

        TeriLee, you are an awesome lady! We should be neighbors – we could kick a$$ as a team!!

      • mountaingypsy says:

        Teri, I am so impressed, you are a tough lady, and not old by any means. Your story is so inspiring. Common sense, ingenuity, and goals sure make a difference in prepping and feeling safer. As someone said, we need to team up with you! Perhaps you actually can get a small group together, women are stronger than they think or have been led to believe these days. Fears work for us or against. My parents also taught me the depression ways of canning etc. Stay safe.

        • Thanks MountainGypsy. That’s what I want – is to stay safe. I realize through all of these wonderful responses that I’m by no means old. But sometimes we feel a lot older than we are. I feel much better about things now that I’m doing something instead of being so afraid.
          Thanks again.

          • mountaingypsy says:

            Teri, Just a few other ideas to pass on to everyone: Get some boards like 1×4’s and hammer nails thru, so they stick out the other side, cut to fit to lay in a window sill, or can be laid under a window, or gate, that a trespasser can step on. Get barb wire and put under windows or fence tops, or plant any thorny bushes or cactus, under windows or vulnerable areas. Blackberry, Osage orange, roses, pyracantha, etc. I guess this is not new, but helpful I hope. The barb wire probably is not allowed in HOA neighborhoods, but can be used later, unless used inconspicuously…..You can also put screws or strong nails where the window slides, so it can be opened, just so far. The shutters sound great, by the way.

  3. I really enjoyed this article and would love to see photos of those inside shutters. You sound amazing.

    • I don’t have means to take a picture of them YET. But it’s on my list of things to do – get me a good digital camera.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I’d love to see the shutters. I’ve always loved the look of them, especially rustic ones, and have always wanted some for my windows. Don’t know why I never thought of making them, considering I have lots of wood and hardware on hand.

      • I would like to see the shutters too. Please let us in on
        your design and building plans-maybe pictures also.

        Most of us could use good security shutters.

        Thank you so much for info.

  4. You have addressed a fear I have,albeit from a different angle. I worry about dying and leaving my kind hearted and slightly naive wife alone to defend herself against a society that she still fails to see the absolute depths of evil and depravity that seemingly normal people can descend to.Ive made it fun to bring her to the range and make certain she can shoot,load and understand the function of each weapon we have. Ive left written instructions for various methods of water purification. I dont expect to die,but Ive take that fear and proactively “turned it around”. Great article and points to ponder!

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      bc, off topic, but check out the Blaze today. There’s an interesting story of a sign someone took down because of the word “bacon.”

      • What a wimpy country we have become. Bacon,of all things to be offended over!

        • mindyinds says:

          BTW, Bc, I gave a copy of your poem to a friend who is a contractor and a poet. He loved it – it was a good birthday present!

    • I’m certainly not someone who would normally give advice about anything. I can relate to your fear though. The best thing my husband could have done was to tell me his fears and why he felt the way he did – Instead he kept everything to himself. If you haven’t done it already, just tell her how you feel. It will also be telling her how much you care.

      • TPSnodgrass says:

        TeriLee, my big 60 birthday is next month, I do not consider myself “elderly”, nor do I consider you to be “elderly”, way to be heads up and pro-active! Excellent article, thanks!

    • BREARBEAR says:

      am sorry B.C!!
      i was trying to add a plus…but this dang i-phone…my cracked phone screen…and my big-assed fingers got in the way!
      …so…me sorry.
      (so please accept this as a plus to your comment)!


      TO: TeriLee…

      Dear Soul…
      i want to add this:
      i JUST… met a woman who seems to be a lot like you…
      …she has lived independantly off grid…self sufficient…
      tough as nails…IS a life long prepper…
      and is one of the very few people whom i know that i can talk to for hours and hours… ABOUT EVERYTHING prepping…
      …and come away feeling so good…and especially overwhelmed by her many years of experience and knowledge,

      it is humbling.
      it makes me feel good to have others who think like me .
      … i … am NOT alone!

      (and either are you DEAR SOUL)!


