What did you do to prep this week?

Before we start today, I would like to think Keith B, David P, James F and Andrew L for their generous donations this week. You all are the best – makes me proud to know that the content here has help you enough in your preps to warrant a donation. Thank you again…

I would also like to thank everyone for your suggestions on designing a new header for the blog – a couple of folks have sent in a few sample header designs but the designs did not compliment the current color or layout of the blog but crashed with it. Thank you for your help… we’ll get it right… eventually…

Okay, now let me see, what did I do to prep this week ?:-)

Spent probably 30 hours working on the layout of this blog – but that would be more of a prep to help you, than a prep for myself…

Put together a whole new total body work-out with my Weider Total Body Works 5000 Gym that I’ll be starting tomorrow. The Body Works 5000 works the same way as the Total Gym XLS Trainer but costs several hundred dollars less.

Bought paint to paint my chicken coop, come spring I’ll be adding ten more hens to the flock. I all have an order ready for several dwarf fruit trees, also looking into planting several dwarf nut trees. I like the dwarf tree because they’re fast growing (we don’t have time to wait 15 years for a tree to start producing) and they are easy to work with, I suggest that you plant some of these dwarf trees around your house and or retreat – here is a great article from the Mother Earth News (1986 issue) on how to do it.

Folks if you have an extra square foot of soil then I suggest that you plant something in it come spring. Plant a vegetables, plant herbs, plant dwarf trees, always plant something that you can eat or heal yourself with… Plant, plant, and plant some more. Hard times are here folks, money is tight and it’s going to get a lot worse for most of us, and if you’re going to eat well you’ll need to grow your own.

Here is a great book that will help you do that “The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!” you don’t have to own a full-sized farm or ranch to become self-reliant… Stock up, grow your own food and arm yourselves.

What did you do to prep this week? Let us know in the comments below… Let’s go!

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  1. my preps this week were more dehydrating (thanks BamaBecca & Judy for the hints). I’m amazed how easy it was to do the veggies I found on sale. Getting anxious for spring! 70* tomorrow!!

  2. Just a few cans of soup for rotation. Too busy with workplace, performance appraisals, and now the huge “narrative” and “answers” for my psych eval for firearm permit. Way too much to do all at one time.

  3. Went to the fabric store and bought thread, hand sewing and machine needles. The machine needles are the size for both the electric machine and the old treddle machine so can use either one. As long as there is electricity would prefer the electric–much less work–but I’ve used the treddle before and could use it again if necessary. I have enough thread in reserve now to take care of most situations as well as the sewing and mending in the foreseeable future.
    Went to Sam’s and bought toilet paper, toothpaste, machine detergent, liquid hand soap, lots of canned goods, and nuts.
    A neighbor gave us bags of clean, weed-free leaves that will go into our compost. He doesn’t have any desire to compost but saves us his leaves. He actually PULLS the weeds so no herbicide residue on anything. He gets several batches of greens and tomatoes in return when the garden gets going.
    We’re still eating the butternut squash and sweet potatoes from the fall garden as well as what we froze and dried from the earlier garden. Had to take out the kale and have been putting it into sautes with some of the frozen vegies. It had been right in the middle of the area that needed to be prepared for the Irish potatoes and onions. We still have Swiss chard and turnips in the garden that we pick when we need them. It’s time to start my spring lettuce as it bolts about the end of May so need to have it while it’s making a good crop. Had great lettuce in the fall garden.

  4. M. D. , you are right on target with the need to plant! I had bought the book you recommended back in October, and yes it is a teriffic guidebook for getting the most out of a small area.
    Lousy weather here this past week, so did not get a lot accomplished. Bought a new, more comfortable sling for my Hi-Point .45 ACP Carbine. Bought some gun cleaning, and maintenance supplies.
    Went to a live animal auction I found about an hour away. When I expand my flock in the Spring, I’ll definitely be going there to get more birds. They were running about 6.50 a bird for new layers. They had a billy goat, that I thought went on the high side at 155.00. All the other goats were pygmies, which aren’t good for anything but pets IMHO.
    So that was it for me. Keep your rifle close, and your powder dry Pack!!!

  5. Received my water filter systems from Texas Baptist Men’s Assoc….could not afford Berkey right now, but hope this will work as well. The history with these units has been excellent for use in mission countries….if America or my area is so bad that I need to filter water…could not be any worse than in these other countries.
    Also received my 5 gal. water jugs from Emergency Ess….were the best price I could find for 5 gal containers…7.95…heavy/sturdy plastic.
    My big purchase was 2 275 gal. water totes…150 each delivered in SC. Rather than buy and store 5 barrels…these seem to make more sense…. from rainydayb.com
    My main concern now….meds….I need an affordable place to buy Plavix…any suggestions?

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Many herbs have blood thinning ability.amino acids and natural compounds can effectively replace blood thinners, coumadin specifically. If your heart repair is less than 6 months, no one will want you to come off this medication. You should also know there is no antidote for it. If you start bleeding anywhere, you can bleed until you have no more blood.This happened to one of my neighbors, from an ulcer.
      My mom uses a natural combination to replace coumadin. Blood tests confirm her blood is @ rx’d bleeding time. The combination she uses is: ALA,/L-Carnatine 200mg/400mg one x a day, CoQ10 200mg day, Garlic capsule 1000mg 2 x a day, Cod liver oil, 1 1nd 1/2 TBsp, 2x a day, with Vitamin E-400 mg twice a day.Daily stuff she takes in am, 2x a day doses she takes about 12 hours apart.Cod liver oil also comes in capsules, takes about 6-8 a day to get results with capsules..but it is easier to take.
      I got this off a site about a year ago when Mom had an active gastric bleed. Her Docs do not want her off the coumadin even with an active bleed.Refused to take her off, so she took self off, She said they were “trying to kill this rat”.( her intestines went into shut down, couldn’t eat for about 10 days, had to go to hospital for IV after five days of not being able to keep water down.)
      .Her heart function with pacemaker has rebounded, beats going from 4 per min to 62 ,..Her heart Dr just has no idea why her heart function has re-bounded so.(.Coumadin- they don’t call it rat poison for nothing!) still needs pacemaker, due to irregular beat, but not so dependent on it she wouldn’t get to the Dr. if it suddenly stopped.
      You might want to write this down, try it as a substitute for a dose of your meds 2 or times a week, to enable you to build a supply for back-up. r-ALA is generally higher recommended than regular ALA in the mix from china mart.ALA relaxes the blood vessels. If you are taking any cholestrol meds, be sure to take the Co Q10 anyway..those medications deplete this natural enzyme. Hope this helps…

      • Oh Sweet Tater I am totally sending this to my BF who is on coumadin.

      • I’m a cardiac ICU nurse, and many of my patients are on blood thinners. Please be careful if you choose to try using an herbal blood-thinner. Herbal medicines can be every bit as powerful (and as dangerous) as synthetic medications. They can be less standardized in their effects on a person, as well (since plants harvested at different times of the year, or under different conditions, may have different amounts of active chemical in them).

        Above all, don’t “experiment”! I took care of a patient a month ago who suddenly stopped taking their coumadin. The patient suffered a devastating stroke and went from being fully functional to completely incapacitated (decreased mental capacity/memory, unable to speak, walk, or perform self-care…forever). Another patient I had (similar situation) ended up dying.

        Blood-thinners are powerful medications, and if you don’t need them that’s great. But if you DO need them, then respect the dangers that go along with “experimentation”. Like a firearm, blood-thinners can be both life-saving and deadly. Switching to an herbal version without expert guidance is like playing with a firearm when you’ve never handled one…it can kill you.

        Don’t go “do it yourself” on this…If you choose to go “natural”, find a healthcare provider who’s open to alternative medicine (they ARE out there). He or she can get you on a natural alternative and can order periodic blood tests to ensure that the natural drug is working effectively.

        Finally, keep a list of ALL herbs and supplements you take. Bring it with you when you go to the doctor’s office, and make sure that your family members know where it is (in case of emergency). Some herbs and supplements don’t “play well” with other medications. In an emergency situation, the list will help healthcare practitioners make sure that you aren’t given drugs that could interact badly.

