I don’t want to survive, I want to live

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by JET

I don’t want to survive, I want to live. Being prepared for anything has always been a part of my life. The scout motto”be prepared” was a way of life for me and a lesson to teach .As a kid I dint know we were poor we had food and a home and I was happy fixing things and making something from nothing.

Learning from older folks that survived the depression who were a wealth of knowledge can and always will be a source of how it can be done. save for what you want to fix what you have and adapt to your surroundings. We get lazy when we have excess of things and as Americans try to make things easy for our kids. Not teaching them the basics of living within your means is setting them up for failure. Anyone who thinks they will Just bug out and make it by their whit’s is fooling themselves. WE need to live the ideas we have for survival, not just in theory.

When things slowed in my chosen trade I started doing things without knowing it, but was practicing survival skills. As things looked more bleak I was doing more prepping in earnest. I do all the cooking at home because I was out of work and had to make good use of my time. Bread machines are cheap, second-hand stores are full of them. Making bread is a skill we need to learn and practice. While you have a computer search out skills and put them to work NOW.

Capturing natural yeast in the air and getting a sour dough started is important, buying yeast to make bread is good but if you can’t buy it you’ll need a leavening agent to make you bread rise.If you have a grinder, good, if not get one. I grind with a machine but have my hand crank grinder as back up. Eventually I could run out of fuel for the generator. Grinding seeds to make flour is a labor intensive process by hand but what meal is complete without bread.

In my retreat I have a wood oven and make sure to make enough to share with neighbors. They’re a few miles away but have things to offer. One loaf gets me a gallon of raw fresh milk,one loaf at the post office gets me two dozen eggs. Being isolated in a rural area and not knowing and trusting neighbors would not be a good place to be. We’ll need each other to barter. Open lines of communication and foster trust with the people who will be near you. That way you’re not just the nut flat lander who showed up with a bunch of guns and expected to be accepted in their community.

If your lucky enough to have milk near by or have a cow or goat of your own Keeping milk for any length of time is tricky and could pose health problems if you’re not careful. I started making yogurt at home too. search crock pot yogurt or making yogurt at home. I never cared for yogurt but hadn’t had it made fresh before. the learning curve at home is easier than having to start learning when its crucial.

I started with 2% at home in my crock pot warm to 180* and let cool to 115, 1/2 gallon at a time. When its 115 remove a few cups and inoculate with some live active culture. any store-bought live plain yogurt works to begin. Whisk in your inoculation( 1/2 cup of yogurt) Cover with a towel, jacket or blanket to keep warm over night. Or put in your oven with the light bulb on, if you have power .

My first batch looked like a lot of yogurt and figured it would sit in the fridge and not get used, or I’d make bread or a sauce or something. BUT it was gone the first day! The kids thought it was better than Ice cream and we had it for breakfast and desert. The fresh milk I get from the dairy farm made the best thick creamy stuff you could imagine. A spoon would stand up in it. It is good with berries or cereal.

I strain some in a coffee filter to make Greek yogurt that rivals cream cheese. Sauces with wild onion, chive, fresh garlic or other spices can help almost any meal taste better. My work with milk for making cheese has been a slow process. Some of the results have been ok but I have time here to work on honing my cheese making skills. I don’t want to be out in the woods trying to make my milk supply last and fail out there. The byproducts of cheese making and Greek yogurt is whey. It is a fine additive to any good bread makers mix. don’t waste anything. Hone your skills now, live it, do it while you have time.

Man does not live by bread alone. I have made some grape wine that was a good addition to any meal. Sugar and yeast are present in grapes making them the perfect candidate for making alcohol. Apples are abundant in my area and hard cider is a fine drink too. I add a cup of sugar to the apple cider and it starts working its magic making hard cider. Finding bottles to fill is often tricky but I have two good supplies. One is a fancy bar that sells imports with porcelain tops.

They give them away and oblige them buy hoarding as many as I can make space for. My other often untapped source for screw cap bottles is my local church. They recap the bottles and put them top down in the original box. a dozen bottles needing little care to reuse as they had wine in them already. My other commodity from the churches are candle stubs.

We’ll all need lighting in our retreat and candles will light the way to an evening of reading. I have hundreds of candles I made from scrap wax and fifty pounds of wax waiting to be melted. Using a double boiler, water in a pan and a #10 can of candle stubs I melt the wax. First find a tall vessel maybe 12-18 inches high to pout the melted wax into. Cut cotton string twice the length of the candle you want to make and add 4 inches or so. I suspend a wooden spoon or yard stick nearby and dip the doubled up string in the wax.

Hang them one candle on each side of the yard stick to cool a dozen at a time. As the last string is hung the first will be cool enough to dip again. Tapered candles are fun to make, give as gifts and can have color or scented wax added to the last dipping . They make good hand-made gifts now and stockpiled for future use as well. Start now opening up your source of wax and practice.

Anyone who has a garden know about feast and famine. The glut of food produced in the summer is nice but don’t waste an opportunity to stock up. Grandma liked “putting up” fresh stuff to save some harvest for winter. Done right its rewarding.

