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Monday, February 2, 2009

Meals for $5.00 a Day (Per Person)

Prices of food continue to rise. Meanwhile, we are struggling to keep our heads above water. Some people talk about eating for only a dollar day, and some blog about $5.00 a meal. We're trying to do $5.00 a day (per person) so for our family, it would be $15 total a day. Here's the info we've researched:

Here's a list of what NOT to do if you're watching your pennies, like we are:
  • DON'T buy frozen dinners - they are full of salt and chemicals and not good for you anyway
  • DON'T buy the pre-packaged cereals
  • DON'T buy hot dogs or lunch meat
  • DON'T eat out or bring home fast or restaurant food
  • DON'T use refined flour or buy bread
  • DON'T buy pre-made cookies, puddings and other desserts
  • DON'T even look at the junk food, chips, crackers and soda pop - empty calories
Here's a few suggestions:
  • Buy rice, flour, salt, oil, popcorn, honey, pasta, nuts, sugar and beans in bulk from a bulk food club.
  • Make your own bread and other baked goodies.
  • Watch your portions. Americans eat way too much. Use smaller plates and follow the "per portion" suggestions on packages. You'll get used to it.
  • Stock up on dented but still good canned goods, and other canned goods when they go on sale. That means watching circulars and unadvertised sales.
  • Clip coupons. But if you're going to pay more for the item even with the coupon versus store brand, buy the store brand.
  • See if your grocery store has a discounted meat or discounted dairy section. If they do, ask when is the best time to find the best deals. Go then.
  • Don't buy deboned and deskinned meats because you're paying for that extra service. Buy whole meats on sale, cook, and freeze in meal portions. Use the bones to make broth.
  • Rely on soups, stews and stewps (thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew).
  • Grow as many fresh fruits and vegetables at home as you can. Make every bit of your landscaping edible - fruit trees, berry bushes, asparagas, rhubarb, and annual vegetables.
  • Learn to raise animals (like fish, chickens or rabbits) for meat, or hunt. Keep chickens for eggs - more bang for your buck!
  • Sprout your own seeds to eat the sprouts - a little goes a long way for nutrition.
  • Use your slow cooker (crockpot) regularly to make your dinner meal easy. If it's ready when you get home from work, you won't feel as tempted to order in.
  • Use aromatics (strong-smelling herbs, onions and garlic) to make the food more pleasing to your sense of smell and taste.
  • Be sure to have 2-3 different colors on your plate to make the food more pleasing to your sense of sight.

Here's a suggestion for one day:

  • Breakfast ($.69) - 2 eggs (.22), cheese (.1o), grits (.34), tea (.03)
  • Lunch ($1.22) - chicken salad (.67), 7 yellow pear tomatoes from garden (0), sliced apple (.55)
  • Dinner ($1.12) - black beans (.22), double serving rice (.12x2), vegetable salad from garden (0), salad dressing (.66)

Wow! The above total is $3.03 per person! We even have money leftover for snacks like dried fruit, nuts, or homemade flatbread. And VHTS could have a big glass of soy milk with his breakfast!

Most of the above is good info for people who are working to exist on their stored foods. Hopefully, our blog will help you find a way to eat your stored foods, like that big bag of rice or making your own bread.

So... who has tried to eat on $5.00 a day? Or less. We are trying, but with a Very Hungry Tween Son (VHTS) who is always hungry but can't eat wheat, we are averaging about $8.00 (gluten-free bread is expensive). However, we've discovered we can grind our bulk rice and bulk almonds to make an unbelievably delicious cookie-thing. We'll keep trying to reduce our costs.

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/meals-for-500-day-per-person.html

Recipe: Mushroom Chicken-N-Rice Bake

This is a recipe designed to use your stored foods... and it's cheap!

2 cups of rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dehydrated chicken dices
1 10.75-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients. Put into baking dish and bake uncovered for one hour.

Copyright (c) 2009 New View Group, LLC

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/recipe-mushroom-chicken-n-rice-bake.html

Prepare Time for Year 2009

How much of the following have you started on?
  • Bury cash money, food and a gun with ammo in the back yard (under a “shed”).
  • Buy a diesel truck, know how to fix it and make your own fuel for it.
  • Buy alternative heat backup, like a small propane heater.
  • Buy alternative sanitation system, like a waterless composting toilet, or learn how to build an outhouse.
  • Buy food from local suppliers, and in bulk from big shopping clubs.
  • Cancel extra luxuries like cable, eating out at fancy restaurants, etc. Find free entertainment, like free days at museums, story hour at the local libraries, etc.
  • Close your bank accounts. Pay with cash or money orders, and if you can’t afford it with cash, don’t buy it.
  • Figure out a way to do laundry if you lose plumbing and other utilities. We have a small hand-turned washer and wringer (called a Wonder Washer: http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_MC%20W100_A_name_E_[[ProductNameURL]] ), and bars to hang clothes in the basement as well as outdoors.
  • Get a pattern, and sew reusable and washable sanitary pads, diapers and underwear.
  • Get reference books on gathering edibles in the wild, and identifying plants, like mushrooms. Supplement your diet.
  • Grow a garden, even if you have to use a corner of your bedroom. Preserve by canning, dehydrating, smoking, etc.
  • Have 72-hour kits in your front closet, your car, and your desk at work – just in case of emergency.
  • Have a yard sale or two. Get rid of your clutter, and anything that can’t be used by your family. There is a place, however, for small amounts of sentimental items.
  • Have various sizes of candles, waterproof matches, lighters, lightsticks, flashlights, and extra batteries.
  • Keep a couple thousand dollars (as an emergency fund) in a safe or other hiding place in your home, in small bills. Don’t dip into it except in a case of extreme emergency, like a further economic crisis or major weather situation.
  • Keep alternative lighting and heating ready at all times.
    Keep at least 50 gallons of drinking water (stored in your home) at all times.
  • Pay off ALL of your debt. Canceling your cable and other luxuries will help you pay your mortgage, and cutting out fast food will let you pay extra on your mortgage. Remember, don’t buy what you can’t afford with cash.
  • Practice living without utilities – turn off the water, unplug the fridge and lights. Bundle up warmly if you do this in the Winter. Cook, eat, do dishes, shower, etc. outside. Then do what you can to live “off-grid” with solar or wind power (or other renewable energy) and alternative sources of water.
  • Store extra cleaning and personal hygiene items.
  • Store extra food – enough to provide for your family plus 2 for an entire year. Remember luxuries like hard candy and pudding mix. Learn how to cook with your stored foods (this blog - http://www.survival-cooking.blogspot.com/) gives a lot of suggestions.
  • Store extra over-the-counter and prescription medications and eye-glasses.
  • Store parts for your car, like air and oil filters, oil, brake fluid, battery, battery cables, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid and gasoline.
Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/prepare-time-for-year-2009.html

Money-Saver-Menu: Chicken, Rice, Salad

As you may have read, we're working to bring down our food costs. So, while at Sam's today, we bought:

- 25 pound bag of long grain rice for $11.88
- 2 whole chickens for $7.70
- lettuce for $2.47

The chickens are simmering in the crockpot with dried garlic and dried onions. We figure those will provide three meals for each of the three of us so 9 total meals. We calculate the rice to be $.12 per serving x 2 servings per person per meal (because we like rice) so $.24 per person per meal. The lettuce will last us 3 meals x 3 people too.