        • Sw't Tater says:

          greed, Very valid points,..
          Each person must take responsibility for their own health, that includes changing our diets and supplements to address our health concerns. Legislation will not make our population healthier, but individual choices..and knowing your own bodily response to various foods will. My mom had an active bleed, 15 yrs.post- extensive gastric surgery which contraindicated blood thinners and any medication that can cause gastric irritation… not just the potential of having a bleed.. her Dr’s decided she didn’t have the info. to choose to come off medication that was making her bleed..
          ( I know personally of two persons who have died as a direct result of plavix.) Once a person is dead, it’s too late to find an alternate product. My mom made the decision she would not be a statistic!
          Both Dr’s who refused to listen stated there was no natural product to thin the blood, …yet they told her not to eat garlic, onion,.which tend to thin the blood.and greens or foods high in vitamin k, that thicken the blood. Inconsistent!
          Somewhere there has to be a happy medium, where the patient has adequate information and makes an informed decision. ..and takes personal responsibility.
          Each person must take individual responsibility for their health, if your medical professional will work with you great, if not you need to find one that will. the above regimine does work for my mom, it is not cheaper than some medications, but it is available without a Rx.
          There may come a time when prescriptions are not available, knowing which herbs, plants, enzymes, supplements have some ability to give benefit, to support our health has the potential to enable us to survive and even thrive with limited medications.
          Knowing how herbs work on our systems now, takes the guesswork out later and we can know what we need to have on hand for emergency care of our individual needs.
          Each person responds differently, to even different medications, because each person’s system is different. Example- benadryl is commonly given for allergic reactions, and insomnia, but some people respond to it with hyper activity…
          A list of All over the counter products and herbals you use , with the doses and frequency you take,should be given to those who care for you, along with the reason you decided to take it. If you have a side effect from a medication or other product., that side effect should also be documented… especially if the medication must be changed.

    • Might try this company, alldaychemist, with a www and a com at the end. They have Plavix 75mg tablets.

  6. One more thing…..are there any dwarf or smaller….fast growing pecan trees?

    • Since even a regular pecan tree has very brittle branches, I can’t recommend trying to find anything fast growing. Most pecan trees will start bearing after 3-4 years if fed and watered for those years. We have some that are 30 years old that need to be cut down because the falling branches (we get a lot of strong wind) can damage the fences and the shed. A neighbor had a near miss with one of his that is the same age hitting him across the shoulder and just missing his head. It was about six inches in diameter and bruised his shoulder badly even though it hit a glancing blow.

  7. Hello Pack!

    Have the book that MD mentioned in the car, read half of it. It’s good but a couple of things don’t apply to this location, such as cold weather. We are in the 70’s today. Doesn’t mean we won’t get hit with another cold snap. Normally winter pops up a couple of times in Jan and Feb.
    Looked over stored things this week. Didn’t do an inventory just looking to make sure nothing is bulging that should not be. Also checked ammo storage to see if there are gaps.
    Took a close look at the old chicken coop. It will get refurbished in the coming weeks.
    Put a couple of onions in containers to regrow. Also put in some garlic that was trying to grow in the kitchen. The onions already have green shoots.

  8. Hi everyone, We bought some more canned goods on our weekly grocery run and put up more bottled water as we almost ran out when the power was out last week. Picked up a box of 38 ammo at the flea market ok price from one of our regular sellers. Also if anyone is in the bristol or abingdon virginia area there is a coin dealer at roys flea market on route 19 just outside of abingdon. He is a stand up guy and almost always has some 90% silver for sale at very good prices and if you become a regular the prices get even better. Just thought I would pass this on as some folks seem to be having a hard time locating silver.

    • ladyhawthorne says:

      My mom’s family is from Abingdon and I have loads of cousins there. Wish I could get there for a visit. Haven’t been in about 10 years.

      • I moved here in 97 from Maryland to get away from the rat race up there. It is beautiful country down here. My wife is native to the area from the Brumley gap area. She may know some of your relatives. we just recently moved to Smyth county to 20ac farm to become as self sustaining as possible.

  9. Rider of Rohan says:

    Prepping this week took a lucky turn. I was able to purchase what I think is pretty much a lifetime supply of lead for $100 and some sweat equity. The General Manager of a newspaper offered me all the lin-o-type she had in the newpaper’s old print shop, which had been in existence since 1905. There is lots of it, and I mean lots.
    In other prepping I received an order of Mountain House food, a fire starter, a Cree flashlight, a shotgun shell holder that fits on the stock, an ammo can, 3 metal gasoline cans, some Sunshine Silver rounds cause I couldn’t get any Eagles, and a little ammo, very little.
    I went ahead and ordered more MH food, ordered some doxicycline, which backordered, and then decided to buy even more fish medicine so ordered it as well.
    I wrote all my congresscritters and urged them to stand tall on the 2nd Amendment, and all said I got your back except for one Senator. His spokeslady crawfished around the issue, so I’m calling him back and will follow up with an e-mail and personal letter. I intend to bug them, but in a nice way.
    Everyone have a great week prepping. Time is short.

  10. Mary, or anyone else who might know, you mentioned that the sewing needles for electric sewing machines can be used in treddle machines. Will any needle for any electric sewing machine fit any model treddle machine? I need to purchase some and didn’t know the first thing about where to get needles for treddle machines. Thanks!

    • Judy, another one says:

      Marti, needles for the 401A and 501A Singer machines will not work in any other machine that I know of. Those Singers are some of the best old electric machines out there but the needles are a specific to those machines. I would go to the local sewing machine repair shop and ask questions, then, buy a package or two of needles for the information. Also, ask if they have belts and bobbins in stock or would order you extras for your treadle. That’s what I did with my treadle.

      • We got a new belt for the treddle not long ago and have several bobbins. I’ve a Sears Roebuck electric machine and feel lucky that the needles for it fit the National treddle. Those Singer machines with the specific needles are the ones that you are always finding at garage sales! The owners get rid of them when they can’t find needles. My sister had a Singer like that–I found needles for her several times but then ran out of luck. She finally gave the machine to Goodwill just to end the frustration.

        • Ozark Flower Lady says:

          I just bought a 25 foot spool of treadle belt from Amazon.com. I just bought a new treadle operating sewing machine and bought the tread componets on ebay. Good to hear others going in this direction.

  11. ozhillbilly says:

    I’ve asked this question before but the Pack has added many new members since then. Keep security in mind but any of you out there from the southwest Missouri area?

    • I am not there yet Oz , but that is my destination when I can finally start looking for my homestead. Just have to sell what I have now and then I will start looking. Just hope I get the chance to get there before SHTF..

    • i live in central mo

  12. IndianaAli says:

    Replaced the usual food stuff in the pantry, no big purchases. Also of good grocery deals with coupons this week, so took advantage as much as the budget will allow. Well it has been a balmy 29 degrees yesterday and transferred a small wood pile up to the house for more convenience, hopefully enough to get us through to the Spring. Had a power outage last week and got out the genny, reminded DH that it never hurts to start that up occasionally, would make an easier go of it when the lights are really out. Good practice though and fortunately power was back in a 3 to 4 hours. New chickens are in full laying mode now, the cost of the feed is out of sight now and only getting worse. Can’t even talk about our electric rates, up, up, up… thanks alot Obummer and EPA regulators. Thinking about adding another day to my work schedule if possible… hate to but may have to…. at least I am thankful for the job… so many can’t say even that these days. Picked up a ham on sale and going to can part of it, have done beef in the past but never ham, but the principal should be the same. Will just keep on keeping on, what else can we do… that’s why we prep. Love this site and all the advice from everyone and MD. Keep prepping everyone… I’m afraid the time is short.

  13. canadagal says:

    Hi all! Yes Georgeislearning I’m picking tomatoes too. I just go into my pantry & pick a jar off the shelf. With a foot & a half of settled snow & -30degrees celsius the pantry & the freezer are the best places to pick any garden goodies in our neck of the woods.

    I have taken The Organic Preppers Jan. Challenge & have not bought any groceries to see if I had any holes in my supply & thankfully I am good. Only the fresh milk ran out & I have powdered & canned milk so I am still good. Cheese is running low but not out & also have powder cheese if need be.

    I have been reading, sorting, rearranging, printing etc instead of buying anything this month as my preps.

    God bless you folks in your resistence movements. In Canada we finally got our long gun registry cancelled. Took a change in govt into its 2nd term when it finally got a majority in parliment to do it though.

    • georgeislearning says:

      Burr but I bet it sure is nice grabbing a nice jar of tomatoes. Sounds like your preps are well in order. Spring is on the way 🙂

  14. Mother Earth says:

    Hi Pack,

    Having some needed work done by dermatologist, basal cell, cyst and still one more basal cell to go. Gives me a chance to get extra antibiotics …about the only good thing about it! Has anyone worked with black salve?

    Renewed Costco membership and bought cereal, crackers, choc chips, sugars, olive oil, butter, chicken stock, cheese and more.

    I’m trying to balance self sufficiency with prepping. I want to make my own and still have stuff stocked. Working makes me lean toward stocking as I don’t have as much time to make my own. Thinking of selling off my old broken gold jewelry to buy a gun, just not sure of the best place to do it. Anyone have experience with this?