I have had luck finding mason jars in local online venues offering stuff for sale. Some of my home-made goods I sold for seed money to buy food for pantries, food banks and soup kitchens. I am in a small state and there are 300 soup kitchens and the number is growing. I posted a want add to buy jars old new , large or small. I ended up with 5 bushel baskets of jars, some real old ones with blue glass. I keep some of my jellies and sauce now but most goes to buy food for the ones without any.

Anyone who has hunted deer know it’s a skill you develop over time. Being thrust into a situation where you need to feed your family and don’t know the rules will hard place to be. You’re in the animals living room, they know the rules.

Sound and scent will give you away, perseverance and skill will keep you alive. Once you do get the 100 lbs of venison, how will you keep it? Canned meat is and option if you possess the skills to do so and have lots of jars for that purpose. But smoked meat is stable if kept in a dry palce.Here again is a huge learning curve you don’t want to gamble on in times of need. Hunting skills took me years to master.

Our skills and goods will be a good thing to barter. Will you be able to turn away a stranger or neighbor or friends and family. Or have to send them packing with a load of buck shot trailing them? Or have to because you’re not proficient in real world skills? If you can’t feed them you’ll at least be able to teach them and then they can be an asset to your needs. and have made a friend not a new enemy. A recent hurricane made me a popular guy. Neighbors knew who to ask, if I hadn’t offered already, a cord to plug-in to my generator. I made several new friends and used the opportunity to foster lines of trust and communications for future needs. I passed out hand-made candles and kept their freezers from shutting down.

Making a good on any situation is an important. That hurricane provided me with work and wood. I was paid to remove trees and brush, as well as stocking up on fire wood. Now I’m selling fire wood from my surplus.

The long and short is start now living simply. Don’t be forced to adapt when its crucial. Gandhi said “live simply , so others can simply live” Keep on preppin…

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

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


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

    Good post. If or when stores are closed for good, the items you have in your storage and the knowledge in your head will be your ‘ trade goods’.

  2. Stark contrast for some folks between surviving and living. I look at it like this, for the most part survival is three tiers. The first tier is the simplist, survive, feed yourself and stay alive. Tier two is to maintain some level of safety and tier three is just that, living. Holding on to what scraps of Life you have left that give you hope. This is the part of survival that often gets people through the very toughest times and out the other side. Survival IS living its really just a matter of material things and comfort level.

  3. Enjoyed the read, thanks for sharing it.

    When it comes to making candles, don’t forget that you can also make them from Tallow, I have been making a number of sheep tallow candles this year and they have turned out excellent.

    • I’ve wondered if a tallow candle smells like your cooking something? Do they smoke and make stuff black?
      thanks for reading, keep on preppin…

      • Hi Jet,

        Thanks for asking, it was a learning curve in regards to the tallow candles myself, I had read about the fats used in history and was interested to read that lamb or sheep tallow was considered “middle class” tallow and second only to beewax in use, in fact it was often used to make beewax go further.

        I clean my fats well, and they come out pure white, I did learn that I had to let them air dry before remelting and making them into candles otherwise, if made fresh, they would sputter a tiny bit as they burned (from leftover water). They burn pure and clean, no smell, no smoke, no black..


  4. Wow! Nice article!

  5. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    I’m very interested in hearing more about “Capturing natural yeast in the air”.

    • As long as we are talking about making a sourdough type starter, Then the process is quite easy, there are a number of ways to make it happen, in regards to making a starter, you can do the raw potato starter, the Honey Starter, the hops Starter, yogurt sourdough starter and fermented grape starter.

      However as you asked about the most basic, the natural yeast starter, I will go with it.. If you do any kind of yeast bread making, your starter will go much faster then if you don’t bake at all..

      Mix your flour and water till its a thin paste, place in a clean jar or glass bowl, cover with cheese cloth to keep it clean and let it sit at room temp, give it a stir once a day, adding a little more warm water/flour, always keeping it a think paste, it will start to bubble and have a yeasty fermented smell, at which point you have a working starter, take half and use for making bread or whatever you want to use it for, take the other half and add more flour/water and let it sit..

      Now having said that, I kept hearing about grape and wild yeasts being naturally one them, as I have a organic grape vine, that has nothing sprayed on it, I made my paste, took two clean looking big grape leaves and patted them into the paste, and then dripped it off.. the starter was much faster to go, and its a lovely flavoured starter.. This year, I am going to try the proper fermented grape starter to see if its better..

      If the auther is taking about a different method of catching yeast? I will be interested in learning about it.

      • Hunker-Down says:


        “you can do the raw potato starter, the Honey Starter, the hops Starter, yogurt sourdough starter and fermented grape starter”.

        No I cant!

        We request that you write an article titled; Guide For Idiots – How to make STARTER YEAST” seven different ways. Please write it to a reader (me) who doesn’t know how to measure anything.

        Since we cant store yeast long term, having this skill may save lives.

        • new prepper says:

          Would love to see that article. Would be very valuable

        • Ok Hunker Down,

          For you, I will try again to write a article that I think is good enough to share.. I just don’t feel that I can write nearly as well as others do.

          I won’t be ablet o do all of the ones listed above in a single write up as it would be way to long..

          • Hunker-Down says:


            Don’t let grammar get in the way of communicating.