Adding in salad dressing and carrots from the store, here's our cost breakdown per person per meal:

$.80 = Crockpot chicken
$.24 = Rice
$.28 = Lettuce
$.66 = Salad dressing
$.04 = Carrots (5 baby)
$2.10 per person per meal

This doesn't include the honey on our rice or the dried garlic/onion in the crockpot for the chicken. So... to keep with our budget of $5.00 per day per person, this leaves $2.90 for the rest of our meals for those days. Easy to do with oatmeal for breakfast, egg salad and a can of fruit cocktail for lunch.

We'll be eating the above meal for dinner for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If there's any chicken leftover, we'll make soup with it and the broth on Sunday. That will bring our costs down even further!

p.s. Do you like the picture? We'll be using that same graphic every time we post a "Money-Saver-Menu".

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/money-saver-menu-chicken-rice-salad.html

Inventory Check: Rubbing Alcohol

Having a good store of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) and any other medical supply is essential when preparing for WTSHTF or emergencies/disasters.

Usually, your local dollar stores will have bottles of rubbing alcohol for a dollar each. We buy about 2-5 a month, and since we only use 1 bottle every 2 months, we are working to have lots stored.

It has uses other than cleaning wounds. We've read that some people use it as a deoderant.

What if you run out of rubbing alcohol? Try vinegar or vodka. Also, hydrogen peroxide is good for cleaning wounds, and is also found at the dollar store for a dollar.

Rubbing alcohol is good for cleaning medical supplies, like needles and scissors. If you don't have any, perhaps soaking them in voda, or getting them VERY hot (hold the needle in the flame of a candle) would do just as well.

Summary: check your inventory of rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and vodka! Then go buy some more!

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/inventory-check-rubbing-alcohol.html

Earning Money At Home

An important part of being self-reliant is not being part of someone else's bankroll. If you depend on a business that you don't really have any say in, you not only won't give it your all, but you could be let go at any time. Especially in this economy.

I love reading survival-type blogs, especially http://www.survivalblog.com/. Very often, these different websites address this quandry. Do you continue to live in a city, near a job that takes much of your time for little money, or do you save up to buy a place away from civilization, doing something that you love for (usually) little money? In this economy, it's an important decision.

You need to discuss the situation with your entire family. Everyone you live with. Look at things realistically. If you stayed where you are, and stayed with your job(s), are you happy? Do you make enough not only to live on but also to store up? To see you through worse times, like a blizzard or total dessimation of the economy?

But to be truly self-reliant, you will probably choose to NOT work for someone else.

Take a look at the things you and everyone in your family love to do. Your hobbies. Specialties. Skills. Dreams. Loves. Strengths and weaknesses. What about things you would do if you had land? Make a list of all of these. Do you do them well enough to sell? See if any of them can make you money. Is there are market for what you do? Research other families or small businesses that do what you're considering; how much money do they make a month/quarter/year?

How much do you need to buy some land and live somewhere else? Can you do it while you're working at your job? Do you have any experience running a business? If not, take a business course. Talk to business owners. Surf the web. School yourself.

Take some time to really think about this.

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/earning-money-at-home.html

Battery Maintenance

Whether it's in your car, RV, boat, or part of your off grid power system, batteries are important and need regular maintenance. To do this, you need a few things. First off is a battery brush. These make the job of cleaning the crud that accumulates on the terminals and posts quick and easy. To do this, disconnect the terminals, negative first, using the proper tool for the fasteners. Be extremely careful not to touch metal with the tool, especially on the positive side. Also avoid shorting the battery across the posts, or you'll get a crash course in arc welding! Push the brush onto a post, and turn it clockwise. Just a few twists will do it, and when finished, the post will be bright and clean. Use the male brush to clean the terminal lugs.

To prevent that crud from building up in the first place, get some terminal protectors. Don't know how they work, but they do! It's PFM for all you former military folks.... Also, spray those terminals with protectant for even better crud prevention.

Always keep the top of the battery clean. Moisture, crud, dirt, they can all conduct current and cause your battery to slowly discharge. Never leave a battery in direct contact with the ground for the same reason. Place it on a board, rubber mat, or some other dry, insulating material. In a vehicle, make sure the battery is properly secured in it's tray. For boats, RVs, or other purposes, it's a good idea to keep the battery in a marine battery box, which will prevent objects from falling on the terminals and shorting the battery, possibly causing an explosion or fire.

Make sure the battery box is well ventilated. Charging batteries give off hydrogen gas, which is extremely explosive. Always charge batteries in a well ventilated area!

The last thing maintenance wise is keeping the electrolite level topped off. Lots of batteries today are "maintenance free", but if there are removable caps on top, they are not. Use distilled water only when topping off the cells on a lead acid battery. Tap water will cause scale to build up on the lead plates, reducing battery life. And remember, it might go in as water, but it comes out as acid! It will burn you, and eat clothing, paint, and other stuff. Be careful!

For long term storage, it's best to keep the battery on a trickle charger. Never dishcarge a battery below 50%, as this will reduce it's life. Use deep cycle batteries for power systems, and cranking batteries for starting engines. Choose battery size by the amperage required from the intended load. And there ya have it, battery 101!

Original: http://texaspreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/02/battery-maintenance.html

Winter/Snow Camping Ideas and Tips

wintercamptiny Winter/Snow Camping Ideas and TipsThis past weekend several friends and I got together for some fun in the snow. About 50 of us (including kids) converged on the West Desert area of Utah for a couple days. I had some new winter camping ideas that I wanted to try out, I’ll go over those results here. I took a “barometer” of success with me for my experiments (being somewhat of a Polar Bear myself, I needed a better judge of my success). I have an 18 year old daughter that HATES the cold - she sleeps on a heater vent at home as often as she can, she wears heavy snow clothes when there’s an old inch of snow on the ground and it’s sunny.

I told her that I wanted to see if I could make her warm on this trip. While on the way home she reported that she was quite warm the entire trip with one exception - her feet were freezing in her boots most of the time. She identified for herself that she really does need to wear wool socks next time.

I wanted to try a couple improvisation ideas - basically how you could use summer camping gear to successfully keep 4 people (my 3 older kids and I) warm and protected in the winter. What I wanted to figure out was if putting a small tent in a large tent would keep you warm. Let me explain.


If you notice in the picture above, the orange fly covered tent is an 8 man, double dome, summer or 3-season tent. It is far from sealed up - without the fly on it the only roof is netting - which is great in the summer! We took two tents, one four and another eight man, and placed the smaller inside the larger tent. If you look closely at the next picture you’ll see the ‘tent within a tent’ concept.

tentintent2sm Winter/Snow Camping Ideas and Tips

It’s a little difficult to tell, but the picture is actually taken from within the 8 man tent. What you’re seeing in the background is actually a 4 man dome tent.

The concept we’re working with is to create an insulating air buffer between the inner 4 man tent (the sleeping tent) and the outer 8 man (protective shell) tent. By heating the air inside the sleeping tent and also heating the air within the shell tent, we should be able to be within the sleeping tent while continually heating the shell tent and maintain a warm temperature within the sleeping tent. This proved to be true.

The temperature outside got down to -5 Fahrenheit. The only problem we had as it got further below freezing was that our propane heater could not keep up with the colder external temps. It got a little chilly inside the sleeping tent around 3 in the morning - but that’s because up until then I had been sleeping with my sleeping bag unzipped. My kids, who stayed in their sleeping bags through the night, didn’t notice that it had gotten cold through the night. They were actually sleeping in summer bags and did not complain about the cold at all. With a bigger propane heater, like the Big Buddy that Wade recommends (we were using the smaller Buddy model), I think the temperature would have stayed steady.