      She now ever since upon our very first meeting…

      …SHE…has.. me.

      • Sounds awesome BrearBear. thanks for the encouragement. I’m much better now that I’m doing something about my life instead of sitting around being afraid.

  5. Canyonman says:

    Teri H, I pray God’s blessings on you this morning. This needs to be forwarded to everyone on the planet. When I read that you were putting shutters on the inside of the windows, I knew you were serious. When you said you had purchased Vienna sausage and Spam, my wife and I wished you lived near us. And when you said you were cleaning guns and camping gear, well… 🙂

    At the Cabin del Canyon, I would take any number of self-sufficient ladies in their 60s/70s/80s over one rootin’-tootin’ 25-year-old Rambo (who’s just going to get everyone killed) ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

    • Canyonman says:

      (correction)… (who’s just going to get himself killed)

      • Kinda like a song from Kenny R. ~ You got to know when to fold them, know when to hold them,know when to walk away , know when to run. ~

        • I’m talking about a fire fight ,for the that gave me the thumbs down, the fight you win is one you walk away from

    • 1 Man + God=A Majority says:

      At the Cabin del Canyon, I would take any number of self-sufficient ladies in their 60s/70s/80s over one rootin’-tootin’ 25-year-old Rambo (who’s just going to get everyone killed) ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

      YUP! Roger that. We are in our late 60’s and know what “going without” means. You sound a lot like us!

      Glad to see there’s still a “remnant” left!!!

      Love, peace, and blessings,

    • All us old folks have a lot to offer. lol It’s nice to hear people appreciate what we have to say.

    • Curley Bull says:

      A Big 10-4 on that one Canyonman

      • Canyonman says:

        I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’m in the home repair biz. My least favorite client is a 20-something. Invariably glued to some “mobile device”, they think there’s an app for everything. Just unplug the bad thingie (toilet, sink, wall, staircase), bring in the new thingie, and plug it in, then get out. I truly believe that when the poo contacts the blades, there will be millions of people wandering the streets holding up their “mobile devices”, completely baffled as to what to do because there’s no service, and their twizzles and faceplaces aren’t working.

        They will, most likely, be mistaken for zombies.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      Canyonman, Nicely said, about the ‘older ladies’! Experience, common sense, knowing how to do a multitude of tasks/skills from a young girl, is a serious advantage, of some females, over what a young Rambo may offer. I have never admired the weak, helpless female. My mom was my hero. As I wrote earlier, my grandma on my dads side, homesteaded as a single lady with her sister, both still teens, in the late 1800’s! They lived in a sod house, in the middle of nowhere in KS, and they both got their 160 acres! I so wish I knew who hunted, who was the stronger survivalist, how they got along alone, no men folk, until they married much later, so proud of them. I feel that pioneer spirit, from them, and like being able to have many skills, like Teri…..And one lived to be 85 and one 99!!

  6. I tip my hat to you, good job.

  7. Chuck Findlay says:

    Stay away from Nat-Geo and any other prepper show.

    Do a search on the people that have been on Doomsday Preppers and while not all have suffered from it, a few have. And survival is about not letting the masses know what you have and how you plan to defend it.

    • I like the idea of keeping a certain amount of privacy about myself and what I do inside my own home – behind closed doors. It’s a lot like going on vacation. There’s certain people you just don’t dare tell that to. You might come home to an empty house. lol

  8. I’m 81 and agree with you 100%. I have hand guns(damn good shot) and still can, garden and take care of my self. Too many older people believe what they read about them selves in the news. Get some Spunk and live

    • For me, it’s all about living. Not just sitting down and giving up. That’s not for me. No body else is going to take care of me but ME.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      Mary, I want to grow ‘older’ like you and have your spunk! Like you said, too many people have given up or think they are old or feeble. You know the secret to staying active and living. Being a damn good shot, made me smile…

  9. Excellent post!
    Yes, we were taught to take care of a family that it was assumed you would marry and have.
    We learned to cook, sew, iron, clean house, wash clothes and hang them to dry correctly (there is an art to it), can, garden,
    and anything else a good wife needed to be able to do to
    keep her family comfortable and taken care of. It was the profession we aspired to.