          • FarmerKin says:

            Farmgal, I’m so glad I read through this article and came across your comment. This is something that I have read about but never really understood until now. This is a skill that many of us would like to know more about … especially all those variations you mentioned. Your write-up above is very good, easy to understand and very helpful. I thank you for it!

            I am fairly new here, but have the impression that someone picked at your writing at one time. If that is the case, it’s too bad that is all they had to offer. We all have different skills, some can write, and some can do … I would much rather be able to DO. And you seem to have that territory covered.

            Please, DO write the article. I’m sure it will be great and it will be appreciated by many.

            Thank you again for what you have shared!

            • Thanks guys, I have finished it and sent it to M.D. so as long as it meets his approval 🙂 then it should be up at some point in the near future.

        • Hunker-Down,

          First thing: your are 100% correct that Farmgal should write a stater article (almost wrote starticle). Wish I knew half of what Farmgal knows and has experience at.

          That said. A point to make on your statement “Since we can’t store yeast long term, having this skill may save lives.” Are we survivalists or a bunch of spoiled yuppies : ). I’d hate to think that anyone would die because they don’t have yeast.

          If all you had was some flour and salt you should get by fine. With oil milk or eggs in addition you should be in the realm of fine cuisine. With only baking powder you should see yourself a 21st century baking guru.

          Here some recipes for flour with no leavening at all:

          Roti Flatbread Recipe:




          Even Hardtack (ugh):

          All can be cooked on an open fire or in a container of boiling water.

          But while I enjoy making and eating most on this list I would certainly be happy to also have oven baked sourdough bread So, please Farmgal, I can’t wait to start my own starter…

          • No one will die without yeast. I for one would miss sandwiches and warm bread. No man can live on bread alone but yeast does so much more for us, it converts sugars to alcohol. A glass of home made wine and a some bread and cheese might sound yuppie but its a good night. Beer saved the world by purifying water and traveled as liquid bread.
            We can survive with out bread, beer, wine and yeast. But who would want to.
            New jet-ism “man cannot, should not live on MRE’s alone, let em eat bread.”

            • Hi Jet-
              I’m glad you’ve become a regular poster. Your comments are right on the mark and make me chuckle!

            • Hey Jet, I forgot to say thanks for your great article. You sound like you’d be a great neighbor and friend in good times or bad. I wasn’t trying to sound like the ultimate hardcore grub eater. I just wanted to point out to everyone that without yeast we could still be eating well – much less starving to death.

              I’m pretty sure the majority of asian cultures get by fine with almost no bread in their diets, lots of others cultures eat more non-leavened products like tortillas, flatbreads and such. I wonder why? Rising times? Maybe ovens are not efficient for single households? Probably because you can cook them on an open fire.

              Anyways what seem like exotic or gourmet foods to us are often simpler and faster to make than a basic loaf of bread: homemade pasta, spetzle, dumplings, tortillas, indian fry bread, etc.

              I try to learn and think about how peasants around the world keep themselves nourished and try to model my preps (and frankly my family’s meals) around those plans.

              Anyhow thanks again for your nice article.

              p.s. I have never eaten an MRE and don’t have any plans to. Of course I’d never turn my nose up at one either – I just think they are unnecessarily expensive.

      • I, too, would appreciate more info about these starters, especially the “Capturing natural yeast in the air and getting a sour dough started”.

        How much flour? How much water? This would be very helpful.

        • O, I had to go to the kitchen and start a batch to figure out what I normally do, I don’t measure typically..I will take photos of the process.

          So to start a basic batch, I washed and rinced a qaurt jar, then in a bowl I mixed one cup of plain flour (I typically use white as I have had more touchy results when I start with brown or whole ground IMHO) and it turns out I needed one and half cups of warm (not hot) water to get my thin paste, about the thickness of crepe recipe? if that helps, I blended it well with a wooden spoon till smooth, and then poured it into my clean an warmed quart jar, it filled it about half way, covered with cheese cloth and a put a rubber band over the outside to hold it, then placed it on top at the back of the fridge as its a warm spot in my kitchen to let it do its thing. I will check it once a day and give it a stir, it will start to bubble and get a yeasty smell..

          • Thanks Farmgal…I’m going to start on today. When do you know it’s done? And can it be stored in the fridge after or does it need to be used right away?

            • Hi Mt. Women

              It typically takes 3 days in my summer weather, and I have had it take up to seven days in winter as I run a cool house, but it will bubble and take on a sour smell and it will “weep” a clear or slightly yellow liquid on top when ready..

              At that point, you can use it, pour it into your bowl, and add the same amount of flour and water you started with, give it a good beating, put half of it back into a fresh washed jar and then you can store in the fridge (as long as you use it once a week and feed it in this way it will keep going, if you don’t use it, you still need to feed it with some fresh flour/water) and then with the half in the bowl, make your sour dough bread, or buns, or pancakes etc, just remember that it takes alot longer to get a rise on the breads, so where a traditional yeast bread might be ready in three to four hours of rise time, my sourdough typical takes 12 to 24 hours or you can let it rest even longer for more flavour to be ready.

              There is a way to save it for future use, in one of my old yukon books during the gold rush, the folks would carry their sourdough starter under their cloths for their body heat to keep it alive, thought that was clever.

              Each starter will have its own flavour to a point, so don’t be afraid to start at different times of the year and play with it, till you catch a strain you really like.