The end result of the tent test is that by using the tent-within-a-tent concept we were able to stay very warm in summer sleeping bags in -5 degree weather with a small propane heater. A word of caution and clarification: as I mentioned above, the shell tent is a very ‘loose’ tent - there is a very high level of air exchange even with the fly on. Be very careful using this method with a tight tent. You could subject yourself to carbon monoxide poisoning and death. As a safety measure, we had a carbon monoxide monitor inside the sleeping tent.

Wall to Wall Carpeting

One of the other issues with snow camping, especially in a summer tent, is the thin floor liner. There is no insulation at all and sitting or standing barefoot in the outer room leaves only a few millimeters of material between you and the snow. If you notice in the top picture, there is a large tarp underneath the tent. This adds a little bit more protection from the snow but, we wanted to be able to sit comfortably in the front room of the tent (we brought 4 chairs and a table with us so we could eat and visit in the warmth of the tent). To accommodate bare feet in the front room, we cut a piece of carpet that completely covered the floor from front to back and side to side. You can see the brown carpet in the following picture:

tentintentsm Winter/Snow Camping Ideas and Tips

With the tarp pictured below deliberately sticking out several feet in front of the snow to act as a porch, we were able to keep most of the snow from being tracked into the tent. With several lights and a lantern inside both the shell tent and the sleeping tent we were able to spend a nice, comfortable evening in the front room visiting. In the morning we were able to move about and get dressed to go outside in the warmth of the front room without tripping over sleeping bags, people and other stuff.

wintertentsm Winter/Snow Camping Ideas and Tips

I’ve used many methods over the years for camping in the snow. This is the first time I’ve tried using summer camping gear to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures. I’m very happy with the results! The next time we try this it will be with a Big Buddy heater - or we’ll just use the wall tents I’m planning on buying this year :)

Hopefully some of these techniques can be useful to you. They demonstrate that it is possible to stay warm in the winter without the more expensive winter shelters and gear. If it ever become necessary to survive with your family in the winter, preparing to use some of these techniques may be a life saver for you.

Do you have any other ideas or experience with using summer camping gear in the winter? Please let us know!

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/530134841/

Small Spaces Storage Solutions

At Food Storage Made Easy, we asked our readers to come together and share their ideas for storing food in small spaces. The results were incredible! Continue reading for all the ideas we received. As promised, we created a way cute PDF for you to share with all your friends. To get the handout, click here!

We broke the house up into several different areas and will be covering each one individually. Some of these ideas will be perfect for your situation whether or not you have space. Thanks again to ALL our contributors, you’re AWESOME!

Store cans on their sides under a twin bed. Line them up in rows of their category (fruit, veggies, tuna etc…). When you purchase cans place under the left side of the bed. When you need a can for meal preparation pull it from the right side. You have a cheap rotating storage right under your kids beds!

My husband and I decided to convert one of the bedrooms into our food storage room. We took the smallest of the three, bought heavy duty shelves from Costco and ordered a Shelf Reliance storage system for our canned goods. The closet in our food storage room holds our wheat, powdered milk, and bottled water. We also raised our bed up, and have rolling totes underneath for additional storage.

You can get wide, shallow plastic bins at most department stores that have wheels on them for rollong under your bed. These are great for storing cans of food since they are about as deep as a can. You can easily pull them out for food rotation purposes as well.

Don’t forget all the wonderful storage underneath your beds! You could house cases of canned goods or extra paper goods - anything really! Lots of space, you just have to remember what is under there and keep rotating if it is anything perishable.

Also, the boxes fit perfectly under my children’s beds. That not only gives me extra storage space, but it prevents the build-up of toys and clothes and candy wrappers that otherwise get stuffed under the beds.

I have wheat boxes behind my bed headboard against the wall, in a layer under my daughter’s mattress (she doesn’t have a frame or boxspring), and under the TV (that layer is covered with a blanket). We hardly notice they’re around. I also have water stored under my bed (I used to store it under the couch – that’s a great place to store extra diapers, too).

Buy some of the heavy duty Velcro from any store. The stuff that’s about two to three inches across. Put one side on the back of a pantry, or cabinet, then attach pieces of the other side to your spices. Easy spice rack on the back of the door for almost nothing. Works even with the really big Costco spice jars. We have a couple rows of this, keeping the spices organized, and easy to use.

Inside the door of our pantry and the converted coat closet hang a pantry door shelf that hooks over the top of the door. The one in the pantry holds my 50 or more spices. The second row from the bottom holds my nonstick sprays and Crisco. The bottom shelf holds all my pancake syrups. And big bag of Krusteez.
- Maggie

Under our kitchen sink it was just our trash and a mess of plastic bags. To get that organized he took all the plastic grocery bags. We kept our small stash of dishwasher soap on the side and near it we kept our small garbage can. Then with all the left over space under there… after cleaning the space really well, my husband put our case of Tomato Soup, Spaghettios, and Progresso soups. These are cases that we do not need access to for awhile
-Maggie’s Husband

If your kitchen has a breakfast bar that is too tall for eating (approx. 46 inches) then find someone (husband, a family friend, or pay someone) to custom make shallow cupboards underneath the counter. If they are made with a wood to match your kitchen cabinets then it should be a nice useful addition to your kitchen. We are in the process of doing this.

I use Turn Table Spice Racks, to keep my spaces organized and easy to rotate. It ends up taking less space because I can pile spices all the way to the back but still have access to them. I also put my baking goods in plastic bins so I can easily take out all my ingredients at once when I bake, again it keeps things in packed away in tighter spaces and makes cooking more fun.

We put short bookshelves in our son’s closet and used them for food storage. Since his clothes were small they fit great over the top of the shelves. We also stacked boxes of #10 cans in the ends of the closets. Just make sure the boxes are labeled with what’s in them and put the things you will need to get into most often on the top or it can be a real pain to find things.

Create false bottoms in your closets! Clear everything out of the bottom of your chosen closet. Fill that space with either #10 cans or a couple of cases of canned goods. Cut a piece of plywood (or have it cut for you!) to size and place on top of the cans. Now, use your closet as you normally would!

We converted our coat closet to a little storage room (we kept the coats in our regular closet). We used boards and #10 cans to “build” shelves and it was amazing how much stuff we were able to put in there.
-Gwen and Melissa

After struggling to find places for our storage, I got the idea to convert our coat closet into a pantry. The closet wasn’t in our kitchen but had lots of space that wasn’t being utilized. Our coats and other items were moved to our bedroom closets. My husband added several shelves and removed the bar

I also repurposed a canvas sweater holder that hung in the closet for boxes of pasta, cereal and crackers in my front ‘coat’ closet - those that didn’t fit in the tiny kitchen cupboards. I converted the broom closet into a kitchen pantry (it was about 15 inches deep) with some shelf brackets and wood cut at home depot.

We converted our coat closet into another food pantry. Since this closet is not directly in the kitchen and it is carpeted we store our #10 cans, case lot sales items, and items purchased in bulk that we have a lot of. I stock my main pantry from this converted coat closet. Also the coat closet had a built in shelf above the rod so that shelf is used for unopened boxes of food like our case of 48 cans of Tuna and our 72 hours kits (grab and go kits near a door exiting the house).

I have a one year supply of fruit that I home canned. My mother had tons of milk crates from years ago, and we filled them up and now they are stacked high in my closest and under my hanging clothes. That’s where my fruit is. I have learned to put things in places that can be hidden so it doesn’t look like i have food all over my house, the kids closets are stacked high of boxes of # 10 cans

I live in a manufactured home (no basement) with a large master bathroom that has a corner “garden” tub. The side access panels are held on with velcro. I store my laundry supplies in the dead space under the tub.
-Mary Lou

What I’m planning on doing is curtaining off two feet or so along one wall of the dining room (Ikea has curtain rails you can mount on the ceiling) and putting all my food storage on shelves behind it.