    These are all skills we will need if things keep going in the direction they are going now. I also taught my children
    all the above skills, it was what mothers did.
    We need to get back to doing it now so the children will be prepared.
    No, we are not little old women shaking in our boots waiting for dooms day. We are active, prepared, skilled and a force to be reckoned with. So good to know there are some of us out there.
    Thank you for that post.

    • Shaking in my boots is just not my style. I’m a doer. I can’t just sit and wait for the end to come. I have to much living to do.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      Bebe, Wow, so well said! It seems, there are too many people that think this prepping thing is a new fad. But as you stated, this is a normal way of life for women like you and so many here that were raised to do so much. All the skills are just accomplishments that are often a lost art. I rather enjoy the fact that my mom taught me a lot, and was not wimpy. I despise the dumb female type. I hate that so many kids now can do nothing. Without McDonalds or all the tech toys, or if there is an EMP, they are lost. Parents (moms) need to still teach some basic skills. Hats off to all the prep parents/moms that still teach and expect their kids to have just regular living skills to be prepared.

  10. Action overcomes fear. Moving forward always feels good.

  11. Teri H, you’re doin’ great!

  12. Owl Creek Observer says:

    Excellent article that underscores the importance, especially among us “more mature” folks, of doing all we can with all the resources at hand.

  13. Sorry just said too much.

  14. Read your article as I was getting ready to go see the Pacemaker Doc! Excellent!!! My wife and I are in the same age group as you and find many other folks our age are taking the prepping life seriously. I think you are spot on about how we were raised as opposed to todays younger generations. Thanks for the great article.

    • We might be getting old – but we’re not dead yet. I have to send all of the thanks to my mother who taught me well.

  15. What an inspiration. I loved your story. I see people just give up things and say “I’m too old for this or that anymore”. Nonsense, you may have to adapt but you can still get it done. I love “get it done” attitude.

  16. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Another ‘Making Do With What You Have’ – good commonsense prepping and thinking, well done ma’am. I’m thinking your neighbors are lucky to have you nearby, you will be invited to join their clan, if you wish.

  17. Excellent article. We were born and trained during a very special time. I remember the farm and living on next to nothing. Born right into the prepper life. It is our job to pass on what we learned from our parents and grandparents.

  18. country vet says:

    60’s is not, simply mature. I am in the same age group and can outwork 90% of women half my age and probably 50% of the men. We have maturity to think things thru and realize brute strength is not always the best way to solve a problem. You are only as you think you are. Most people think I am 10-15 Years younger than I actually am. Diet and exercise (yeah, I mean hard work) keep us young.

    • We have to stay as young as we can for as long as we can.

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      Country Vet, we had a huge tree come down on our property last year. I did not own a saw, so a neighbor came over to cut it for me. There was tons, yes, tons! of wood to be stacked. Some kids from town came to help. They lasted 20 minutes. So I stacked the rest myself over 5 days, taking time to rest between half hour work stints.
      Kids do not use muscles in work any more. Their wrists and knuckles are in good shape from computers, etc. but the hard work is gone in their minds. They do not even walk to school.

  19. grandma Rosie says:

    Well at 79 I guess I should admit that I am old, but until this heat started getting to me yesterday I did NOT feel it. I also live alone & ENJOY it. I am able to do what I want when I want. My hens should start laying soon & my quail are already.laying. I am in the ountry but unfortunatly in a HOA system, but did get permision to have my hens with the promise of fresh eggs to near neighbors. No one will believe my age either beause my hair isn’t white. My letter (see) isn’t working didn’t just missprint beause! Really enjoyed this artile. Thank you.

    • Where I live has really been hot. I get out early in the mornings with my little dog and my big stick. By mid morning, it’s time to retreat inside where it’s a bit cooler.
      I’m ready for fall weather to begin and get my fall garden started. I’m hoping for a nice one this year.
      We just have to pay attention to what’ going on around us.