              I am working on that post, it will have more detail but hope that helps answer your question.

            • Encourager says:

              You can also dry the starter in your dehydrator. You can then later on reconstitute it and it should still be alive and will work.

    • Matt
      I googled it about 3 years ago and what i learned was yeast exist in the air. San fran has is own strain and the 49ers took it to alaska in the gold rush. What i did was simple, cup of water and a cup of flour. in a jar. A fter a day add a spoon of water, warm is better and a spoon of flour. after a few days of feeding it the same way It will begin to rise and show bubbles. At that point aI put it in the fridge covered. People talk about miners keeping it in a pouch near them at night gaurding it keeping it warm and alive. Heat, over 95-100 degrees I think is what kills it. One jar I leave in my retreat up north is neglected for months frozen. I warm it up feed it and it wakes up nicely. You keep it at a pancake batter consistancy. Baking is a matter of creating a sponge, a large batch, lets say 2 cups flour 2 water and add a half cup of starter and a pinch of salt ( very acurate measurement, more than a smidgen). It inoculated the flour/ water mix with the half cup of sour dough starter and it starts eating, producing bubbles and rising.. Then punch down add sugar, and some oil or butter or crisco, I guess bacon grease would be fun to try. Milk and eggs are always a treat in bread but baking is a skill of timing , temp in the room the wetness of the dough all take practice to learn. And never waste a bad batch, make pizza from dough that wont rise right or pancake batter. I have made my share of bricks too, they get made into bread crumbs brid food or into my compost.
      Easter is coming, sweet bread with a whole egg baked in the middle! I bought some banty eggs today, small green/blue freerange eggs. I can almost smell it baking
      Keep preppin…

      • JET-
        My family is of Greek heritage… we call the Easter bread koloura. Learning to make that from my grandmothers (they each had their own ‘secret’ recipes to hand down to me, the only local granddaughter of two traditional families) is one of the prepper skills that I learned almost from infancy.
        Nothing yummier than Easter bread on Easter Sunday for breakfast, along with red (and Americanized pastel) eggs and fresh coffee.

  6. Stay at Home Step Dad says:

    Inspiring article Jet. I wish I could better inspire those around me, spouse included.

    Thank you.

    • We teach best when we inspire others. They can absorbe your skills by watching and emulating. I make lists daily, today was 5 things but acomplished 6. My work is so slow that I have time and hate to waste anything lewt alone hours of sunlite. Keeping busy and productive keeps the grmlins away. Those nasty thoughts of being out of work and useless/ worthless. i’ve cut so much wood and split that I am selling it when I can. I’ll even stack a cord just to keep busy and help and older person . My home made foods sell at church and other meeting I attend. The money buys food for pantries in my area. How can you meet your maker and expalin” i kept food for myself when My neighbor was hungry”?
      We dont go to restaurants anymore, cant afford it. I make fine meals some self inspired others from online cooks .com. I know my woth and push myself to be the best unemployed husband possible. Many of my old freinds used to say your hen pecked, all of them are single men again.
      Keep on preppin

  7. I think you are absolutey right that anyone that thinks they will just bug out and survive are extremely delusional. Unless you have a peice of property or someplace specific to bug out to you are just going to be someone elses zombie hoard. And if you think that the people where you think you are going to bug out to will not treat you like all the rest who have buged out to their backyard you are in seroius denial. M.D. I don’t know if you have done a survey of the pack on who is buggin in, out and if out to their own or somone else place or just to wherever, it would be interesting on the % of the pack that are just bugging out with no specific place to go to. Even if you lived close to Nat. forest land or something like it unless you have great backwoods skills you would not make it more than a month.

    • I only considered “bugging out” when I was a younger single man. With a wife and kids bugging out is no longer in the play book – unless we get flooded out or some such. Then we’re just bugging out to a hotel : ).

      But I considered it back in 2003. That year I was doing a lot of long backpacking trips anyway and SARs was on people’s mind. I considered it a reasonable option to jump in my car and drive out to the mountains in national park lands to get away from the masses spreading the disease. If push came to shove I’m sure it would run through my mind again (even with two boys under 3) in cases of an epidemic or bioterrorism.

      Does that make any sense to you?

  8. Mary in GA says:

    A good article and a good attitude to boot! It sounds like you’re developing many skills and helping others in the process! 🙂

    • Mary
      I am flattered by your comment. Every action we make has consequenses. I figure if someone needs food now and I have a basement full I am not being equitable. Some day one of “those who have none” may see the same black truck with no gas or a flat tire and say Hey Thats JET He’s OK lets return the favor. One morning I was dropping off food for a pantry locally and an old man came to help, it was 7 am and the pantry started dispensing food at 11, he was happy to wait tho. I picked his brain and he said he would help me find mushrooms locally. He lived to well into his 90″s he had some knowledge to share.
      another trip dropping off the pastor said we cant leav e food out on the porch, They steal it. I replied, if they steal it then they need it! i understood his point. The growth obtained sharing, giving teaching is huge, it expands your world. And being unemployed for nearly 3 years its a small world.