In one house (we were owners so we could cut into the wall) there was a space under the stairwell and we cut an opening in there and put a door so we could store things there. It was quite small, but functional. We’ve always looked around at wherever we were living for available space.

The laundry/utility room often has extra space above the washer and dryer that can be used. Even if you don’t want to put food there, it works for storing toilet paper, dish soap, shampoos, etc.

We took sheets of 2 inch blueboard and made a 4×10 food storage room at the end of our very small living room. Made a door out of duct tape/blueboard.

You can put organizers under your sink that are adjustable and can fit around all the pipes. It’s a great way to have shelves under that awkward space. I also put racks directly on the cupboards to hold different kinds of plastic wrap, aluminum foil etc.

Sofa Youtube:
This is an amazing idea that we received multiple times, it’s about creating a shelving system that acts as a table behind a sofa. It’s so neat!
-Ruth, Mary Lou, Linda

These are things my mom did, she put wheat in buckets, using one on both sides she would put a piece of cut plywood across it and make a shelf. We got to put contact paper of our choice on the wood and the bucket to decorate or rooms with and she would stack them 2 high. They make great book shelves. Now they have such great things to decorate, you could go wild with it, maybe faux painting some to look like marble pillars? You could even use the shelves to put other food stuffs on and put a curtain or sheet in front to make a make-shift “cupboard”.

I sewed a liner for a big basket I had (like a big bag). Then I was able to put extra oatmeal boxes, crackers etc in it. I put a round table top (the kind you screw legs on) on it and used it as an end table. The bag liner hid the contents….When I moved to a bigger 1 bedroom apartment that same basket was used to store all the extra laundry detergent and dryer sheets I would stock up on at sales, soap and shampoo too - since I didn’t have a linen closet.

Knowing we needed space to store food and some casual seating, we made 18″ cubes with hinged lids. Added casters on the bottom, padded seating on top. Inside it held about 4 cases worth of canned veggies, soup, etc. We made 3 of these boxes, then made a table to store them under. On the table we used decorative items: a nice looking binder for our storage records, a pretty box that held recipes for our storage foods, another box held cards with helpful hints. A lamp and a phone rounded out the decoration s.

The food storage boxes from the church canneries (the kind that hold six #10 cans each) fit very nicely between the wall and my couches. Every piece of furniture in my living room and family room has food storage boxes behind it. I stack them about 3 boxes tall, and then extend them as long as the couch. It leaves just the perfect amount of space between the wall and the furniture — nobody would guess there was anything back there. Those boxes also can be stacked to form a table — my telephone sits on one such table. It’s just boxes with a cloth over them.

One year when we lived in an apartment my in-laws gave us a big wicker chest for Christmas. We put it in our living room and filled it with cans. We were amazed at how many cans could fit in it. We had a futon in our living room and we hid soda bottles filled with water behind the futon.

We also did the plywood table top thing, except we used two buckets of wheat for each table–they were beautiful and no one would have guessed what was under them!

I bought 2 book shelves at a garage sale - asking price $40 each, bought both for $25. They have been a great addition for storage! I have the shelves stored in my office, but when you look down the hall from our main living area you don’t see them.
-Marilyn’s daughter

I like the slender boxes that 3 - 1 gal water comes in for regular cans-the can fit nicely laying sideways (2 rows)- the box is slender to put in room and has the concept of the rotating method for the higher priced shelves

Here’s an old post from my personal site of some roller shelving I made earlier this year, designed to fit behind standard shelving. Still works amazingly well. http://www.jaycehall.com/2008/03/08/weekend-storage-project/

I use one place for one food group. Like canned meats, chili, and soup for under the bed, canned veggies on top of cupboards, and fruits under end tables with fabric draped over it. Also if your filling cabinet isn’t full, fill it up with boxed items, or put food in a crawl space or attic well sealed. Keep a detailed inventory handy so you don’t forget how much & what you have (for me it’s outta’ sight, outta’ mind). Post your list on the inside of a cupboard so it’s tucked away. Also, tape a pen or pencil on a string, or velcro (my favorite) a pen next to it. That way, when you’re in a hurry, you can mark it instead of trying to remember what you took later.

We have used the top space in closets, a drawer in a bench, under beds (even propped the beds up on blocks so the food would fit underneath), lined every closet with food and/or water. Pull a dresser or couch away from the wall a couple of feet and you can fit lots of cans or buckets behind it where they won’t be seen too easily. We put food in the mylar pouches in the rolly boxes that go under beds and in giant 55 gal metal drums in the carport (the drums sealed so the insects/rodents/critters weren’t able to get to our food. Make a table with a board on top of a couple of cases of canned goods and cover it with a cloth. I’ve stacked 2 liter pop bottles of water horizontally between my filing cabinet and the wall. I’m also okay with the fact that my house doesn’t look professionally decorated—it’s disguise the food d├ęcor!

Store some tins, pasta, rice and other non perishable food items that you use on a monthly basis, in a box/plastic crate (check expiry date is at least 12 months away)…..fill the box to the top and mark it “January 2009”. Store the box – be creative – you could even make it into a footstool, covered with some fabric and leave it next to your couch. (I moved my couch out a bit and stored the boxes behind it.) Do the same in February and March…..now you have three boxes – why not make them into bedside cabinet with that pretty fabric? J In the new quarter, empty the January 2009 box into your kitchen cupboards and refill the box with new purchases and mark it April 2009……you have just built up a good supply of basic food for 3 months and more importantly - rotated it……Keep going with the new purchases and rotation….until you build it up to 6 months and then 12 months.

Original: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/01/26/small-spaces-storage-solutions-results/

Emergency Cash

While sheltering in place is generally your best option, if you need to evacuate due to a storm or other emergency, cash will be an essential requirement. Most people live “cashless” lifestyles that depend on plastic. People carry lots of “plastic” money in the form of credit cards and debit cards but normally don't keep any significant amount of cash on hand for a true emergency. Most, if not all, purchases are made with credit cards, debit cards, or personal checks.

During and after a major disaster or in an emergency situation, it's very unlikely that there will be any merchants that are going to be able to process credit cards or validate checks. If people are selling items, they're probably going to accept cash only. This simply means you won’t be able to buy anything if you don’t have cash. Check and credit card machines and electronic cash registers probably won’t be working due to power outages, etc. Don't count on getting change back from a hundred dollar bill. Needed currency denominations to make change may be in short supply. It will be better to have smaller denomination bills ($10's and $20's) and plenty of change (rolls of quarters, etc.) available in an emergency.

Make sure you set enough aside to counter higher prices that may occur due to needed items being in short supply. Hotel and motel rooms will become very expensive in a short period of time, if any are still available. Gasoline and fuel prices can go up in a hurry and food items, including water and ice, will get expensive due to limited supplies and availability. Don’t count on any of your normal routines working during a disaster or emergency.

Got cash?

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/01/emergency-cash.html

Emergency and Disaster Warnings

Besides the things you may observe or experience personally, there are several ways you may be alerted to a disaster or an emergency situation before it occurs. Being aware of what is happening or about to happen can mean the difference in surviving a disaster or becoming a victim of one.