  20. Great OUTSTANDING read !!!!

    I am much younger than all of you and my parents grew up knowing how to do all those things although it was just never passed on to me . As a kid growing up in the 90s maybe the world got away from what was important ……

    I have learned many things from all of you !!!!

    • You are so right Larry. The world surely did get away from what is important. At least that’s my opinion too. So much of the technology what was supposed to be good for us has turned out not so good. Again, just my opinion.

  21. Week before last I churned 45 pounds of butter. Yeah, it was overkill but I won’t have to churn for a while yet. It’s a poor man, or woman, who can’t take care of their own. Best not to be educated well beyond your means, as a friend used to say. I’ll take common sense and the ability to DO over formal education (and I’ve got both) any day.
    You keep doing what you’re doing…all of it and being an encouragement to others.

    • I LOVE TO MAKE BUTTER Sandra. And I love to eat it. It’s so different from what is available in the stores. If for nothing else, knowing it was made by your own sweet little hands.
      I’ve been making my own butter for years and when I used to tell people I made it, they couldn’t believe it.
      Thanks Sandra….

      • Every year, county fair time, I demonstrate churning, spinning and the like. People always want to buy the butter but the VA Dept of Ag veto’s that…against the law…so I have to keep it all -lol-. You and I are near in age, I’ve been churning for 50 years or more. My family is Appalachian and we know how to make do and take care of ourselves.

        • I visited your farm (your website) and saw how lovely it is. I also saw you (a picture of you). I learned how to churn butter from my sweet little grandmother – on her back porch. That would have been those 50 years ago.
          When everything – even though it might have seemed hard then, was so much easier than now. At least in the world.
          My family on my dad’s side is from the Appalachian Mountains – in North Georgia. That’s not where I am now unfortunately. They moved to Georgia from South Carolina in the early 1800 s.
          I’ve been trying to capture that way of life ever since I found out where we came from.
          You’re lucky to be where you are.

          • Thanks for visiting the website, TeriLee. As it happens, the farm is for sale so I can move closer to family. Although my family left the Appalachian Mtns, they didn’t leave the lifestyle. Gardens, orchards, bee keepers, spinners, weavers, felters, food from scratch (chicken and dumplings with noodles and blackberry cobbler for supper tonight)…the way we lived then is the way we live now…with mod cons. But, if the power goes off we can still “heat and eat” with wood stoves, etc. I wouldn’t live in an urban area if someone game me Trump Towers!

            • I want to come to your house to eat tonight. Yum Yum.
              I know what you mean about living in the urban area. I wish I didn’t, but I do, so I have to (for now) make the best of it.
              It’s not the Trump Towers but I call it my little Southern Comfort.

        • mountaingypsy says:

          Sandra, Don’t get me started about the gross stupidity of the AG rules these days. I have read so much and personally seen how good fresh, homegrown or homemade food is not allowed! Lemonade stands are a no no in some places. Tons of food is thrown away daily at grocery stores, restaurants, and such rather than donated, as it is against some law. Even food cooked for homeless is outlawed lately! I bet the bake sales we all grew up with or the home cooked church meals will soon not be allowed, since they are not licensed and regulated. Organic food is getting ruined by Monsanto and others. Home made and home grown is pure and not full of nasty chemicals. I dread going to the store, knowing nearly everything is poisoned or nasty…..

          • Amen! I’ve testified before the VA Senate Ag Committee and most of those folks are c.l.u.e.l.e.s.s. Thinking here of one LARGE urban female rep said to me, “If you’re not my constitute, I don’t have to talk to you.” I felt like telling her, “All righty then but when your fat mouth is hungry don’t come crying to a farmer for food.” Does she think the grocery stores MAKE the food??? I wanted to slap her upside her stupid head.

            • dang! small print, bad eyes. That should be “constituent”…of course. sorry.