  15. Schametti says:

    Late checking in today! Spent the day with my Mom, and the family. She made us her famous meatloaf.. mashed potatoes and corn. Mmm.

    Hi Wolf Pack, My name is Amy, I’m 34 from Indiana, and yes, I am still prepping.. (though, slowing down a little bit, since I seemed to have broke the bank in my rush to prep and prep FAST, lol).

    The things I did to Prep this week:

    1). Bought/Received a Food Saver Compact Vacuum machine, and two jar lid sizes. Didn’t realize I ALSO needed a separate accessory hose, so have ordered that as well, and am now waiting on that. I don’t know how practical it is, but I thought I would make some meals in a jar for the prepper pantry.

    2) FINALLY received my order from Emergency Essentials. (They sure do take their sweet time, don’t they? LOL), but what I got is pretty fabulous. I received:

    * Kitchen Sprouting Kit w/Book, and extra seeds.
    * Complete Emergency Totable Bucket Toilet, lol.
    * 55 gallon water barrel with hose/accessories.
    * 2 Potassium Iodide 14 pill packets.
    * 300 Piece First Aid Kit.
    * 5 Food Grade Buckets/Gamma Seal Lids, and Mylar Bags.
    * 15 Cans of food (Crackers, Beef, Chicken Breast Pieces, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Sausage Crumbles, Bacon Bits, Potato Soup Mix, Onions, 2 Kinds of Shredded Cheese, Potato Dices, Milk, Etc).

    I haven’t had the courage to try and get my rice/pasta into the bags and buckets yet though, lol.. I’m afraid I’ll screw it all up.

    It feels like I did more than that this week, but I guess slow weeks are still good weeks. Everything I add, is more than I had. Right? 🙂 Thanks for being here, and keeping me strong. *hugs* ~ Amy.

    • Rider of Rohan says:

      Wow, you had a great week, Amy. I wish I could have some “slow” weeks like you. lol. And yes, slow and steady wins the race. I’ve seen people burn out by trying to do everything at once. And don’t worry about screwing things up, as there are plenty of youtube videos you can watch that show you exactly how to do it. Good luck, and let us know how you come out.

      • Schametti says:

        Haha Thanks RoR. I THINK it feels like.. so little, and such a ‘slow’ week, because I ordered my EE stuff like.. four weeks ago, and only just now GOT it, so really only bought and got the food saver system this week… but I only list it when I GET it. Since I’m new to this, and wanted a nice solid prepping foundation, I got quite a lot up front, but now I’ll just slow and stead add to the pile, and hopefully I have some time still to make a difference. I feel like I have SO much to buy, and learn, and I don’t know how much time I have to do it in, makes a girl nervous, lol.

        • riverrider says:

          schametti, if you go on ee’s website you can see what is in stock. order only instock items, late in the month, and they’ll ship very quickly. they run a new sale first of every month, so they’re hammered then. if one item in the order is out of stock, they won’t ship anything til it comes in. hope this helps.

          • Schametti says:

            Oooh, thank you, River! It was my first order, and I had no idea of the ins and outs.. so thank you very much for the advice on that. Hopefully I can put that to good use for my next order, when that comes. 🙂 Appreciate it!!

            • Shades of Green says:

              RR is right about going to EE site to see if something is in stock. I have even went so far as to call them to verify a few items and found out that sometimes their site is not in sync with their actual inventory and they did in fact have what I wanted. I do this every time I order from them now so my order will not be held up. I just wait to order anything that is BO.

    • worrisome says:

      Yes Amy, Everything you add is More than you Had! You can’t yet believe how much easier it will get when you have some reason to need it all and it is there, ready and handy. Whether it is an illness/snowstorm/flood/ or something much much worse, having what you need and not having to fight a crowd at a grocery store is a wonderful thing. You are doing well, keep at it…. there is so much info on this site….you can’t help but learn something….

      • Thanks! 😀 Even though, locally, I feel very much alone, since my family insists on making fun of me, while nudging each other.. “At least we know where to go when things get bad, eh” *Nudge Nudge* Well great. We’ll see if I’m feeling charitable enough to open my door!

        I’m super nervous now that my shelves are starting to fill up.. about how and when I rotate and replace.. I don’t want to do it until I have to, but when is that? I mean, just because it says ‘Best Buy’ – That doesn’t mean it’s not still decently edible, right>? I don’t want to waste anything. I need to look into making sure I rotate properly.. but I’m so fearful of doing it wrong..

        • Judy, another one says:

          Most ‘Best By’ or ‘Use By’ dates are cover-your-backside legalese by the manufacturer. Remember the maxim ‘buy what you eat and eat what you buy’ and you will be okay.

          The other is don’t forget the spices and flavorings. I can take a cup of rice and eat any where in the world just by changing the spices up and spices don’t cost that much. Rant on! And don’t throw the the spices out just because they are a year or two old, just use a pinch more. What a waste! Rant off! The best place to store spices is either in the freezer or vacuum packed in wide-mouth 1/2-pint jars. (I have never had much success in vacuum packing regular-mouth jars.)

          • Schametti says:

            Thanks Judy! 🙂 I JUST this week bought a compact food saver system with the jar tops, in two sizes, so hopefully I can learn how to do that. I only have one case (of twelve) jars at the moment, they were a lot more expensive than I thought jars would be, lol.. I have so much to learn.

            Thanks for the info on the best by dates. I know this will be one of the harder aspects for me.. to keep an eye on the dates, and eat stuff that’s on it’s way to ‘expiration’ or whatever. I’m nervous. I’m torn between wanting something serious to happen, (so I can actually use what I’m stashing), and wanting nothing to happen because.. change is scary as hell, lol.

            • Rider of Rohan says:

              I never want anything bad to happen, Amy, but bad things happen all the time. Think about all the people affected by the storm Sandy. Many of them were unprepared and are still waiting on help from FEMA, not that the media is covering their plight like they did the Katrina victims. But Republican president and all that stuff, I’m sure you see the difference, not that I want to bring politics in it.
              Being prepared gives you freedom. Freedom not to have to worry about anything that happens. For instance, I have a gasoline generator and a solar generator. So, if the power goes out, I have options. I have a fireplace, and gas heat, so if the power goes out, I’m not cold and I don’t have to leave my home to get food. All these things gives one options and takes worry away. Having food and energy for emergencies are good things, and furthermore, you are in a position to help others, whether that be friends or family members, or both. It’s good to be prepared, and it’s a moral imperitive as well. IMHO.

            • Tactical G-Ma says:

              Rider of Rohan,
              You can say that again.

            • Schametti says:

              Very good points. I’ve been struggling tonight with the urge to buy more big(ger) ticket prepping items, for me, bigger anyway.. and saving the money. I’m torn on whether or not the money is better left in the bank for.. whatever’s to come, or putting it into items that I might need. A larger water filtration system, a HAM radio, (I don’t even know If we NEED this. Do I need this?), a firepit outside for cooking, and charcoal, when the propane runs out.. These are all things on my current should I buy this, and should I but it now list? I HATE feeling so indecisive about things. 🙁

            • Re: wanting or waiting for something to happen. It already is happening. I keep track of the cost of my preps. I have used up all my 58¢ hormel chili, and am running low on 25¢/lb rice. The things I put into deep storage are already running two to three times what they were just a few years ago. Tracking the savings I figure I am already ahead, any relief from TEOTWAWKI will be a bonus. Ending need not be Armageddon an illness or injury, loss of your job, etc. can become a personal TEOTWAWKI being prepared for little things one at a time will lead to better handling of big things should they come your way. Some think my Ysss

            • Sorry my cat posted last reply before I was ready. Some think my Y2K supplies were wasted when nothing happened. I am still reloading ammo at 1998 prices, panic buying is not for me. Get ready then buy on sale and at the end of the season. Once you get used to thinking of what you will want next spring because you got this one covered, a whole new world of saving opens up.

            • Welcome to prepping!

              I got a ton of old canning jars for next to nothing on Craigslist (this young guy was cleaning out his grandpa’s old canning shed…I only wish I’d bought more!). Perhaps you can find a similar “steal”.

              Canning and dehydrating are two of the best ways, in my opinion, to build your food preps inexpensively. You can can meat, soups, chili, veggies, ect. And you can store dehydrated foods in mason jars. I have dried tomatos from my garden that are two years old…they still look and taste just fine.

              You don’t need fancy equiptment. A $30 dehydrator and a $60 pressure cooker will be enough to get you started. You can always “up-grade” your equiptment down the road.

            • Judy, another one says:

              My dear, you are going to make mistakes. We all do, it’s a given, so relax, have some fun and laugh at your mistakes.