1.) Emergency Alert System

The Emergency Alert System is the one most people are probably already familiar with and begins “ If this had been an actual emergency…" These alerts are heard frequently on radio and TV broadcasts. You need to pay special attention to these broadcasts. There may come a time when the emergency will be for real.

2.) Television and Radio Announcements

Public announcements over radio and television channels provide much of our needed information during a disaster. In some areas, cable companies are equipped to relay emergency announcements during a disaster. But if you lose electrical power at home, you may be out of luck. You can hook up your own emergency generator to power your TV. If your TV service is provided by a cable company, they may lose power also and will probably be out of service and no signal will be available. Keep a small antenna or “rabbit ears” available to use with your TV. This may allow you to receive a signal from outside your immediate area which will help you get additional disaster information.

3.) Warning Sirens

In my area, the same sirens used by our volunteer fire departments also serve as disaster warning devices for the people in town. Instead of the intermittent blasts generally used by the fire department to indicate a fire, the sirens will sound continuously as a warning in the event of a disaster or other emergency. These types of outdoor warning systems may not be as useful if you are indoors and unable to hear them.

4.) Residential Alerts

Police department vehicles, Sheriff department vehicles, fire department vehicles, or in some cases military vehicles are used to alert people to emergency situations or for the need to evacuate. These vehicles are usually equipped with public address systems and may travel through neighborhoods broadcasting notifications to people of an emergency situation. They will generally give instructions on whether you should evacuate or stay inside your home. This may not always occur depending upon the strain that may be placed on emergency services during a disaster or an emergency.

5.) NOAA Weather Bulletins

One of the primary sources of information about possible weather disasters is the NOAA weather broadcasts. These broadcasts are available 24 hours a day and can play an important part in keeping you informed of dangerous weather conditions. Include a good battery powered radio in your emergency kit capable of receiving the NOAA weather broadcasts and alerts. This will help you to survive during dangerous weather conditions.

Being aware of your surroundings, being informed about what is happening and being prepared ahead of time will help you to survive most any disaster or emergency situation.

Staying above the water line!



Survival Gear for the Home - Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be a common item in every household. Fire is one of the most damaging and devastating things that can occur in your life. House fires account for a significant amount of property damage and loss of life each year. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is by keeping a fire extinguisher handy in different areas of your home.

There is no doubt that having a fire extinguisher handy can be an important part of safety in the home. Although many people realize that a fire is possible and could happen at any time at home, most people think it will never happen to them. Owning a fire extinguisher is another form of ensuring your survival, as well as your safety. All homes should have one just in case a fire starts. A fire extinguisher can save you from extensive property loss due to a fire or possible deadly consequences by preventing the fire from spreading to other areas of your home. It will sometimes stop the fire entirely and thus eliminate the danger altogether.

Advantages of Fire Extinguishers

1. Fire Extinguishers are very cost effective.

You do not need to purchase a fire extinguisher very often as they are long lasting and have a very good shelf life. Many disposable type fire extinguishers can have a shelf life of as much as 10 years or more. They usually only require routine maintenance and inspection. Many types of fire extinguishers are also refillable. This adds to their cost effectiveness. Fire extinguishers can offer you protection for a very long time, with minimal cost. You only need to provide proper access and routine maintenance and inspections on a regular basis.

2. Fire Extinguishers require minimal storage space.

Fire extinguishers are one of the few items that you don’t have to hide. You can mount it on a wall where it is readily available in an emergency. Anybody that sees it will probably feel safer in your home as a result. Everyone knows how serious and deadly a fire can be and will feel safer in your home because they know you are prepared to handle a fire should it occur. If you prefer, you can always set them inside a cabinet as long as you make sure they are easily accessible.

3. Fire extinguishers are easy to use.

Using a fire extinguisher is quite simple. The instructions are usually written on the fire extinguisher itself. There are some basic steps to remember when using a fire extinguisher.

Pull the pin out of the top of the fire extinguisher.

Aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever or trigger to release the contents of the fire extinguisher.

Sweep the fire as you squeeze the lever or trigger of the fire extinguisher.

Use the acronym PASS to help you remember. Pull. Aim. Squeeze. Sweep.

Fire extinguishers require very simple and routine maintenance. This will vary depending on the type and manufacturer. It is also important to remember that fires can happen anywhere. They can occur on your boat, RV, travel trailer or in a shed or garage. With a low net cost, easy maintenance, and an item that can be used in every home, building or vehicle, a fire extinguisher should be mandatory for your safety and survival. Personally, I keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, utility room, hallway and garage. I also keep a small one in my vehicles.

Part 2 will cover the different types of fire extinguishers and their use.

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/02/survival-gear-for-home-fire.html

Flu Pandemic Stock Up List

What kinds of things should you store away for a possible flu pandemic? Keep in mind that there are other possible threats too. We could have some kind of bio warfare in the future that causes some unknown sickness. You could also just be isolated somewhere without medical help - so it’s good to think about these things ahead of time and stock up. My husband still wants to know why we have three bottles of hydrogen peroxide and so many bandages, but I know if the time comes, he’ll thank me! Here’s my list - alter for your own needs, but make a list and start to stock up little by little as you can afford it. You might also want to educate yourself by taking a basic first aid class, and also researching home remedies to be used in an emergency.

Flu Pandemic Stock Up List:


Adult Diapers

Anti-bacterial Wipes

Baby Wipes

Chamomile Tea

Chlorine Bleach

Cool Mist Humidifier (it’s better if you have more than one)

Extra Humidifier Filters

Expectorant Cough Syrup (this is the “Tussin” type)

Face Masks (whichever kind you decide to stock up on)

Hand Sanitizer

Heating Pad

Hydrogen Peroxide (disinfectant)


Isopropyl Alcohol (disinfectant and can be used to cool down patient)


Latex Gloves

Lip Balm


Lubricating Eye Drops



Disposable Shower Cap (can be worn multiple times)

Trash Bags

Vitamin C (stock up on chewable and powder also, sick people sometimes can’t swallow pills)

You may also want to keep some of the following around as they are very effective antiviral, with little side effects:

Apple Juice - Fresh apple juice is best.

Cranberry Juice - Research shows this makes viruses less able to multiply.

Garlic - Best if crushed raw and consumed within 1 hour. 2-3 cloves per day and then cut back until no body odor occurs.

Green Tea - May have antiviral activity similar to Tamiflu.

St. John’s Wort - Has shown effectiveness in Vietnamese flocks infected with Bird Flu.

Tea Tree Oil - When used as a steam inhalation will relieve congestion and fight infections.

Vitamin E - Acts as an immune system booster. Very effective when taken with Vitamin C.

Please remember to consult with your doctor before trying any of these remedies. Also, although they appear relatively safe, natural remedies may interfere with medications, so use caution. Adult dosages are not safe for children, so stock up appropriate medications for your kids too.

Keep in mind that Bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide and Isopropyl Alcohol deteriorate rapidly. You will not be able to store these for longer than a couple months. So, if you won’t use it in rotation, stock up a minimal amount. A good defense is always soap and water, which both have longer shelf lives. Also keep in mind that regular aspirin taken in large doses is not good for influenza patients.

This list does not include everything you should stock up on for first aid in your home, but it’s a good list of items that can be used when nursing those with the flu. Think about preventative measure also, good nutrition, hydration and adequate rest. Keep yourself and your family away from others as much as possible. The best cure is prevention and preparation.

Original at: http://survivallady.com/?m=200811

Can Your Business Survive?