            • mountaingypsy says:

              Sandra, “Thistle Cove Farm” is a great name! I just saw you wrote it is for sale. You are really making people listen, except for the fat lady! Think of all the good foods that the homeless Vets could have, except, can you believe many places, like FLA are making it against the law to be homeless, how can it be against the law?? I see empty buildings and closed motels, that could at least provide shelter, but off subject. It is so stupid to me that some food is considered ‘old’ but OK to eat, but who at home does not eat leftovers and such days old? I once lived beside a donut shop. Every afternoon when they closed, all the donuts not sold were dumped in the dumpster, not given to the senior citizens place, or some kids day care, or poor, that was an absolute sin! But it is the produce that are graded seconds or not for sale, that are just allowed to rot, that just infuriates me.

              • Stupid laws are written by stupid people and stupid people vote. I think it should be against the law for a man or woman to run for Federal office UNLESS THEY HAVE SERVED IN THE US MILITARY. Yes, I am shouting because I’m sick and tired of the PITA’s in the White House who are totally clueless and are treating OUR house like there’s no hell.
                Let the homeless and hungry camp out on the White House lawn for a while, perhaps that can stir things up. My friend can no longer afford school lunches for her children. Why? Because Mrs. Obama’s new rules/regs re. school food. Frankly, I think it’s healthier to pack a lunch but it galls me folks no longer have the option to purchase because she’s made it expensive.
                A couple of gentlemen come to the farm and kill groundhogs. One man field dresses them, takes them home and cans them to eat during winter. I’m not a fan of groundhog (just shoved two dead ones back into their holes) but I’ve eaten it and will again if I get hungry.

  22. Sisterjudi says:

    Thanks Terri for sharing.I am ashamed to say frugal is not how I was raised.Through reading and studying prepping I have come to value and respect frugal,and all that it stands for. I married at 16 and couldn’t cook sew garden and didn’t want to.I preferred the party life .I turn 73 in a few weeks and have learned in the last 30 years thanks to people like MD Creekmore how to be independent happy secure and helpful to others. I put a shooting range out here and got my 4 neighbors trained and licensed to carry a gun. I just met with my son and we are putting lock shutters inside also.He doesn’t live here but does sometimes work for me.All my kids think I am crazy but I. Et when the poop hits the fan they will run to my happy home.God Bless you Terry And keep on keeping on.

    • I am certainly going to try SisterJudi. You will for sure enjoy the inside shutter. At first I thought they would look tacky, but, there are ways to make them look country cozy. I painted mine to compliment the country decor in my house. I don’t have drapes to get in the way. They look nice (I think) and compliment everything in my home. Plus, they make me feel really safe.

    • BREARBEAR says:


      DEAR SOUL…
      …tis NOT thee whom is crazy.

  23. I’m sort of like that only a little younger. I have roommate(s) and tenants now, which helps keep the house occupied while I am away. The tenants have installed cameras and almost nothing happening outside escapes them, plus they have yappy dogs. I could not ask for better tenants, except for once in a while they do something Melvin-ish that makes me scratch my head. They were very patient during the renovation.

    Those 2×4 shutters sound nice but will not stop centerfire rifle rounds I don’t think. They would stop most home invaders from coming in the window. I would suggest to add sandbags in a cedar chest under the window, and put a blanket on top of the sandbags.

    One thing people with more modern houses might think about is, your walls are just as vulnerable if not more so than your door. Many of those McMansions are nothing more than balloons, the walls could be breached with a Sawz-all.

    • Of course if you are expecting goons with rifles, perhaps the better strategy is just not to be home for them to find you. Mobility beats being under siege any day. But the cedar chest with sandbags gives you cover to shoot thru the window if you need to. Even better would be cover that’s back a bit from the window. Then it’d be harder to see you from the street – but if you have those firing ports maybe you’d have to get right up on the window to see out.

      Maybe firing ports should be low on those shutters so one can sit behind sandbags.