      • Encourager says:

        Jet, thanks for the great article. I would like to add that if your starter ever develops a pink or greenish liquid, throw it out and sterilize your container. It means it picked up a bad bacteria, not a good one. I have had the liquid look grey or even blackish and it was fine. The old timers would drink the liquid – pure alcohol. If you want a thicker batter, pour it off. A thinner batter, stir it in.

        My very favorite thing to make is sourdough english muffins. You cook them on top of the stove on a griddle, not in the oven.

  9. Where I live, there are many New Jersey and Connecticut owners who bought, looking for a bolt-hole. I am terrified that they will all come flooding in, expecting to be able to live off the land with no preparations, and expect us locals to help them. Please, if you buy a place, consider the people who are already living the life and try fitting in now, not when TSHTF. Yes, we know what we are doing, and are willing to help now, but if things go bad, there won’t be time, and it will be too late to learn better.

    • amen Toni
      unplug and get to know the neighbors. Our power outage last summer was a good oportunity. WHo was unprepared, who would share. Who to count on and I got lots of fire wood.
      At my retreat the neighbors are leery of flatlanders. Nothing opens a freindship like” here try some warm bread. I just baked it in my wood oven”. warm bread and a smile, open many doors. Once they learn not all “city folk” are bad they open up. BUT I will always be a “come here, not a from here”

  10. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. why is it not mentioned at all that when the SHTF that it is in our own interest to fight against the evil that is trying to kill us? why is everyone so passive and only wanting to live long, even if it is on their knees? is life that precious that it must be held at any cost? are creature comforts that important that our nation can simply be turned over to the Jackals without a single note of protest?

    • Politics come and go, but life goes on, one way or another. Prepping gives “them” one less thing to control us with.

    • The protest notes are hanging on the walls of the town squares filled with blue tarp tents. The ocupods are doing the bidding of jackals and maybe without knowing it. THEY protest Banks banks that were encouraged to loan money to people who had no horse in the game.
      Those who have taken up arms and answered the call know its not a thing to be taken up lightly. We teach truth, encourage responsible voting and remove the bums legally.My post being referred to as passive is ….. confusing. I am reflecting on keeping my belly full, lights on in the house. Living resposibly now.
      Defending my self, my food my family or anything I hold dear, now or later is something I dont discuss in public. It would be like playing poker in front of a mirror. Your passion is powerful for what you speak of. But An angry mind is clouded, keep focused you’ll need a cool head to think clearly in the fight to come.

      • ” Defending my self, my food my family or anything I hold dear, now or later is something I dont discuss in public.”

        I agree. And since within my prepper group, it is not my place/experience to play the part of defense (that is up to more capably-trained and experienced members), I watch the conversations posted on the subject here with interest… but a bit unease. I like the people here, and don’t want to see them hurt by their public conversations on the subject. I do understand their need to communicate with others with similar knowledge and experience.
        It is good (I think) that recently, such subjects are becoming less common on this site.
        The wagons are circling.

  11. Kelekona says:

    Wow. My dream-life is to someday be a homesteader who would barely notice if the rest of the world went away. Not completely realistic, but close enough to what is possible. Trouble is that I’m not working on it because we can’t get there until we stop being here. (I suppose I could try to start a wild sourdough, even if most of the first colonists are escaped brewer’s yeast, but yogurt isn’t something I would keep alive.)

    In the meantime, I guess I’m living in a background fear of having to “die by my wits” without the courage to test myself needlessly. I guess it is an unrealistic hope to start screaming questions at the sky about why I’m able to scream questions at the sky six months into some forced vision quest, especially as a soft person.

    I suppose that almost everyone would suffer under a compulsory ascetic/austere lifestyle. Some people would take it hard not to mall-crawl for a new disposable tank-top, I play games with how much I want certain foods vs how long I could go without leaving the house before I starved to death. (It’s actually pretty surprising how long I can go without even touching the dehydrated milk, but that’s with a working freezer.)

    • SarcasticSam says:

      Agreed. Leave no yogurt standing. And those lousy sourdough yeast colonies deserve to be put down. Without mercy.
      I too have gone weeks without touching my powdered milk and eggs or Mountain House goodies; sort of a no freeze dried foods fasting vision quest. Did go to Frye’s and Costco for butter, milk and eggs. But that’s different. And there are worse ways to die than by your wits. But, I doubt if you will die by such……

  12. SurvivorDan says:

    How about; “I don’t want to simply live…..I want to live simply.”
    But I guess that was the gist. Good advice. Live simply now and prosper during a down turn….or precipitous drop off.

    I was buying preps the other day. Going from store to store looking for the best buys for my $300 allocated. At the end of the day, I was pleased with the results. Then I was informed that my youngest boy home on leave from the Corps wanted to go out to a steak dinner on his last night home. Of course we took him and his girlfriend out and it was a great evening. I’m glad we went out….good memories. Still…….. in the back of my mind I keep thinking that I could have purchased 200 pounds of wheat with that $110. Some may cry “cheapskate!” but I have changed my life style and restaurant dinners are very, very rare. Sacrifice. Live simply.
    Just cut 4 of the 6 people out of our little prepper group because they do not sacrifice and prepare. They rely on me and the other core member to stockpile. Their excuses for not reaching goals while they are: go to StarBucks every day, eat out at restaurants, buy $1000 mountain bikes, buy the 8 year old the latest I-Pod, get a 65″ HD TV (for gaming), etc. They have made a choice to spend and borrow and value the frivolous. That latest game or I-phone will not keep you and your loved ones alive.
    “The long and short is start now living simply. Don’t be forced to adapt when its crucial. ” Jet-ism
    Live simply……..and live.