              Also, something that works for me may not work for you in your situation. For instance, BamBam and some of the others have canned meatloaf and it has been very successful for them. On the other hand, I have several dozen quart jars full of what I consider to be dog food instead of meatloaf. (The dog is going to eat well in a SHTF situation. LOL) I will not be canning my ground beef that way again in the future. I prefer to can ground beef as crumble or dehydrate the ground beef into what is referred to as ‘gravel’ in the backpacking world. The mistake I made here was I canned up too much into something I thought was a good idea at the time but had never actually eaten that way before. Now, I can up a batch of something new, let it set a week or so and then try it before canning up several dozen jars of that particular recipe.

              You are on the right path, good luck and have fun!

            • Schametti says:

              I try to avoid mistakes when I’m not confident that I have the TIME to make them. I was reading some back archives on the sight tonight, and OMG, people were prepping YEARS ago, and thinking the same thing(s) were coming as they are now, and I’m like maaaan, a: I’m so behind, and b: what if, two years from now, I’m sitting in a giant pile of preps wondering why nothing happened?! LOL.

              I know, that many will say, like above, that it’s already happening. But 3x inflation isn’t really something I’d consider anything near doomsday. People just.. give up a little more fun, to buy what they used to be able to buy ALONG with their fun.. and go on about their regular every day life. (ie; Movies. At the theater. I miss those, lol.. SO expensive). Anyway.. I don’t know what’s coming.. but I feel in my gut that it’s something A LOT worse than a little inflation. I don’t know what. And.. maybe I’m wrong. Hey! Hopefully, I am, and that all those people calling me crazy right now, will be right, lol.. But if I can, I would like to learn from other’s mistakes as much as possible, so that I don’t make them today, wasting the time AND money on them, when both seem so precious to me right now.

            • Rider of Rohan says:

              Amy, let me give you a for instance that most people, even your doubting relatives, can understand. Last winter we had an ice storm that knocked out our power for 4 days. After I ascertained what happened, I went to my storage house and pulled my generator out, filled it with stabilized gasoline I have stored, and cranked it up. I have a dedicated power strip that has my frig, freezer, television, computer, and a light already hooked into and plugged it into my generator. Whalla! I had power. I ran this setup 6-8 hrs each day for the next four days, had plenty of wood for the fireplace, and cooked on a gas stove, although I had a propane stove for backup. We also have a 1 yr. supply of food stored. My neighbors were running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off while I sit inside my warm house sipping hot coffee. I had 50 gal. of gasoline stored, which was great considering all the service stations were without power as well. Had I run short of gas, I have a hand pump that will allow me to pump gasoline from any of our vehicles, which we always keep at least half full.

              Moral of the story=other than having to go outside a couple of times a day to get firewood, I sit in my easy chair watching tv or surfing the internet on my tablet. Being prepared rocks!

            • Tactical G-Ma says:

              There are conversion kits that make generators capable of running on gasoline, LP, and NG. LP is easier to store and has a long shelf life. And you already have gas to your range.

              Worth considering…uscarburetion.com

            • Rider of Rohan says:

              Tac G-Ma, 10 dash 4. I’ve been wanting to look into that.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Amy, just a thought, sweetie. Way too much information in infospace about you here. Might not want to do any more posts using your name, your actual pic, and where you are….you’ll understand this better in time, too. OpSec (Operational Security) – it could save your life one day.

      • RoR, thank you for the perspective, that’s great. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to be in a place where you are now.. if I’m lucky, and keep on keeping on with the prepping. 🙂

        And hINs, that.. is a very good point. I have much to learn, thank you for letting the new cub know what NOT to say, I will make sure I don’t post that much info next time!!

        • Rider of Rohan says:

          Amy, one more thing while I have your attention. It doesn’t cost as much as you think. I bought my generator at a pawn shop for $275. Most used generators have only been run for a few hours. Visit local pawn shops and keep an eye out for bargains. I’ve also found firearms at low prices this way, and heck, many other things as well. Buying good used equipment is the way to go in my opinion. Saves lots of money. I have a good relationship with the owner of a local pawn shop, and if he gets something he thinks I might want he gives me a call. He recently called me about a Coleman stove he got off a guy, and sure enough I wanted it. Try to think outside the box.

          • Ooh that’s a good idea. I’ll have my husband drive me to some pawnshops next time we’re in town. (Yes, I can drive perfectly well.. but I never get the chance because my husband is a car NUT, and we have the one car, and he hogs the privilege, lol). Speaking of my NUT husband.. he gets it in his head, that he has to have new, and fancy, and expensive, and once he decides on something, it’s SO HARD to get him to change his mind. He’s so stubborn. But he has picked out this three thousand dollar uber generator, and thinks we NEED this one, that’s why it’s on the ‘overwhelming purchase’ list.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              That monster unit will make a TON of noise. They’re all very noisy, but the bigger, the noisier. We have a 12k. We also have a 3k on our BOL. It, too, is very noisy. There are ways to make it less “noticeable”, such as dig a large pit with “drive in/out” angled end; run the gen in the pit, but, you have to be able to cover this large area to keep people and critters from falling in and to keep rain out. A gen uses a TREMENDOUS amount of gasoline, unless you convert it to LP, which can be done, but, it ain’t easy. In which case you will need to store lots of LP. Then there’s the idea of “putting all your eggs in one basket”. If you buy only ONE really big gen, and it doesn’t start, you have no gen. “Two is one, One is None” – and 3 makes me happy!

              Do NOT run a gen in a basement or garage, due to emissions.

              Two or, even 3 smaller units might be a better idea. Then run each of them to specific areas, when needed.

              He needs to do some homework and determine how he wants to run the load from the gen to the house; will you be using multiple heavy-duty electrical cords, or will you try running the whole load from one gen? Will you burn the house down in that effort, and should you have an electrician in to “beef up” the system?

              There’s a lot about this I do not know, as this is an area I (thankfully) was able to leave to the DH, but I can tell you he did a tremendous amount of homework and determined that we WOULD need to get some electrical work done to carry the load and disperse to the areas we wanted to keep running in a grid down (and our house is not old). We called an electrician-friend in.

              Tractor Supply usually has people on board who can answer a lot of questions on gens; then there are the good folks here who can answer questions.

              What I personally WOULD NOT do is buy a cheap unit from Harbor Supply; I know, people get excited about a trip to HS, but, their gens are very cheap and notorious for breakdowns, parts issues, and the like.

              I’m surely not trying to be discouraging, but there are lots of questions one should be able to answer before making a choice in a gen – including how to deal with the cost of fuel and how to minimize the likelihood of discovery when SHTF.

              Hope this helps you and your DH in some way, Schametti. And I’m sure the Pack will have more solid suggestions.

          • HomeINsteader says:

            Just don’t wait until you need one to buy one because you won’t find one!

        • HomeINsteader says:

          You are a very intelligent young woman – you are eager (and willing) to learn. You will make a GREAT prepper! I’ll put you on my survival team any day of the week, Schametti!

          • Schametti says:

            Aww thank you. That is a GREAT compliment. I soooo wish I had someone, ANYone worthy around these parts to have on a survival team. But most aren’t concerned, and those who are, are too broke to do anything about it. (I’VE TOLD a couple of my girlfriends that just one can or bag of beans or rice a payday is more than they had before, but they think they need money to prep. Like, a lot of it. I suppose it’s partially my fault.. I’ve inadvertantly discouraged them by my quick foundation prepping. That’s just the way I do things. I got worried, and I wanted a lot fast. Now that I HAVE that base, I can add, and learn at a much slower rate. (Course I don’t do anything I’m determined about.. slowly, lol.. but.. slowER). Anyway.. I keep trying to encourage them, but they’re being kind of stubborn.

            Electricians won’t be hard to come by. Fortunately for me.. I have about three Unioned smarty pants electricians in my family, and aside from listening to their crazy union liberal talk.. they work for free, lol.. So I’ll have one of my uncles come and help when we need assistance with the generator, when we can afford one.

            Thank You for the great advice. I reeeaallly appreciate it. I am trying to soak up so much information every day, and trying not to get overwhelmed with it all. I know we’re definitely not ready to make a choice on a generator.. yet, but hopefully we can figure that one out soon! :):)

            • HomeINsteader says:

              You’re welcome, dear one!

              Steer your friends to MD Creekmore’s book, “31 Days to Survival”. It’s a good place to start., and you can find it on the homepage here. And encourage them – no, walk with them – as they start with a 3-day supply of water and food (bare subsistence will do for now), then build to 7 days, then to 10, then to 14….and so on. This is how MOST of us started! But if they never start , they will never be ready.