    • I understand what you’re saying Penny Pincher. I hope it never comes to that. If somebody is going to take the time to sawzaw their way in, I hope I have enough sense to be long gone. Plus the fact, somebody is going to have a whole lot of buck shot to take out of their behind.
      I’m not being flippent. I have to say, I’ve thought about that possibility and the fact that bullets can come right through the walls. Let’s just say – I’m thinking…..

    • BREARBEAR says:

      i do agree with P.P.
      make a safe room in house at the very least to START.
      …is just my humble suggestion.
      …and have a plan “B”…
      …a plan “C”… etc.
      be prepared.

  24. Teri H, u’re a wonderful example of an elderly person living alone, who’s well prepared for many things. I’m also a baby boomer but didn’t learn nearly as much from my parents. I wish u were part of my extended family!!

  25. Spinninghands says:

    I just moved to a new place that has NO window coverings. Would really love it if you could post how you made the shutters!!

    • Let me see if I can describe what I did
      I used scrap 2 x 4 lumber measured to fit the windows. I measured the width and height, laying the 2 x 4 side by side to make sure the width was right. I used half for one side and half for the other.
      for each side, as I laid the lumber flat, I then cut a 1 x 4 piece of lumber to secure the 2 x 4 pieces and laid it at the top and the bottom, leaving a few inches at top and bottom. I used screws to secure the 1 x 4 pieces in place. I used a jig saw to cut the notches for the cross sections then applied the hinges.
      It was a real simple design and easy to make.

  26. Great article! Having just turned 60 something yesterday this was a timely reminder of a few things I need to take care of. Next time we shoot I need to learn how to clean the guns. When I was in high school and attempted to take the sewing class it was a disaster and my mother had no skills to teach me. We had to make an apron a blouse and a skirt to pass, I never finished the apron. HOWEVER, I just purchased a sewing machine and my goal this winter is to actually learn how to use it and make that darn apron! I share some of BC’s fears but from the wife perspective, will I be okay if my sweetie goes on home before I do? You have inspired me to enjoy everyday and learn something new! Bless you, I hope you contribute on a regular basis.

    • I know that this is a little late in responding and I hope that you get this. I sew. mainly because I was a giant at 13 and nothing fit a string bean girl that was 5’10”, fortunately I stopped there. Anyway my mother taught me how to sew and bought all the fabric that I wanted as long as I didn’t waste it. I ended up having many clothes that were one of a kind and gained a lot of confidence because of it. Since then I have shown many women how to. First and foremost, Don’t get frustrated. Start simple, and know that you are ahead of many people by just having the desire. One thing that you may try is a sewing class. Many of the fabric & quilt stores give classes that are very reasonably priced. Also check Adult education classes. They have beginning sewing and are thrilled to show people how. The process of sewing may be a pain, like zippers and the like, but the end products give great satisfaction. It is like canning and gardening, something that no one can take away once you conquer it. Good luck and by all means have fun.

  27. Texanadian says:

    “even as little old women who live alone”

    What’s all this talk about old people. Sixties isn’t old. My mother is 94 and still beats me a backgammon. She is frail but sharp as a tack.

    It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.

    Old is a state of mind. Do you quit playing because you got old, or did you get old because you stopped playing?

    OBTW, I turned 60 this year (May) and refuse to accept someone calling me old – including myself.

    • mom of three says:

      I hope at 94 my youngest is 60, I can beat him at something. Good for your mom, I agree 60, is to young to say it’s old. It’s how you take care of yourself 100 percent.

    • I agree. I don’t consider 60s to be elderly. In fact, I remember something on tv news not too long ago, saying “50 is the new 30”. I turned 50 last year, and feel half my age. Never stop playing!

    • mountaingypsy says:

      TX, My sentiments too. I am barely over 60. At 50 when you can join AARP, I thought, good grief, I am not a senior. I hate the term ‘senior citizen’. Old and elderly is perhaps somewhere +85ish, but still a state of mind. My mom, in her 70’s refused to go to the senior citizens meal and game stuff, as it was for old people! She got carded at an airport, when she did not look like a senior. None here that I can tell, are old at all, just smart, funny and terrific teachers….