I picked up this checklist at a recent meeting. Although it was developed as a very basic list to encourage businesses to prepare for disaster, it can just as easily be used for personal preparedness.
  • Do you know what kinds of emergencies might affect your facility (home)?
  • Do you know what you will do in an emergency situation?
  • Are you ready for utility disruption?
  • Do you know what you will do if your building/plant (home) is not accessible?
  • Do you know what staff, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep operating?
  • Do you have back-up plans for those operations?
  • Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan?
  • Do you have a plan to communicate with employees (family members) before, during, and after an incident?
  • Do you have copies of building and site maps with utility and emergency routes marked?
  • Are your employees (family members) trained for medical emergencies?
  • Have you practiced your disaster plan recently?
  • Do you practice and coordinate with other facilities (families) in your community?
  • Have you reviewed your disaster plan and supplies in the last 12 months?
  • Have you conducted a room by room walk through to determine which large items could be strapped down in preparation for an earthquake or similar event?
  • Do you encourage employees (each family member) to have a personal emergency supply kit and a family communications plan?

Simple, but it is often the simplest things that get overlooked. If you answered no to any of these questions for your family and/or your business, start today to get prepared for a disaster.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-your-business-survive.html

Ice Storm!

I feel for the people in Kentucky and other states hit with a snow storm, ice storm, and now a wind storm. It's been a while since we have had a severe ice storm here, but the thought of trying to drive (nearly impossible), trying to walk anywhere (ditto), and watching firefighters try to put out a fire when all of the water that falls onto the ground freezes almost instantly are still embedded in my memory. After keeping up with the Kentucky situation via online and television news sources, here's some reminders:
  • Never use a generator, barbecue, or other combustible heating/power source in your home. The carbon monoxide fumes will kill you (so far four deaths in Lexington were attributed to this).
  • Have a chainsaw on hand. Even if you don't use it regularly, it will come in handy when the tree limbs start falling on your house.
  • Check on your elderly and infirm neighbors and relatives. There is no excuse for people to die of hypothermia in their homes when there are people around who know they are home alone during a lengthy power outage and thus have no source of heat.
  • If you are not prepared for a lengthy power outage and don't have heat, go to a shelter. The Red Cross usually sets up shelters in these types of events and it is much better to be warm with a bunch of stranger than freezing in your home.

  • Keep enough extra food in your home to carry you through at least a month. Many people were out of food in the area affected by the storm within the first few days. With grocery stores closed, they had to rely on rations provided as the National Guard who went door to door to check on people.

  • Have water on hand too. Many water systems wouldn't work because of the storm.
  • There's something to be said for body heat. One family that was interviewed by a reporter had 18 friends and neighbors staying with them. They all stayed in a large room heated by a fireplace. Not the best situation but better than freezing.

  • Communications have been out for almost a week in some places; this means land line phones and cell phones that ran out of battery power were dead. Having a hand held, battery powered HAM radio and/or a car charger for your cell phone is a good idea.

  • I do like how the net has played a role in storm reporting. Check out the Twitter page for the ice storm here.

  • Imagine...no power for the Super Bowl :(
  • Be careful with candles and lanterns when the power is out. There always seem to be fires, sometimes deadly, attributed to the use of candles during a power outage.

Well that's about it from here. If anyone in an area hit by the storm has more advice for the rest of us, please post in the comments section.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/02/ice-storm.html

Questions to Ask Yourself When Designing Your Farm or Garden

Note: Aaron wrote these out - good stuff, and useful to everyone, IMHO!

Questions to ask yourself before designing your garden.

What would you like to achieve on your property in terms of the landscaping of your home and its ability to feed you? This is the time to dream big and long term.

What is your timeline- can you make changes quickly or do you plan to make changes over several years?

How much money do you plan to dedicate to initial changes?

How much money can you dedicate on a monthly or annual basis?

How much sun do you get on your property? It helps to think in terms of number of hours of directly sunlight between March and November and think in terms of the different areas of your property.

Are you willing to remove trees to increase the amount of sunlight?

What is your source of water if irrigation becomes necessary? Can you harvest rain from your roof?

What is currently growing in your yard?

How important are the aesthetics of your yard to you? To your neighbors?

Are there neighborhood covenants, rules or regulations that are suppose to keep you from growing food or raising certain types of animals?

Will children be using the yard? If so what age and how many?

Will pets be using the yard? If so how many and what kind?

Do you use your yard for entertaining purposes?

Are there special activities like bonfires or hog racing for which you will need to set aside room?

Would you like to include fruit trees, bushes and edible perennials (plants that come back every year) in your landscape? If so how much room can you devote to these plants? (Remember trees are big and produce lots of shade. Shrubs can get big too.)

Do you plan to grow annual vegetables (plants you start from seed or transplant every year like corn and tomatoes) and if so how much room can you devote to these vegetables. By the way you’ll want at least 6, and better yet 8, hours of direct sunlight for this area.

How much time can you commit to your garden each week?

How much food, on a percentage basis based on your weekly menu, would you like to harvest from your yard?

Do you have physical limitations that would make typical gardening difficult for you?

How much help (significant others, reluctant in-laws, children, household pets pressed into the service of chasing away squirrels) do you have at your disposal?

How much experience do you with growing plants and gardening?

Do you have room to over-winter potted plants in your home?

Do you have sunny windowsill useful for starting seeds or growing sprouts?

What kinds of animals would you be interested in raising: chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, llamas, bees, fish, or others?

What equipment do you own or could borrow? Think hand tools like shovels and rakes but also mowers and tillers.

Do you have natural sources of mulch available including baled straw, fallen leaves or grass clippings? How about cardboard (any appliance stores near by?)

Do you have room for outdoor containers on patios, decks or porches for growing food?

Do you anticipate a problem with animals such as rabbits or gophers visiting your garden and helping themselves to your produce?

Do you anticipate encountering soil contamination due to exterior lead paint or other chemicals previously used on your property?

Measurements you’ll need

The easiest way to get the measurements you’ll need to draw up a master plan for your yard will be to dig up a site survey of your property. You might have a copy tucked away in the material associated with the purchase of your home. If you rent your landlord, pleased that you’re improving the property, might offer you a copy of such a survey.

If you don’t have a survey handy don’t worry. You can take the measurements yourself. It’s best to invest in some graph paper. You can by a pad or print some out. Here’s a source:


Using the graph paper to record your measurements and a tape measure or other measuring device, record the measurements of the perimeter of your house and any other structure on your property. Try to also measure the boundaries of your property. Often you can find pins or stakes or other marks that indicate property corners. If you can’t than your best guess will have to do. Try to measure the distance of your home and other structures from the edges of at least two property boundaries. This will help to more accurately place these structures.

Don’t expect to get this drawn up accurately on your first try. Typically your going to use several sheets of paper to record the measurements outside and then come inside to piece them all together for a base plan. By the way you can use the grids to represent a certain distance, say 5 feet. This will vary between properties because different scales will be necessary depending on the size of your property. Count the number of individual squares on the length and width of your paper and divide that number into the length and width of your property.

Or you can just try and get close in proportion to everything you want to show on your property. This should include all structures but also trees, shrubs, driveways, patios, decks, wells, existing gardens, walls, and anything else you see in your yard. When trying to measure and place these items accurately it helps to triangulate or take measurements to a certain object from several locations.

Again don’t try to get all this right on your first try. Get as many measurements as possible and then go inside and combine your efforts. It’s likely you’ll have to go back and remeasure a few elements but the more accurate your base plan, the less frustration you’re likely to encounter as you move forward with your plan. You don’t want to plan for and purchase 15 blueberry bushes only to come home and find that you only have room for 8 or that the play lawn you promised your children for purposes of Frisbee and football really has only enough room for a game of tag.