              I volunteered for some 20 years with the world’s largest disaster relief assistance agency, in every capacity they have. I don’t think I ever saw a single person or family who was “prepared”, but I assisted thousands who were screaming, “where’s my help?”; “why has no one rescued us yet?”; “we’re hungry!”; “we’re thirsty!”, “we’re sick and have no medicine!”; “I’m broke because I’m out of a job and can’t provide for my kids – what do I do?”….share this with them…and this, dear one, is why we prep.

              There are free resources available on this site, and many others, as well. Try to encourage your friends to get started. You’ll be the best friend they ever had, whether they know it, or not.

            • Oh yes, I’m definitely trying to gently encourage my two friends to get started. I was SO EXCITED when I had first made my choice to become a prepper, (and BEFORE I had the sense to keep my mouth shut about it, lol), because two friends who were important to me in my every day life said they wanted to be preppers too, and were also thinking about it. And as we excitedly talked about what we would do.. I started doing, and they just kept talking. I’ve never been one to make a choice, but just talk about it, but I jump in with both feet. I might have gotten a little bummed when so many people told me that I had lost my mind, but nothing stopped me. Last week, I bought MD’s 31 days to survival book, and am reading it now. And THIS week, I ordered Poverty Prepping. When I’m finished reading the both of them, I’ll send one home with each of them, and give them a bag of rice or beans out of my pantry and tell them, no more excuses, and no more just talking about it.. start doing!!

              I am not at ALL surprised about you having to deal with so many people with their hands out after a disaster. 🙁 That’s a shame, but it’s normal. I’ve not ever been ‘normal,’ but I consider that a good thing.

            • Rider of Rohan says:

              Actually, Amy, it’s not normal at this time and place in our nation’s history to be prepared. Most people are dependant on either the government or someone else for all their needs. I don’t want to throw everything at you at once, but after you put back some food and water, then you need to concentrate on developing skills like canning, etc. Most people on this blog make their own laundry detergent, many make their own soap, just about everyone gardens or has chickens, while others can and preserve food the old-fashioned way. These skills save you money in addition to giving you confidence. And all these things are fun to do, or at least they are to me.

            • Schametti says:

              Hey RoR! 🙂 I know you’re right about that. I was hesitant at first, to try and do my own things. (It was hard enough to feel my friends/families judgement when I put some food and water away, but when I even MENTIONED the idea of getting a couple chickens, the howls of laughter made me wince, lol.. But I know you’re right), and I’m already making SOME baby-step strides in this area. I bought a dehydrater this week, and did my first batch of dried mango slices. They’re delicious! When I get the skill down a little better, maybe I can get some bags, and start tucking some away for the prepping pantry. I’m just a little worried about messing it up and opening up spoiled fruit a year from now. I know dehydrating won’t be very helpful if the grid goes down though.. so I’m planning to try gardening this spring, and we’ll see how bad I can mess that up, haha.. But hopefully I’ll learn something. 🙂 I bought a canning book, but I’m little overwhelmed with that as of yet. Baby steps!! I have a lot to learn, that is for sure.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              Good morning, Schametti!

              Suggestion: do you have a FreshSaver? If not, perhaps you could put it on the “want” list? Vacuum pack your dried fruit like this; put it away in air-tight tins. I buy them wherever and whenever I find them. Small ones are good for storing matches; I prefer the “light anywhere” kind. This will be a bartering tool, and you’ll need a lot of them when SHTF.

              I used medium and larger tins for other types of foods, such as dried beans, rice, and even dried fruits. Put the dried fruits, vacuum sealed, down in one of these metal cans with a sturdy lid in place. You can also pack them all around with newspaper so that SHOULD moisture find it’s way through (someone left the lid ajar, perhaps?), then the newspapers will absorb that moisture.

              I shared instructions a while back on how to build a solar food dryer that works – and it does work. You might want to go to the solar link on the home page and find it, download it and print it off. When SHTF, you won’t likely have power to run an electric dehydrator, and, unless you have a gas oven, won’t be able to use the oven, either (and may not want to use it, needing to preserve that precious fuel).

              As to canning, start at simply with ONE food. Perhaps you could make a batch of soup or stew and home-can the leftovers?

              Email me at [email protected] if you like; tell me exactly what you want to can first, and I’ll walk you through it.


            • Tactical G-Ma says:

              I have always carried a GHB in my car ever since I became a mother. And have always kept the basic first aid, water, and food for about a week. My family were/ are farmers and ranchers but I chose a different way. So a couple years ago when I saw commodity prices going sideways I told my sister I was going to start buying double food,one to store because I saw that things just kept getting worse, her response was she was ready to be Raptured. It took a while but she finally realized there are 101 emergency situations that would cause the need for self-sufficiency. If nothing else we have become much more frugal. And when corn went high, and the drought caused a beef sell off, etc. my beliefs were justified. one doesn’t have to be an alarmist to want to be prepared.
              I now garden, can, freeze, have an expanded medical kit and library, alternative power and water, and greater security plans. You don’t have to be crazy to be a prepper. Of course, it helps!:-)

            • Hunker-Down says:


              If you give your friends a bag of rice or beans you are advertising that you are stocking food. OPSEC?

              Your definition of OPSEC is your business, I’m just trying to sharpen your security skills.

  16. Hi folks, this is probably an old question as well as maybe even considered a dumb question but here it goes anyway. Would the Mortons rock salt crystals be a wise investment during a “SHTF” situation? For trading and such? Thanks for your input.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      yes all salt, can pound it and make it smaller…use it for lure or storing meat without refrig.. takes about 3lbs salt per pound of pork shoulder from info I have read., mix with spices and brown sugar..for sugar cure… also can use pure pool salt…might find it on sale..abt 5$ per bag..@ china mart.

    • I think that it would make a great barter item.

    • Judy, another one says:

      And the only dumb question is one not asked.

    • You can never have enough salt. Any kind of food grade salt, especially sea salts. Salt licks for livestock.

      • Yes the key is food grade some rock salt contains impurities like gypsum or potassium compounds. Stock things that give you maximum flexibility. Pure food grade salt can be used for deicing whereas impure salts might ruin salt pork.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Yes, salt! Lots of it! In the individual cardboard rounds, as many as you can stock. Why? Because when you barter, it’s easier to just grab one of these.

      Should it be iodized? There are arguments for and against iodized salt. I’ll leave you to do homework for yourself and decide for yourself.

      I would like to point out that salt comes with a “Best Buy” date, which is puzzling, since salt is a preservative and, as such, really NEVER “goes bad”.

      And it’s a very good question, Rzh. The DH and I always told our kids, “the only dumb question is the one to which you already have the answer”.

  17. Flower Child says:

    Went to the Tanner Gun Show yesterday and picked up more brass, primers and some misc stuff. There are so many more vendors selling reloading supplies now it’s great even though prices are higher than last year. We reinventoried current ammo and reorganized the gun safes. Made a Sam’s Club run for dog & cat food, coffee, tp & paper towels. On a funny note, DH swore he was almost out of shop towels, so we picked up another package. Went to put them in the garage only to see he still had 2 packages stored on the top shelves.

  18. I’ve expanded my garden by about a third in my suburban backyard. I moved my fence by pulling out the old 4×4 post and reset them and the fence. My rabbit hutches now have room in the garden too to keep the dawgs away. My first of three 16 x 3′ beds is built and I’ll put new dirt in tomorrow. I have 6 12 x 3 foot beds to put in too. Bought 25 15′ long bamboo to build a supports over my chicken enclosure. This is to keep out predators and small birdies that eat all the chicken food. I’ll buy some more later and enclose the entire garden too.

    • Ken, what will you use over your bamboo supports to keep the wild birds out? Thanks.

      • 4′ x 50′ one inch heavy duty bird netting. Should need two rows. I got it from lowes. I’ll just wiretie it to the bamboo!

  19. Light prepping week here…bought a case of quart jars, 8lbs of ‘organic’ chicken from the Amish mkt and made chicken broth! It was a lot of work to can only 4 quart jars! (other 2 quarts I used to make soup that night) Looking to can chili this week. Downloaded the ebay app and used iPhone to easily snap pics all over house to rid myself of extra junk and build more funds for preps. Addicting! Great tip of the plantings, MD! Need to start thinking of what I’ll plant this Spring! God bless you all! Have a great week!

    • Get a crock pot and make broth in that overnight. Then can it. That way you don’t need to stay in the kitchen while your broth boils. Crock pots are super time savers and there’s more you can do with them than make soup or chili – you can also bake with a pan inside the crock pot, or steam things, or pasteurize milk or juice, or turn one into a still – all kinds of stuff.