  28. Texanadian says:

    Great article by the way, except for the “I’m old” stuff. I like the idea of inside shutters.

  29. mom of three says:

    My parent’s were born after the depression, they know how to be frugal. Mom, is 73 years young dad is 76 years young, they both showed the three of us everything you wrote about. Now it’s up to us younger crowd to keep passing on those tradition. I’m 45 years young and have showed my daughter how to can, mend, garden. Hubby going on 50 has showed the oldest boy the basics of electrical, car maintenance, bicycle maintenance, I have a feeling little son who is 10, will absorb more then the big guy, did he is more like his dad.

  30. When I read your article, it took me back to my great grandma’s hey day in the late 1800’s, asorbing Goodhouskeeping books of those times, reading Sloan’s books of pioneer days, and I am glad you kept those values. You would be a great teacher to those needin survival.

    Today I showed a co-worker a group of blue aster flowers whose roots can be dried, pounded, ground up and brewed as a coffee substitute or added to extend coffee, used during the Civil War when coffee supplies ran short. He never heard of Chickory before.

    It is up to us older folk to teach the old ways. This modern age of frozen entree’s and prepared food from the supermarket will end someday.

  31. thank you for this wonderful article. im soon to be 66 and have no family. i fell in july reinjuring my hip and have been feeling sorry for myself and old. how stupid. i just got back from shopping today and comparing prices on some preps i want to buy next month. your article made me snap back to normal and stop the pity party. i cant thank you enough.

    I have been a hurricane prepper all my life. my parents and grands taught me about this very well. moving from a house to a small apartment in the city a few years ago hasn’t stopped me from doing what I have to. wish I could have a garden but that’s just not possible right now. I grew up with guns both with my dad and my husband so I am ready to defend myself and my close neighbors if and when necessary. i just feel a lot better after reading this and all the great comments.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      Maggi, Glad the article got you back on track, I mean everyone is so helpful here. Sorry you got hurt. I have not had to be an ‘older’ female yet, alone. I will have to keep myself in the correct mind set later. I will have to get advice from all the tough, smart ladies here. I can do most anything I think, the strength, I hope will stay with me. My mom and mom-in-law had to adapt, as most women do. They just were not into the prep mindset so much, and had the retirement to not do without. My mom was definitely not afraid. I wish, all women could have pals like on the ‘golden girls’ show, if they wanted them, for support, to deal with the issues these days, together, and not just for trips and nice clothes! Like prep lady groups, wonder if there are any? There are RV lady groups, that stick together. Maybe I can start one, someday….

      • mountaingypsy, I would love to belong to a group of like- minded women too. when you want to get started, keep me in mind.

    • Maggi, I’m so sorry you fell, but I’m so glad the article helped you. It’s not often we find a place where we can get so much support and encouragement from so many wonderful people.
      Ever now and again, the negative side of things seem to want to devour us. I had to snap out of my own pity party where I guess we all spend time every now and then.
      It’s places like this and people like the ones here who thankfully lift us up – sometimes without really knowing how much they help.
      You should tell us about your hurricane prepping experiences. I’m sure we could learn from it.

  32. Curley Bull says:

    Great article Teri H! Like you, parents and grandparents that lived through the “great depression” and learned to live well with what is at hand raised me. My mother and grandmother taught me to sew, cook, wash, fold, etc. On my own and single, it paid off big time. Most boys weren’t taught those things.

    Oh, and a word about the terms “elderly” and “old”. Elderly is when one can no longer care for themselves and old is a matter of feeling. You and I and the others are “Mature”, “Experienced”, and “Wiser”.

    On another subject; have any of you seen the DQ commercial about the “Bacon” burger with one fella sitting with the burger and another fella wearing a apron and frying up bacon (called the “Bacon Lover”)? The next time you see it, look at the fella with the apron real close. Sure looks like our BC a few years ago and would surely fit.

    Be blessed and as my non-friend brother says, “BUY MORE AMMO”!