This base plan and the questions you’ve answered below will serve as a reference for the design process as we plan your garden. Keep them handy as we move along.


Sharon and Aaron

Original: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/30/questions-to-ask-yourself-when-designing-your-farm-or-garden/

First Look at the NEW Swiss Army Knife

Instead of acting with some class and simply requesting that I remove a post (which I would have done immediately), www.equipped.org demanded via letter from their lawyer that I remove this post immediately under threat of lawsuit.

I gave them full credit in the article and a direct link to their website.
Apparently this was not enough.

Equipped to Survive Foundation aka www.equipped.org, you are in my personal opinion a bunch of no class asses.

Volcano Survival

New Car

Originally uploaded by nodigio

First, be prepared to get far enough away to be out of the range of the lava flow if the volcano you live near is a lava-producing volcano.

Most volcanoes give days, even months of warning before they erupt, so pack up your precious items and those things you’d hate to lose and store them somewhere far away from the volcano. This would be things like photos, scrapbooks, memorabilia, collectables, back-up copies of important papers, heirlooms, and items that would be difficult to replace. Rent a storage unit in some distant city, far enough away that it won’t be touched by any lava flow, and store your things there if you don’t have distant relatives who will store your things for you.

Board your pets a safe distance away, either with family/friends or with a professional boarding facility. Send their favorite food dishes and toys with them, and don’t forget to send bottles of your local water and their regular food. Abrupt changes in water and food can cause distress in your pet, and they are stressed enough being sent away from you. They can’t handle the ash fall and it would be cruel to keep them nearby. Send them at least 20 miles away to avoid ash-related injuries.

Pack Go-Bags for everyone in the family. Keep these bags close because if you’re among those who will stay until the last possible moment, you don’t want to be caught without the bare essentials. These bags should contain dust masks, goggles, gloves, hats, and long sleeved shirts and long pants to ward off the abrasive ash fall, along with the usual toiletries, money, spare clothing, medications, prescriptions (include prescriptions for glasses), back up copies of important papers, and comfort items. I’d go ahead and toss food and water in there, too, although in this day and age, you can probably get to safety before you need to eat anything, even if you wait too long. Ten to 20 miles away is usually far enough, although some volcanoes have spewed ash as far away as 150 miles, depending on weather conditions and how violently it erupts.

Some volcanoes don’t have a lava flow, and people near volcanoes like that may choose to stay. If you plan to stay, or you will be relocating to an area that may have ash falls from the volcano, you will need goggles and filter masks. Keep these with you at all times, and have spare masks tucked everywhere. You can make a temporary mask out of dampened fabric, but a real dust mask is much better. Don’t wear contacts – the abrasive ash can seriously damage your eyes. Wear glasses and safety goggles. Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible to keep the ash out. Stay indoors until the ash settles unless you must clear ash from gutters and low-pitched or flat roofs to prevent a roof collapse.

During the ash fall, there may be severe storms with lightning. You may experience power outages, so be prepared. Stock up for this.

Ash can fall for days. Be prepared for this. Wind and human activity can stir up ash for weeks, and even years, afterwards, causing roads to be slippery, visibility to be poor, and causing inhalation problems. Ash is small enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs – so wear those masks! Drive as little as possible after an ash fall to prevent engine damage to your car. Be aware the equipment can fail at any time after an ash fall as it gets stirred up and damages power facilities and machinery.

Be prepared for random power outages and for reduced travel, which includes deliveries, by stocking up before hand, and cleaning up the ash promptly so it doesn’t remain to clog things up.

Unless you’re prepared to buy a new car, protect the one you have. Put your car inside an enclosed garage and block the cracks and openings as much as possible during the eruption. At the very least, cover it completely with heavy tarps. If you absolutely have to drive during an eruption, keep your speeds to below 30 mph to reduce airflow in the engine, and drive in protected areas as much as possible – under trees and between tall buildings, and in upwind areas of the volcano.

Water will be contaminated with ash. Stock up on water before hand. Cover wells, pools, and ponds at home to reduce ash contamination. Use water filters for tap water as ash may damage city water pumps and may be suspended in the water.

If your volcano comes with lava, evacuate before the panic and actual eruption. Stay as far away from the actual eruption site as possible to avoid flying debris, lateral gas blasts, hot gases, and lava flow. Be aware of mudflows, and avoid river valleys and low-lying areas. 20 miles is the safest distance to travel away from an erupting volcano.

Leave early, a day or more before the predicted eruption. Heavy rains and strong winds can accompany an eruption. Don’t come back until the eruption has ended, the ash has settled, and the lava flows have cooled completely.

Lava eruptions are also accompanied by ash, so you will have the same issues as an ash-only volcano.

If you have livestock near a volcano, or the ash cloud falls as far away as your pastures, you may lose some livestock and the pastureland will be inedible for a while. Even light ashfalls can set livestock off their feed. They will need to be dry feed or moved until the pasture is re-established. There is a risk of flourosis if the ash contains high levels of fluorine. Water for livestock will likely be contaminated by the ash as well, and the pumps to filter the water may be damaged. Milk yields from cows will be depressed, and the wool of any sheep may need to be discarded. Other damage livestock may take can involve hypocalcemia, damaged forestomachs and intestines, and secondary metabolic disorders. Re-pasturing livestock to an area unlikely or less likely to get ashfall is recommended.

Wildlife generally evacuate the area, but some may still be affected as well, particularly after the ash finishes falling and they return to areas with ash contaminated water and fluorine-contaminated grass and trees.

For crops and pastures, a thin ash cover will have a quicker recovery. Less than a 10th of an inch of ash will see the land recover within weeks, about an inch of ash can take a year to recover, coverage of between 1 and 5 inches can take between 5 years and several decades to recover. Ash coverage exceeding 6 inches can take centuries to recover. The soil can’t communicate with the surface and the surface must rebuild all new soil. The acidity of the ash also affects recovery.

Crops are most affected during blooming, young fruit formation, and harvest, as well as during their young emergence. Delicate crops will fail with any more than 1/10 of inch coverage. Crops that can be washed of the ash is still edible, but many producers find the cost of washing such produce too expensive to do, and so the crops are destroyed. If you are in a survival situation, you don’t have to worry about profits, so wash them well and eat away. Hairy produce can’t be completely cleaned of the ash, so must be carefully peeled or discarded.

In forest and wild places, young trees die when the ash coverage exceeds 4 inches. It usually takes 4 inches or more of ash to damage forests.

Of all the natural disasters, volcanoes are the “safest”. There is usually plenty of warning, and the disaster area is often small.

There are zones around a volcano. The highest risk area is within 300 feet of the eruption or vent sites. This is the kill zone. Your chances of survival here are slim to none. Avoid them. The next riskiest zone is the area out to approximately 900 feet, the area of the crater of the vents. If you are in this zone during an eruption, you have a 50/50 chance of surviving it. Stay out of it during active times. The next zone can extend out as far as 2 miles. Volcanic bombs can fall in this area at any time during an active phase or an eruption. The low risk zone extends out about 6 miles. Volcanic bombs and lava flow may reach this far in an especially violent eruption. Mt. St. Helens affected an area extending out 15 miles.

If you live 10 – 20 miles away from a volcano, you are probably pretty safe. If you live more than 20 miles away from a volcano, you are safe from all but the largest most violent volcanoes.