    • SD…I too live simply and beneath my means…and with regard to having to jettison friends/preppers who are not prepping – the people I had to let go were also playing/gambling at the pokies and Keno, and stated to my face – with no shame – that they were relying on me and my preps/skills/stores etc. And that is not all of it either…however no need for me to go into it here.

      I was so shocked – am still not over it…can see it still affects you too re your ex-prepper friends. cheers.

    • Its not that I dont like spending money I ma frugal about spending what i worked for. Some nighbors have called me drill SGT when disciplineing the kids. He happens to have a grand son from his 16 year old but I digress. Its ok to have nice things but wait till you have extra cash. We were able to save and buy 35 acres witha cabin and a spring. My hope is to have time to make it more secure. There is plenty up this old salts sleeve for that kind of thinking. I have a mock IED in the big room, if anyone comes in they may think twice about entering, its pretty ominous looking.
      Semper fi thanx for your service

      • ps
        I reread, and your son is a marine Then thank him for me. I am alarmed at the apathy of so many, they are content to be plugged in so deep they are in withdrawl when the power goes out.
        I tried teaching how to skin a rabbit to some scouts once. The angry Moms and dads tried to have me thrown out of the scouts. There are worse thing sold as entertainment on the big screen than than how to make a meal out of a rabbit raised for meat.
        When the lights go out the texters and gammers are hoping the shooting skills will pay off in the real world. It will be sad to watch. But lazy people will be with us always. Maybe they will form the new govt.

  13. SurvivorDan says:

    Jeesh! My manners! Nice article Jet. I did give you attribution with that jet-ism. Lol. Thanks for contributing.

  14. This article deserves a prize, for conveying both knowledge and wisdom in one pleasant to read package.

  15. Carl in W.V. says:

    That’s my goal for this day and age. I am working every day toward a life of living simple. I have been working 2 job’s plus my at home taxidermy shop just to get my little homestead up and running. Ah one of these day’s it will all be worth while. Thank’s Jet for the great article.

  16. tommy2rs says:

    Great article! Thought I’d offer another couple of bread making options that I have used over the years.

    Salt rising bread is another option for when commercial yeast runs out. Recipes are easy to find online. Basically it’s fermented potatoes and cornmeal. The thing about this method is it’s best to do it outside and downwind. Real downwind. The smell is something like a cross between rancid gym clothes and rotten Parmesan cheese but it does make tasty bread.

    I’ve also made sourdough starter from mashed potato flakes, sugar and water. I just left it to set on the counter in a small crock, covered with cheesecloth. Then it’s just a matter of catching the ferment before it goes over to alcohol. Or not if you want to distill some vodka…lol. I used this one exclusively for many years to make bread, biscuits, pancakes, even made a cake or two to see if I could. I thought they were alright but my daughters were unenthusiastic to say the least.

    The best part of the potato water starter is it never tries to crawl out of the crock like a really active flour based sourdough can.

    • Tommy2rs,
      “The smell is something like a cross between rancid gym clothes and rotten Parmesan cheese …”

      Thanks. Really needed a good laugh.

    • My first sour dough was a vile change from the soft fragrant breads. I’ve been working on”sweet and sour” if you look up sweet breads they have eggs and of course lots of sugar and milk. My sour dough now is light , fluffy and the envy of the neighborhood. If you see me coming witha bag and jar of jelly its a good day. There is only one thing better than the smell of fresh bread, and that is the look on your frinds face when they smell it , warm in thier hand.

  17. Jet, that was an excellent post…you are definitely walking the walk…and reminds me of how much more I need to do and learn.

    Instead of moaning about what you don’t have…you focused on what you do have and can see you are thriving.

    May God continue to bless you. And thank you for being such a wonderful example of a prepper – you are an inspiration. cheers.

  18. Hi Jet- Thank you for writing this article. It was a good way to end my evening. Now I can go to bed and have pleasant dreams.
    Thank you so much and good night,

    • Churchmouse says:

      Dear Cat and everybody,
      I have very sweet dreams too with JET sleeping right next to me.
      I am a wife who lives in amazement at the accomplishments of this man. He is busy every minute of his waking hours. He sits down to eat, to make lists, and to talk with me about his next P.O.D. (plan of the day).
      He journals too which is what we recommend to anyone.
      I am nowhere near as talented as he is but I have recently learned to knit. I would love to learn how to spin wool and keep sheep….a lofty idea and one I would probably not be able to do without JET. But I am learning to live simply too. And I am learning to do things to be more of a help to JET……..like no more Coach bags LOLOL. I was way too extravagant.
      When we were younger, so many of his/our friends thought he was henpecked because he was considerate of me. The guys would approach ME and say, “Can JET come out to the pub…etc?” I would reply that I was not JET’s mother, I was his wife and he is a man and makes his own decision if he wants to go to the pub or not. We are the only ones out of several handfuls of couples that are still married….27 years next month.
      But my husband IS a true man, not a boy that treats his wife like some kind of surrogate mother that he happens to sleep with…(eeewww that sounds awful LOL), but it’s true. My husband had never had to tip toe around me because he is considerate.
      So when he wants to buy a generator, or 5 bushels of mason jars,
      or a tractor I just laugh and wait to see what he’s going to do next. My mother used to watch him in amazement. He is amazing. I am a very fortunate woman but the key to a happy marriage is to BE a woman and let your man BE a man. And be considerate of one another. I really do not want to seemy husbands “feminine side” and hope he doesn’t have one actually.
      I am one woman that says that men and woman ARE different and were created to be so. It’s the complementarity, the differences that make it interesting and fulfilling.
      I am trying to catch up though. With him, I would survive hands down no problem, by myself, I wonder.
      He got me some flint and I want to learn how to start a fire. Every woman I think should learn this to boil water , for warmth etc. but there is so much that comes to him almost naturally and to me it’s a big learning curve. But I have the BEST teacher now don’t I?
      He is the penultimate provider and sustainer. It’s not enough for a man to provide, he must sustain and that’s where we wives come in to assist in anyway we can and in every aspect.
      Now, to really brag, get this. He once went to qualify (I forget for what) on an archery range. The guy running it explained
      he had to get 3 out of 5 arrows in the bullseye range. He shot the first arrow and it landed dead center. He shoots the second one. It split the first arrow to its middle. The guy running the range told him he didn’t need to make anymore shots. (he still has the stuck together arrows downstairs).
      Believe me when I tell you, men like this exist. They’re out there.
      They are real MEN that know how to treat women and provide for their families. As a woman I don’t need to try and be like a man to prove I can do things and have some competion with men. No. I am a woman who has inate talents of her own that my husband does not and I use them to help him. We each help each other to be a better man and woman. That’s the way it works. He leaves his socks on the floor next to the bed….and I really don’t care. I pick them up and start my day. The day the socks arent there will be a sad day. (But I do pray God take me first because I don’t want to be a day with out him).
      Keep Prepping and being Preppers true helpers.
      (JET’s wife)

      • Encourager says:

        Churchmouse, what an awesome post!!! What a GREAT love story you just told! You two stand side by side, one compliments the other; exactly what God had in mind when He said – What God has joined together, let no man pull asunder. It has been said a woman needs love, a man needs respect. Your respect for your man brought tears to my eyes. He is one lucky man! And YOU are one lucky woman…actually, luck has nothing to do with it, does it? You both work on your marriage, it is evident! God bless you both!

      • Hi Churchmouse-
        I don’t know how I missed your post… but I love your story!
        You have captured beautifully what we all strive to grow toward with our spouses. To complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses, respect each others’ goals, helping where we can or if not help, at least step out of the way until we understand what is needed better! When I married my husband, I vowed to make his goals my goals, to help him find his happiness and help make his dreams become real. Well… I have to say, that getting there is harder than just saying it! But every day, we get closer to truly understanding each other, closer to that ideal, and I never forget that first vow.
        Your beautiful story… sounds like you have found that goal together.
        God Bless you both,

  19. It’s time to stop arguing over the culture war. It’s time to stop hunkering down for the apocalypse. It’s time to stop waiting to get beamed up. It’s time to start thinking Normandy.

    If you sit home waiting your turn you deserve to have your gun taken from your cold dead hands.

    The Founders didn’t wait for the Brits to knock down their doors. They gathered at the green and stood up like men and they killed government employees all the way back to Boston.

    What will you do when it’s time to hunt NWO hacks, republicrats and commies(“Liberals” and ‘progressives’)?

    Don’t understand? Start here: http://willowtown.com/promo/quotes.htm

    Then read my column ‘Prepping for Slavery’: http://www.willowtown.com/promo/blogfpprepslvry.htm

    • Don’t worry, there will be plenty of those kind of people around. But when all is said and done, there will still be a need for the ones who know how to grow and prepare the food, make the clothes, and raise the next generation. I want to be one of them!

    • Many of us took up arms already for our country. served proud, we answered the call.
      I gaurded Nukes, carried a weapon, slepd 20 feet from”special weaps” never confirming or denying the use or presence of nukes. I was trusted by my govt as a young man. soon after discharge I was denied a pistol permit, the detective said I dont ike punks like you having guns in my city. It was my wake up call. Dont worry ,way past , many of us old dogs have had enough and know when and who to bite. The when is bigger than the who.
      think of the old bull and young bull over looking the herd.

  20. NC Farm Girl says:

    Good post and excellent comments.

    We built a brick oven and I have the skills to bake bread in it. This will be one of my biggest barter items. I have stored a lot of yeast and can make my own sour dough starter. This year I will plant wheat for the first time and learn how to harvest it – will supplement our stored wheat berries. I try and learn new skills (and practice them) that I know I can use as barter and/or survival.

    I don’t want to just survive, I want to thrive! And, help as many people as possible without giving away the fact we are prepared! To me, it is important to help others.

    • Mary in GA says:

      NC Farm Girl,

      Good for you! I have been reading about building a brick oven. I would love to have one. You need to write an article for how you did yours. Some of the directions that I’ve read were a little over my head. I bet the bread is delicious.