    • Curley Bull says:

      Teri H, I mentioned it was a great article, but I forgot to say thank you. I too, like a couple of others without realizing it till now, was starting to settle in with both lower cheeks on the “Pity Pot”. I’ve been under the weather for about a month now and not with just one thing. URI, back problems, stomach problems, teeth problems, can’t help but wonder what is next. I’m still shy of the “Big 70” and other than FAT (just a little), in pretty fair shape (or was). OK, so I’ll probably end up with “store bought” teeth. I’m about over the URI and with the exercises I’m doing my back is getting a little better. A young friend (45) that teaches with my wife has started bringing me fresh goat’s milk every couple of days and my stomach is beginning to feel a little better.

      After reading this and thinking on it a while, I realized it was time to do what I used to do; get up, dust off and continue the fight! I’m thus far undefeated because I’ve never given up, soo, why start now?

      Again, thank you and bless you. May you bathe in the Living Waters of God’s Grace until you stand before Him.

      • Hey Curly Bull, I know how easy it is to get lost in that pity party. Trust me. I’m the worst when it comes to feeling sorry for my little ole’ self. But like you said, after I thought about it, I decided what the heck. I have a choice to sit here and turn to a big blob or get off my duff and do something. So – I did. I got off my duff. Just doing something, even if it’s wrong – makes you feel better.
        And hey, don’t worry about the teeth. I have dentures and don’t even know they’re there. I eat anything I want to have a great smile. 🙂

  33. Patriot Farmer says:

    For those of us who have had more birthdays than we are going to have, we are definitely not out of the fight yet. Great article.

  34. Great article…Terri H. I too am over 60, widow, with a very small family.
    Never under estimate a persons ability due to their age, or physical condition. There is something for everyone to do. My 89 year
    old mother in law, 60% blind, hard of hearing which doesn’t benefit from hearing aids, is able to cook, do laundry and teach others
    thru sharing her lifes experiences.

    We are never old….just seasoned !

    Anxious to see the pics of the window shutters. Measuring windows today, watching for lumber sales. Great idea!
    Thanks for sharing

    • Don’t have a cell phone to take pictures. Land line. No camera. I’m digitally challenged. lol
      I’m not throwing the towel in yet. I have too many years left.

  35. If anyone’s home owners association give them shit about the wood shutters just cover them with fabric. They are then considered a window treatment and are exempt (at least in my area) from some of the really stupid rules some places have about what can be put up.

    • I thought I would do that with whatever window treatments I give the live-in van I’ll be buying. Put quilted mylar, but put white fabric over it, so it doesn’t look like mylar. A van full of mylared windows screams “crack van” or “meth van” and that is the wrong sort of attention. I want NO attention paid to my van, so I can camp in it on any street and not be molested.

  36. Canyonman says:

    I’m not sure this has been mentioned on this thread, or anywhere else on the site, but it’s certainly known to some – as evidenced by TeriLee’s handiwork. We’re talking about interior shutters.

    Exterior shutters may keep your window glass from breaking in high winds. But in times of riots and looting, (A) you may not want to be standing on a ladder outside trying to cover your windows, and (B) if a rock/brick/bullet hits the exterior shutter or window cover, and penetrates or breaks the glass – where’s that glass gonna go?

    So it’s a very wise idea to have interior covers. Even if they’re not bulletproof, they’ll catch the glass, and also keep some Ransacking Looter or Kidnapping Slaver or Rambing Transvestite (see ‘Conflicted’) from clambering freely into your abode.

    Yes, it’s true – if your house ain’t brick or stone, bullets can come through the walls very easily. But at least your windows will be covered.

    It is a wise idea to have interior window covers prepared. If you can’t design/fit/install interior shutters, consider stacking cut 4x4s if your sill is deep enough. A nice thick piece of plywood cut slightly larger than the window opening can be hammered/wedged into place very quickly, and will stop rocks and glass.

    This is definitely one of those ‘anything is better than nothing’ issues.

    As my non-friend friend Curly Bull has quoted me as saying, “Buy more ammo”. 🙂

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