Original: http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/volcano-survival/


Hard times are coming down the pike. I think most who read this blog realize that. Most of you take steps towards preparing for those times. Some take baby steps, some take great leaps. The vast majority of you take these steps alone or, if you are fortunate, with your spouse and children. Most realize they will need more than a BoB (bug out bag) to survive a long-term event. It is equally true that you will not be able to get through the coming hard times alone. You are going to need a Group.

If you are injured or sick, you will need someone to care for you. You have skills, you can do stuff – that’s wonderful. I bet you can’t do everything well. Even if you could, you couldn’t do these things simultaneously. You will need others to help secure your “retreat”. If you expect to get anything done, you will need at least three people for every guard/security position – one to guard, one to sleep, one to get work done around the place. You can rotate duties but someone has to be busy all the time. Humans have formed societies from the beginning of time – there is a reason for this.

So how does one join a group? This is easy – you won’t. If a group exists and they haven’t contacted you, they probably are not going to. Fear not, there is another, better option – form a group. Yes, this will mean you will have to talk to others. Yes, this means you will have to “share” a little information about yourself. You are going to have to risk rejection. So sad. But not as sad as going through an extended crisis alone.

Having been down this road a few times and having helped guide others as well I have some opinions on this. If your experience is different – I’d love to hear about it. If your ideas are different… well, tell me after you have put them into action for a year or so. Because this is a blog I’ll spare you the deep details and focus on the broad brush strokes – we can discuss details on the forum if you wish.

You want to keep this local to your likely “retreat” (which is likely your home). Having a Group (or primary retreat) hours away by vehicle is really a non-starter. You aren’t gonna get there. Belonging to an Internet “Group” is not gonna help you – you don’t KNOW them and they don’t KNOW you. Think about it – this is a group that will band together in a mutually beneficial way to pull through Interesting Times. Some ad hoc group (and that’s what it is if you’ve never met and gotten to know each other) is not going to work. Life is stressful enough – throw in societal chaos and you will experience significant social problems.

I suggest you spend some time and decide upon the Group Purpose. It’s no use deciding on who is going to be in the Group if you have not yet decided exactly what the group if FOR. You need to be fairly specific here. If I had a group, our purpose would be “To ensure and enhance the survival of member families.” We would define “family” as those who are currently living in the home. We would make some exceptions for relatives. So no one would get into the group who could not contribute to the purpose. Certainly no one would even be considered who would detract from the purpose. We would be exclusive. This irritates some folks.

You don’t have to be like me. You could open a survival shelter and welcome all comers; you could establish a group “To develop and practice survival strategies and techniques”; you could establish a coffee club that likes to get together and tell stories around a fire - whatever. This would be defined in your purpose statement and would be fine –for you. I suggest though, that if you are forming a group to help pull you and yours through hard times, that you be a bit selective. You certainly would not want to decrease your family’s chances of survival by hooking up with some folks, now would you?

You probably don’t have a former Special Forces dude married to an EMT as neighbors. You probably don’t live next door to hardcore survivalists. In fact your neighbors may be relatively clueless. But they are still your neighbors. And they will likely be there when the balloon goes up. You can either deal with them now or deal with them later. I suggest you try and educate them. Convert them to the way.

Call the Sherriff and ask how to start a neighborhood watch; host a barbeque at your place and announce something like, “the reason I asked you all over…”; or start working on them one at time. Whatever method you choose you are going to have to do a couple things: You will have to step outside of your home and actually meet your neighbors. Then you will have to strike up a conversation. You will have to figure out a way to have more conversations. You will have to do stuff with your neighbors. In short, you must consciously develop relationships. Once you get to know them, you can lead them around to preparedness issues. Once they understand and start working on that, you can lead them to the concept of a Group. Or not.

“But Joe, my neighbors are complete idiots and sheep!” I have heard this before. Sometimes it was true. Many times it was an excuse. Go try. If you fail, I’d encourage you to try again. If you fail again you may have to look outside a bit – but not too far. Keep it local – trust me on this. Look at folks you interact with on a weekly basis – at work, at school, at church, at the market. You are still going to have to work at developing a deeper relationship though. Cold pitching someone, “Hey, do ya wanna form a survival team?” is not a good idea.

You can have groups within groups. They don’t all have to know about each other. You could belong to a group of 50 who get together every other month to practice preparedness stuff. You could join with a handful of likely prospects from that group to form your core Group. Use the first group as a screening process to get to know others. There are other techniques as well – use your imagination.

Once you begin to form your Group you are going to have to develop plans and actions, perhaps build infrastructure, practice techniques, and get used to spending a lot of time together. This will require commitment from individual members. I don’t know about you, but I want to go through what is coming with committed people – half stepping is not impressive. It’s like everything else – the more you get out and do, the more you practice, the more you stretch yourself – the better off you will be. Same thing applies to groups.

There is so much more involved in designing, forming, and being a part of a group. For now though, sit down and define your Purpose. Assess what you have to work with and get out there and start talking to people.

I’ll see ya out there.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9 - 12


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Original: http://vikingpreparedness.blogspot.com/2009/01/hard-times-are-coming-down-pike.html

Another Wake up call to Prep

The ice storms that hit several states last week have left millions of people without power. Utility crews are struggling in subfreezing temperatures to turn the power back on for over a million people. Officials in some of the rural cities in Kentucky are warning that a lack of help from the state and FEMA, is turning the situation into a disaster.

This should be yet another wake up call for people to have an emergency plan, and a emergency kit that can help them during this type of situation. Thousands of people in Kentucky have been asked to leave their homes because emergency crews were not prepared to reach everyone who needed food, water and warm clothes.

Dozens of deaths have already been reported, and people are pleading with the government to help with the power outages.

  • 536,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky are without power.
  • Outages have disabled water systems causing people in rural areas to resort to using buckets in a creek as their only source of water.
  • Officials are warning that it could take weeks before power is restored in some areas.
  • 200,000 people are without water or are under mandatory boil orders.
  • People are being asked by the state to pack a suitcase and head south to a motel. They say that they can no longer handle everyone in the shelters.

So What can you do to prepare for a Winter Emergency?

Original: http://offgridsurvival.com/prep513/

Audio Podcast: Chosing a Weapon for Basic Home Defense

icon for podpress Episode-133- Chosing a Weapon for Basic Home Defense [39:21m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Today we are going to talk about fire arms best suited for basic home defense. We will not be covering specific makes and models, calibers, ammunition, etc today, simply what works best and where to start in your decision making process.

Tune in today to hear…

  • David Crawford’s Novel “Lights Out” to be made into an Audio Book - More Info
  • The difference between “home defense” and larger scale tactical defense
  • The importance of training, safety, weapons maintenance and function and real scenario training
  • Why shotguns and handguns make better defensive weapons for most homes then carbines
  • Why you may want to buy a handgun soon
  • Thoughts on reducing over penetration, it can not be totally eliminated
  • Should you “carry” in the home? What does that mean?
  • The way most professional burglars “break into”a home
  • Thoughts on alarms
Original: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-133-chosing-a-weapon-for-basic-home-defense

An Ax To Grind

It’s always kinda weird when the Government actually gives you something that’s both useful and free… but today I present to you just that! The U.S. Forest Service offers a wonderful book called An Ax To Grind: A Practical Ax Manual that covers all the basics of sharpening, caring for, and using an Ax. In fact, they have a number of useful publications and guides here, covering all sorts of information. Click around and see what they have to offer. In just a few minutes of surfing I found:

Alternative Roofing Materials: A Guide for Historic Structures

Personal Water Treatment Devices

Crosscut Saw Manual

Original: http://blog.theconspirator.org/?p=94