      • U2redneck says:

        great idea! I had even considered buying the premade stock at the Amish mkt, boiling it and canning it. But, I like knowing exactly what goes into it. I’ll try that with the next batch! My husband would love to know how to turn a crock pot into a still! He may just cross on over if he knows I can make ‘adult beverages’! lol

  20. Purchased a hand crank pasta maker and looked up and printed recipes to support that hand crank. Really that’s it for this week.

    Prayers for all the Pack.

  21. Hit the range, zero’d the new Aimpoint PRO and cowitnessed to the iron sights.
    Ordered some ammo, it’s on the way already! Was surprised to see cases of
    7.62 & 5.56 tracer still in stock.
    FYI Brownells own AR mags are backordered, but usually ship w/in 2-3 weeks. A buddy of mine ordered 2 weeks ago and rec’d a shipped notification on Thursday. 10 pk $127, no $ gouging.
    The Mako Group is another alternative. They have in stock Israeli steel AR 30 rd mags w/ white followers at $19 each.
    Rec’d a new book, Tactical Medical Essentials. Render aide & Treat wounds while covering. Situational awareness.
    Luggable Loo arrived.
    Picked up some new shovels and a rake. Cleaned my other garden tools.
    Stocked up on dog food for the Malinois.

    Thanks for all the great ideas as I’m new here. I did see that a few of you have BOL’s and are looking for alternatives to refrigerators and freezers. Here’s a link, no affiliation. On the spendy side, but it’s a once in a lifetime purchase & no electricity is required…. http://www.stonecoldsolarrefrigeration.com/pb/wp_ef5f4a36/wp_ef5f4a36.html

    The comment was made, why waste my time on lawn and shrub care when this expense and effort should be put to food that I can grow and eat. GREAT IDEA! Got me thinking. For appearances sake the front has to remain, but the back is nothing but grass and gravel. Time to start growing my own. My wife takes care of the food preps and wishes to get back into canning. Can’t think of a better time to do so.

    Thanks again!

  22. Once again, not much.

    Acquired a Leatherman Wave.
    And at the last minute I was given a hundred dollar bill and a Cobra .22lr derringer by my father last night. The former I’ll debate on what preps to blow it on, the latter I’ve decided to carry along with me in my Get Home Bag. While I’ve got a 10/22 Takedown on the bag, a Glock 21 in the glove box and either a Glock 26 or a Taurus Snubnose .357 on my ankle, I want it readily accessible. In a Bug Out scenario it could be used to take small game quietly, since I put two Aguila subsonic rounds in it, or palmed in case of an iffy encounter that I don’t want to draw a larger weapon for.
    Also, I’ve put an extra MRE and two bottles of water in my vehicle. If I were to have to abandon it, hopefully I’d have time to eat the MRE and drink one bottle before striking out on foot, carrying the second bottle.
    And I put up another 8 liter bottles of water in storage.

  23. Judy, another one says:

    Not much at our place, still treading water.

    Did another ‘Use it up, make do, or do without’ project this week. The neighbor kid (He’s younger than me! LOL) came over with a couple of pair of jeans and wanted to know if I could remodel his britches to fit better. I look them all over and said sure thing.

    So I have to ask the question, does someone in your group know how to tailor clothing? Being able to mend, dress make or tailor is going to become an important skill to have as things get rougher. We are all going to be taking up our clothing as we get less calories and more physical active.

    • Tailoring clothing is not difficult if you have ever sewed from a pattern. One thing you can do with the help of a friend is make your own dress dummy for cheap by wearing an old T shirt and duct taping yourself snugly all over it, then cut your way out of it and tape it back together, then stuff it with shredded newspaper or whatever and tape up all the holes. Stick it on a pole with feet (just make one from 2×4’s). Then you can tailor things on your dress dummy instead of trying to pin things on yourself and twisting all around in the mirror.

      • Another trick is to make a garment out of cheap muslin, or old sheets, make sure it fits, and then unsew it and use it as a pattern for the expensive fabric.

        You can also get a pattern from taking apart another garment, then use that as a basis to make other patterns. Sometimes you can just lay out the garment and trace around each piece on paper without taking it apart. Also if you have a basic pattern you can add details like a collar or cuffs or pleats to it or alter the neckline or length to make it different.

        If you make a lot of one pattern (bags and hats, for example) it’s sometimes good to make your pattern out of cardboard then trace on the fabric around it. It makes for less wear and tear on the pattern.

    • Judy,
      Jeans are hard to alter due to the thickness of the seams and waist band. It can be done, but it find it easier to look for new jeans at the thrift store or consignment shop.
      I save old jeans to make heavy denim quilts, and they make great wall insulation.
      Shirts, dresses and a few other items are easy to alter. Have you looked for some sewing classes? It would be best to learn from the beginning to learn all the little tricks and short cuts.

    • Judy, another one says:

      LOL! I guess I phrased that question wrong. I am an experienced seamstress who has made everything from evening/wedding gowns to three piece suits and everything in between. What I was trying to do, was a rhetorical question to nudge folks to learn skills that are useful for when you can’t go to the store and just buy.

      In my opinion, somebody in your group/tribe needs to know how to pick seams and rebuild clothing to fit. I believe it is valuable skill to have.

      • Judy, another one,

        I wish you lived here in Florida. I watched a video on how to make throw pillows. It looked so easy. I picked out some fabric. I got out the sewing machine that my mom gave me–but I couldn’t figure out how to thread the needle. My dh and I took the machine into our fabric shop and they showed us how to thread the needle. So I think I am ready to sew. But it’s far more complicated than it looks. I am thinking about taking a sewing class so I can learn the basics.

        • Judy, another one says:

          Take those classes BamBam! Garment making isn’t as easy as some of us can make it look. You are taking a flat pattern and draping it around and over a 3-d object. Look for simple patterns in the beginning for dresses and blouses (two or four piece patterns). Like these: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/easy-stitch–n-save-pages-843.php.
          Simplicity patterns tend to be cut big, McCalls are usually cut about right, Butterrick and Vogue are dead on or a little small. Vogue patterns are couture patterns. I love making them because they are a challenge between the fancy fabrics and how the pieces go together.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        You are absolutely right, Judy, ao. Knowing how to sew will soon be a very valuable skill set, given that many people today don’t know how to sew on a button. When Mother Earth News runs a piece explaining how to sew on a button (and they did – about a year ago), you know we have a society that is not learning that particular skill! Of course, if people could mend, sew hems, replace buttons, they wouldn’t just run out and buy a new one, now, would they? Hmmm…ya’ think it might have been “a plan”?

  24. My brand new 870 had a 100% failure to feed and failure to eject rate today. I am a bit disappointed needless to say. Tried 3 brands and 2 sizes of shells. They all cycle in the Mossberg 500 just fine, not at all in the 870.

    • riverrider says:

      thats HIGHLY unusual. i’d take it back immediately if you can. if not try oiling it up. you’d be surprised how many guns i’ve “fixed” by adding a drop or three of oil. does it have the extended mag tube on it? if so there is a tiny protrusion in end of the original tube that will catch on the follower and/or spring. it can be filed down. look on the fired shell brass for scratches or gouges,indicating a defect in the chamber. never had this prob with an 870, so best i can do fer ya. good luck.

  25. This week was terrible. I had to cash in half my silver to fix the furnace. (at least I had it). But then I went to visit relatives and they had pity on me and gave me some money. I feel so non-self-sufficient but at least I’m not broke now. And I would not have cared so much about getting it done fast except I am a landlord and have to keep the place up. It got down to like 52 in the house, then I was using the oven to keep things warm near the plumbing. Bundling up in the house, I was pretty comfortable. I think I’m going to drop my thermostat a few more degrees to save money. I need to add some income to be able to keep prepping – thinking about mowing lawns this spring as well as adding a bookkeeping client and finding another roommate.

    Regarding planting, it’s time to start fava beans outdoors in zone 6, and you can start peas in February outdoors as well. You can start potato plants indoors now, or just wait till St. Paddys day and plant them outside. Get those high-carb high-calorie plants going now. Turnips are good too. They grow fast and need little care. If you are not familiar with eating turnips, you have to peel them if you want them to mush up when you cook them. For other things that take less care: grow cherry tomatoes rather than big ones, swiss chard instead of spinach, turnips instead of beets, zucchini instead of cucumbers or summer squash, also grow quinoa, it’s a weed and the seeds are a complete protein and you can eat the leaves too.