      • BamaBecca says:

        I’d like to know how you did your brick oven too NC Farm Girl. I’ve had some ideas in the back of my mind about building one, but I need to acquire some bricks. Didn’t some of the Native Americans use brick ovens?

        • be sure to line the oven with special fire bricks and fire clay. typical mortar and brick wont hold to the heat.
          And yes I was a bricklayer
          damit jim I’m a bricklayer not a doctor

    • NC Farm Girl,

      I so wish you will write an article on how you built your brick oven or at least give us a link. Please take a picture too. You could also tell us the differences between cooking bread in a regular oven and cooking in a brick oven. And give us your recipe too.

      An article like this could easily in a prize, at least in my thinking. What do the rest of you think? HeeHeeHee. I hope you don’t feel too pressured.

      • NC Farm Girl says:

        Bam Bam,

        I learned how to build the oven by reading several articles and books on it. The instructions I found were usually for larger or much smaller ovens than I have (I can bake 10-12 loaves of bread at a time and get 2-3 bakings per firing) and I had to create my own plans and calculate out what materials I needed.

        I do not have any links that I believe are very are helpful (although, there are many sites on the web – just not enough info to build one – you need to read several books/articles to fully understand) or people will sell you plans (whatever!!) but one I used initially is:


        But, even this is not enough info. I also read several books (this was 2-3 years ago and I can’t remember any of them as most were not helpful). The one which had the most information and a step-by-step guide I borrowed from the library (all I have left from this is a few pages I copied which say, “Building a Brick-Fired Oven”, but I am unsure if this is the title of the book or just the chapter on building the oven. I do know the book is full of stories of ovens and their history. I wish I could help more. I looked online and found many titles but they are probably the ones I read and were not very helpful.

        I would write an article on this but I am not a mason and would have to plagerize other’s writing to convey the right information. Really, all I can say is read as much as you can. I was helped by a mason for laying the bricks and making the arch – I am not that skilled!

        For those of you that can afford it, there are classes around the country that teach this skill but they cost a lot – $3000 – 5000 and then you have to get a hotel and such AND you build an oven for someone else!!!! I did not do this.

        You do need to use fire bricks, make a special mortar and have a solid concrete base. The stove can get very hot inside and you don’t want it to crack. There are companies that sell the inner part of the oven – you build around it, but I did not like this idea, either.

        Bread from the oven is much better than from a conventional oven because it cooks faster (about 1/3 the time) which makes for a real great crust. It is more like “artisan” bread.

        Some good bread baking books are: “The Bread Builders’ Hearth Loaves & Masonry Ovens”, by Daniel Wing; “Crust & Crumb”, by Peter Reinhart; and “Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads”. I took a class with Peter Reinhart at Johnson & Wales University in NC and he has other classes throughout the country. Look him up – he is great and teaches you a better way of baking!

        I wish I could be more help. Maybe Jet could add some thoughts.

        The cost is dependent on the size of oven you build. Mine cost around $700 just for the bricks, mortar and concrete base – then I paid the mason and built a building to cover the oven and provide me with space to make the bread – it is almost a Summer Kitchen type thing.

        I will take a picture of it and post later.

    • Encourager says:

      NC Farm Girl, where did you get your plans for the brick oven?

  21. Bulldog94 says:

    Thanks Farmgal! I am inspired and have wanted to bake my own bread for forever. Now is th etime for me and my lady to get off our butts and get it done!
    Have a great weekend guys!

  22. Good articles including comments. I would like to add from my own experiences for everyone:

    I have used old silver dollars to preserve milk, put down a container in a cool well back in the 50’s when our block ice melted at our grandpa’s cabin. We lived primitively for weeks without electricity for fun. When in question about milk you can always simmer it to kill germs.

    If there is a question about home canned meat stored for a while, cook it for 20 minutes to kill harmful bacteria before eating.

    I have used salt, vinegar and cumin on strips of raw venison to preserve it, hung it dry for a couple weeks and it lasted months…I ate it before it spoiled 3 months down the road so after that time, I don’t know how long it would last…..I got very addicted to it. People would say when I pulled a strip of cured ugly wrinkled venison from my pocket to eat, “Eeeuuuchhh! what is that!???”… “Heaven”, I would reply…..

    Most of what I learned was born out of necessity. I too have done air-yeast starters, but it didn’t take several days— in warm weather I set it out side by my garden, covered with a thin layer cheesecloth and let floating yeasts from flowers and plants and the warmth of the day do their trick in12 to 18 hours.

    I used to make my own burritos/tortillas from flour when in a hurry and it was just as good as bread….to tear off a piece and scoop up chorizo (egg mixed with hot sausage), for sandwiches, soft tacos, or warmed/toasted over the grill for jelly. Unleavened breads are great.

    What unfired dough I didn’t use for burritos that I had left over, I cut into strips like noodles and made a great noodle ‘dumplin with chicken, grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, wild turkey or goose. It asorbs the broth like dumping bread into the stew. Very yummy.

    When I had a long power outage, I went out into my yard and pulled up my solar yard lights and used them instead of using candles. Anything you burn in the house with a flame for light has a danger of fire to it, but not with solar yard lights..I placed them in a few tall flower vases I had around the house.

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