    • Schametti says:

      THANK YOU for some ideas of things to plant that take less care. (I AM NOT a gardener), but I’ve been buying seeds like crazy, because I know I might need to learn this. I’m going to buy a couple of big pots this spring, and try my hand at some smaller things, to start.. I’m nervous. I kill house plants for goodness sake, lol.. (except my bamboo, I love bamboo). I am not an ‘outside’ person, so I know it’s going to be QUITE an adjustment when/If I need to be.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Maybe not (such a big adjustment, after all). Many things grow well year around, in pots, in the house – or on the balcony, patio, wherever!

        • Schametti says:

          I hope that you’re right!! I need to figure out WHAT plants to start out with, and what kind of pot/soil/etc… and more importantly WHEN to get them started. It seems like so much to learn, so I’m a little bit leery about it.

          • Hunker-Down says:


            Since most garden plants grow in an annual cycle, it takes a year to get a second chance at trying something. Failure can come from bad dirt, shade, sun, water, bugs, animals etc.
            Because a plants life cycle is so long I would jump in with both feet and plant as many different things as you have time and space. Get gardening books (the library?) and TAKE NOTES of your successes and failures. They will be of great value next season.
            Have questions? There are a half dozen master gardeners in the Wolf Pack that want to be the first to answer them.

            • Schametti says:

              Thanks HD. That’s a very good tip. A year is a long time to have to wait around to try something different that didn’t go right the first time around.

              Space and Time, I have. I’m probably more fortunate than most in that area. It’s ambition and energy that I need. :/ It’s a character flaw of mine that I can’t seem to shake off. I’m gathering seeds and books now while I can, so that I’ll have them when I can’t, and hope that I’LL FIND the motivation when my survival depends on it. (I know that’s NOT the way to go about it, so I need to try harder).

              I don’t think I’m capable, by myself, of tilling up a huge plot of space in my yard, and keeping my plants free of bugs, bunnies, and weeds, God, weeds are the death of me. I can just barely manage to keep them from swallowing me up around my fence-line every summer, lol. SO, I thought I would figure out some method of planter/container planting. I don’t know the FIRST thing about ANY kind of farming though.. so I will be reading extra carefully anytime one of those seasoned pack gardeners mentions something I can borrow.. and learn from.

              My next door neighbor, an elderly retired gentleman, named Bob, brings me gorgeous and delicious, fat red tomatoes every summer.. and I bake him cookied in thanks every Christmas.. 🙂 ..I’m thinking he might be a good ally when TSHTF (did I do that right? First time, trying out my first abbreviation, lol), and can probably teach me a thing or too about what does and doesn’t work here in our area.

            • Hunker-Down says:


              Sounds like Bob may be the go to guy for gardening, but on the way, don’t forget about OPSEC.

          • Some of the best things to start with are herbs. You can grow a lot of parsley and basil in relatively small pots. Then expand to things like romaine grown in window box-type pots. Tomatoes are good grown in very large pots as are peppers. After you have grown things in pots, you might try a small (4X4) raised bed. Build the sides up to 6-10 inches, cover the bottom with corrugated cardboard to kill any weeds and grass, put in the vegetable trimmings that you accumulate, add a few bags of topsoil mixed with compost, and plant plant plant. The cardboard breaks down to add more nutritive material. You can plant a lot closer together in a raised bed since you don’t have to allow for a path between plants.

            • Schametti says:

              Thanks for the tips you guys. I’m have excited, and half nervous, to start jumping in to gardening. But I KNOW how important that it’s likely to be in the coming years, so I reeeeally appreciate all the advice, so far. 🙂

              And yes.. It’ll be a fine line to walk between getting Bob’s planting advice, and not explaining to ole Bob why I’m suddenly out of the house for the first time in five years, LOL.

            • Hunker-Down says:


              Oh, no big deal. You just have a new hobby and need to get some sun.

            • Tactical G-Ma says:

              When I started gardening my plants were like my babies. I wept for them . I worried about them. And sometimes I did everything the books and other gardeners said to do and my plants died. Other plants I stuck in the ground and forgot about them and they thrived. Read, talk to others, garden for 50 years and you will get better but sometimes a crop will fail, plants will die, fruit will be bad or not at all.
              Sometimes success is beyond your control. Plant a fruit tree every year. I have had them freeze, wither, get disease and get struck by lightening. The thing is: do your best and keep planting.

  26. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Hey Pack
    Looks like everyone is persevering in spite of hardships.
    So many good tips and interesting posts. Welcome to the new cubs and welcome back to those who haven’t posted for a while. Finally got our garden beds prepped and a retaining wall built. 600 blocks and 16 cubic yards of topsoil and compost later and DH is sick as a dog and my body hurts all over. Still have a few odds and ends to do. The outdoor kitchen is done except for the 250 gal gas tank to run some of it.
    Got our half beef from processor this week. Have a doe there still being butchered. We should be set for the year with meats.
    Bought the jerky making kit for ground meat. Got 5 lbs. Of venison marinating.
    I did buy a 22 qt stainless steel pot and new bed sheets and tons of bags for the food saver.
    This time of year is more about doing than spending. Gotta start my seedlings.
    When DH gets better we are going to hit the golf course. And maybe a day or two fishing. All work and no play makes me grumpy.
    Hope you all have a great week. God bless you. You and yours are in my prayers.

  27. I love seeing what everyone is doing to prep each week. I am VERY new to prepping (like two months into it) so it is nice (and overwhelming) to see what the ‘pros’ are doing. Last week I added a few canned goods to my stocks, I got a propane tank for the grill refilled, and I ordered two seed catalogs and started planning my garden (considering the container garden to start with). I also used my medical flex card to purchase two prescription glasses and one pair of prescription sunglasses. I am nearly blind without my contacts and when things go bad I know that my contacts are not a long term solution. I already have a pair of older glasses that are about one prescription old but still work. When I went in to pick up my glasses the lady helping me told me I was “glasses greedy”. I just smiled as I tried them on. I also just finished reading the book “One Second After” and enjoyed it (in a creepy “Oh crap this could happen” kind of way). I have also been reading and researching as much as possible about getting my preps in order (and starting to prep).
    Thank you for the great ideas.

    • Schametti says:

      Hey Sparky! 😀 It’s nice to see newbies like me. I’m creeping up to three months, (next week), of being a new prepper. I’m glad I’m not the only one just starting out. I know how you feel, it’s overwhelming when you want to buy and get and learn SO MANY things yet, and you feel that sense of urgency that you started too late.. It can be scary. But you’re not alone, so borrow my new motto, from the great pack here.. “Anything you add, is more than you Had.” It keeps me going, one item at a time. 🙂 ~ Amy.

    • riverrider says:

      i hope you’ve clicked on the “survival guides”link at the top of the homepage. its a wealth of info for the new prepper. good luck to ya, and welcome if its not been said already. stick with us, we’ll get you thru it as best that can be.

    • Welcome Sparky. Don’t let it overwhelm you. You are already ahead of most just by being aware and starting to prep. Keep us up to date on your progress.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Welcome to the pack. When I just started, I felt like everything had to be done now! And I had always been prepared for one weeks worth for me and close family. If you take it slow and steady and taylor your preps to your needs. It is so much easier.
      The book “One Second After” should be required reading. It scared me good. You made a very good start recognizing your weakest trait was your eyesight. An excellent book is MD’s book “31 Days to Survival”. It is a checklist of the hows and whys. There are many good resources on this web site also. Good luck and God bless.

    • Welcome Sparky,
      You made me giggle when you said you enjoyed One Second After in a creepy kinda way. I think we all did. I read it four times and enjoyed every second, even when I was bawling my eyes out.
      Try “Lights Out” and the “Jakarta Pandemic”.
      Also try zennioptical.com for some great prices for the next greedy glasses episode.
      Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed. You will be suprised how much you can accomplish with baby steps that lead to big steps. Next thing you know you will be saying you need more space.

    • Ozark Flower Lady says:

      Welcome, Sparky. Sounds like you are doing what needs to be done. I have a book by Susan Gregersen that will help you and all others with food prepping–POVERTY PREPPING:How to stock up for tomorrow when you can’t afford to eat today. I also recommend both of MD Creekmore’s books–31 Days to Survival and Dirt-Cheap: Survival Retreat. MD, unlike many other “survivalist” is not coming from the position of have money to establish a fully defensible fort with all kinds of gimmicks that would be nice to own but is way out of our pocketbook.

    • Dies the Fire by S M Stirling is another good book. Wonders a bit into speculative fiction, but not in a bad way.

    • Sparky,

      Welcome to the Pack. It’s good to see newbies posting. If you have questions, feel free to ask. We have lots of answers.

  28. HomeINsteader says:

    Welcome to the Pack, Sparky! Sounds like you’re a fast learner!

    Please be sure your seeds are heirloom and not hybrid, non-GMO. Lots of places you can get those, but Baker Creek Farms or Seed Savers Exchange are just two such places.

  29. KR Prepper says:

    It’s been a min.

    Drew up the garden

    Purchased Jennings Devastator crossbow, bolts, broadheads,
    A rangefinder, rope cocking device and other archery stuff from eBay.
    purchases a red dot to replace the original sight.

    Its amazing the accurate range you can get with a crossbow,
    And how quiet they are. From 100 yards, by the time game hears the arrow
    It’s too late.

    Spent some time developing a portion if the garden primarily for medicinal plants

  30. PGCPrepper says:

    I bought a steak for dinner for friday night. I needed some red meat. And then I washed my bed sheets and cleaned my toilet on Saturday. I’ma prepping my ass off. Damn.

    Obviously my last post.

  31. This week I inventoried my pantry and figured out exactly how many pounds of staples (rice, beans, flour, ect) I have. Then I used a LDS website to figure out where the gaps were in my food preps. I’ve been slowly adding to our family food stores for the past year, and the calculator was very helpful in showing me where what stuff I was missing.

    I then went out and bought the stuff I lacked from my grocery store and local “Big Box” store. There are a few items that will have to wait until my next paycheck to purchase (extra coffee, spices)…but I’m happy to say that my husband and I have six months of food! Yeah!

    Some of the bulk supplies (beans and rice) I stored in a new, clean metal garbage can (rodent-proof) in the basement. Eventually I’ll re-packege it into mylar pouches and food-grade buckets. But, for now, the food will keep just fine until I’m ready for the project. I’ll keep adding to our food preps, of course. But its a real comfort to know that we have enough food on hand to last a long while without resupply. The “food security” will allow me to re-focus some of our time/money on other preps.

    Here’s something I’m doing this week that other people might want to try. I’ve recently started canning meat and broth in large amounts. I’ve found this to be a real money and time-saver, and I recommend it highly. I get meat (turkey, ham, ect) on sale, cook it up, and process it in my pressure cooker. I’m a nurse who works tweleve-hour shifts, and it’s really nice to be able to come home and pop open a can of meat or soup/stew for a quick meal. The broth is great for making rice with. My husband is also a real fan of the convenience of instantly ready meal components. No having to think about thawing meat ahead of time or anything. And its all completely shelf-stable!

    One last thing I did this week…I ordered a Pump-n-seal food saver device. Its designed to manually suck air out of mason jars or ziplock bags. Dry goods and dehydrated foods store a lot longer in jars without air. And you can avoid freezer burn by removing air from the ziplock bags you put food into. It arrived today, and it works great! After pumping the air our of a jar of dried herbs I uncrewed the mason jar ring and the lid stayed firmly sucked down onto the jar. The ziplock bag I tried it on sucked down around the contents just like vaccum-packed stuff you buy from the store. Not bad, and way cheaper than other food savers out there.

  32. Warmongerel says:

    Nothing too out of the ordinary this week.

    – Put more food away
    – Put more water away
    – Bought another 100 rounds of .40S&W
    – Bought a dozen rounds of 00 buckshot
    – Bought 60 rounds of 7.62. Half of what Gander Mountain had.

    Figured I’d have a little fun, so I became a troll on the DailyKos website. They had kicked me off years ago because I used that Kryptonite to Liberals: logic.

    I expect to be kicked off again, although I’m acting “innocent-stupid” when asking questions. But man it’s fun poking these fools through the bars of their cages.

    Hope all is as well as can be, Pack. And, as always, thank you, M.D.

  33. Kitchen Witch says:

    Bought 5 turkeys @99 cents a pound cooked them all up.
    canned 21 quarts of turkey soup
    canned 35 quarts of plain turkey
    went through the freezer and decided to can all the hamburger up 28 quarts.
    restocked what we have used in the pantry since november.
    son in law, daughter and grandbabes finally found a place they could afford and are moving out this weekend. still have 1 daughter at home.

  34. Went to local grocery store yesterday and a big sign in the produce dept – an update on the weather conditions in the midwest etc that may and are limiting the quanity and quality of produce – mostly things like lettuces, broccoli was mentioned and a few other things.

    I’m going to revisit it and get the full listing. Get your seeds! Plant them! Get that greenhouse up – it’s getting worse and worse.

    Blessings to all

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Thank you, granny j! This is a warning, y’all; the wise person does not ignore a warning.

    • mountain lady says:

      My friend told me yesterday to get some lettuce and chard planted in my half oak barrels. I think I will get them started pronto. The shortages were not supposed to start until April. Guess it is coming early.

  35. Home, you’re welcome. I saw it and my stomach just tightened up and said, yup, knew it was coming soon, and here it is. I knew the first place I needed to go was here, and spread the word.

    God bless us all…..I thank Our Father in Heaven for each of you each day, and the bounty of knowledge you share so freely because you care. Each of you are special – MD, thank you for being you and having us all in to visit.

    As soon as I can get back to the store, I’ll get the full list and post it.

  36. sheesh, hit the wrong button and deleted self…

    Stopped again at the store – the sign says the growing areas in Yuma,AZ and the Imperial and Coachilla, CA areas are the hardest hit by the drought and then the cold and freezing spell we just experienced. They are expecting another cold spell soon –

    Estimate is that lettuces and leafy greens will be affected with discoloration and such like we sometimes see on celery – which indicates damage from frostbite…edible (to an extent) but not pretty. Broccoli and artichoke crops are expected to be in short supply, reduced size, etc – by as much as 50%! Stock up on broccoli now – dehydrate – and buy your freeze dries asap. Better – plant your own!

    Besides my garden – I have two coworkers and another friend who I will ask about trading labor in their acreage for fresh foods. They have larger acreages and much more sun that I do….so I might be able to wing a deal. Two of them have offered buckets full of worms for my compost bins, soil…when I’m ready.

    I don’t have a lot of sun, and am having to completely redo parts of my garden plan….sigh. But hey it’s all making me stronger and smarter, yes?


  37. Ordered 5 yrs. worth (read below) of cleaning supplies and some spare parts. DON’T FORGET THE GAS RINGS and SPARE FIRING PIN!

    From FB; Doug Ross @ Journal: UPDATE: Status of Gun Industry

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    ATTN: To follow will be several IMPORTANT Info updates about the status of the gun industry currently, followed by an INVENTORY UPDATE: We traveled to Texas for Industry meetings concerning the shortages, here’s what we were told.

    Smith & Wesson: is running at FULL capacity making 300+ guns/day-mainly M&P pistols. They are unable to produce any more guns to help with the shortages.

    RUGER: Plans to increase from 75% to 100% in the next 90 days.

    FNH: Moving from 50% production to 75% by Feb 1st and 100% by March 1. Remington-Maxed out!

    Armalite: Maxed out.

    DPMS: Can’t get enough parts to produce any more product.

    COLT: Production runs increasing weekly…bottle necked by Bolt carrier’s.

    LWRC:Making only black guns, running at full capacity, but can’t get enough gun quality steel to make barrels.

    Springfield Armory: THE only company who can meet demand, but are running 30-45 days behind.

    AMMO: Every caliber is now Allocated! We are looking at a nation wide shortage of all calibers over the next 9 months. All plants are producing as much ammo as possible w/ of 1 BILLION rounds produced weekly. Most is military followed by L.E. and civilians are third in line.

    MAGPUL: is behind 1 MILLION mags, do not expect any large quantities of magpul anytime soon. (250 just arrived on island, picking mine up tomorrow for $30 ea., black, no windows)

    RELOADERS… ALL Remington, Winchester, CCI & Federal primers are going to ammo FIRST. There are no extra’s for reloading purposes… it could be 6-9 months before things get caught up. Sorry for the bleak news, but now we know what to expect in the coming months.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      In other words, if you have not prepared before now, practice a lot with your bow and arrows!

      • +1
        But on another note, you can make a bow out of PVC and elbow grease. (caution shameless bragging ahead) I’ve started the kids on bows and they are doing fantastic. Both on paper at 10 yards. Makes you feel good when you teach your kids something that you know will stick with them forever. God bless Wolfpack, I hope the Lords light is keeping TDL in the shadows for you.

        Militia now, it has begun.

  38. HomeINsteader says:

    Hey, Mexneck! How are you, my Brother?

    I found this youtube quickly on how to build PVC pipe bows…don’t know if it’s the “best” one available.

    This will also show you how to get to 60 lb PVC bows youtube and shooting them.

    • Hi HomeINsteader,
      I think that’s the one I watched. I’ve been working on a couple of other projects so I haven’t tried to make the bow yet. Went out to the country this weekend and had a great time with DF.