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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Fate of the Elderly during a Crisis

By Joseph Parish

We often wonder what will be our reactions during some type of major disaster or crisis. Will we behave as we expect ourselves to? Will we do everything by the book as we had planned? Will we be able to provide for our loved ones properly? There are more questions then we have answers for. Under the expected circumstances all we can do is guess as to what our actions will be.

One area in particular that may present a problem is the fate of our elderly friends and family members. Being an elderly person presents somewhat of a grim future for them as it is. Add to that situation the critical actions that are often associated with any sort of emergency and our elderly folks are simply at grave risk.

During the preparation stage of any sort of emergency condition the rules provide only a rough set of standards and guidelines for anyone and this aptly applies to the healthcare system as well. It is not unusual that during a crisis the governor of any state can suspend various statutes or regulations relating to our hospitals and health care facilities. After all during emergencies the health backup systems are extremely taxed to their limits.

Quality care will usually be at a premium as there simply will not be sufficient personnel to adequately take care of the injured and ill. It is not unusual for the governor of the various states to take those retired or unlicensed volunteers and extend emergency credentials to them so that they may provide the necessary and needed care.

Many alternate care sites will be setup and functioning. These types of sites will be placed in school gymnasiums, sports centers as well as in ordinary parking lots. These particular sites will be equipped for handling various ill and injured patients.

Since most medical equipment will be rationed you should not expect to see much in the way of electronic medical equipment at the temporary sites. The patients who have a critical need for such treatment and here is the key words, “who are likely to survive” will be the ones that are treated prior to those who may be extremely sick or injured to the extent that they may not survive. This was one of the key points for which my FEMA classes stressed.

In view of this shortage of equipment, supplies and practitioners we should be fully prepared to accept that some of the older and sicker of the patients will simply be permitted to die so as the lives of patients that are more likely to survive may receive the available care. This scenario is more then likely to be seen during massive disasters, any sort of biological terror attacks or during an influenza pandemic.

Of course, we fully realize that this is simply not the manner for which nurses and doctors conduct their affairs, however, it is certain to become a part of the various statewide planning.

This new program has even been given an official name. It is known as the "surge capacity guidelines". These guidelines have been released by several state Departments of Public Health. The guidelines actually provide a scenario where patients can be herded into emergency public locations for care or at places where animal doctors could tend to their wounds or repair their broken bones.

The state of California has a 1,900 page document which outlines the various practical and ethical principles for the local and county health personnel, hospital administrators and emergency responders. It will certainly be difficult for those people who are used to saving lives to actually forsake those patients who require their help. In addition the California plan sets guidelines for which the responsibilities for the patient’s protection can be waived in the event that the governor declares an emergency. Additional changes to business as usual would be where the hospitals would not have to report births of newborns, deaths of patients, any sort of infectious disease outbreaks, any acts of medication errors or suspected child or elderly abuse. Keep in mind that any rules that currently protects a patient’s privacy will be simply tossed out the window.

Although this may appear to be tough to think about it actually is the only effective way that the system can handle the massive problems that will be associated with any sort of major disaster. In view of all this perhaps if you have anyone in a hospital or a nursing home you might wish to reconsider putting your priority on getting them out of their as your first item of business.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/02/fate-of-elderly-during-crisis.html


Fresh Ingredients

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Granny Smith apples, cored, diced

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

1 shallot, minced

feta cheese (optional)

Storage Ingredients

3 cups cooked wheat berries, chilled

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup cashews, toasted, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl, mix the vegetable oil, orange juice, vinegar, coriander, and cinnamon. Set aside. To the wheat berries add apples, mint, shallots, and cranberries. Toss with the dressing to coat. Prior to serving, add the roasted cashews.

Thank you to Charlene Blackburn for this wonderful recipe!

I love it when people share their tried and true methods for using whole wheat berries. This satisfying salad is another perfect way to finally start enjoying the wheat that’s been stored in your home for years. With very little work you can create a dish that’s packed with nutrition and such a fun gourmet alternative to the usual salad selections!

Original: http://www.idareyoutoeatit.com/2009/02/wheat-berry-salad-with-apples-and-cashews/

A Penny Saved is Several Pennies Earned

By Joseph Parish

We have previously discussed saving money for emergency bug out situations. That money would be used towards gasoline, tolls, etc as you head to your emergency survival retreat. Now we are going to talk about saving a few cents for those emergency times that may be in our future. When I say a few cents I literally mean pennies.

Those pennies which are minted by our government today are not made of copper anymore but rather zinc and as such are valued below a penny however those pennies that were created prior to 1982 did in fact contain copper.

The change from copper standard to zinc for a penny was accomplished in 1982 so that our government could save money on their penny production. Interestingly, as it is a pre-1982 United States penny contains approximately 2 ½ cents worth of copper. Those pennies minted after 1982 are composed of mostly zinc and are worthless for our emergency saving use. The only valuable money currently in circulation is the pre-1982 Lincoln coins. I might also add that that the United States nickels also contain more than their face value of five cents in the metal used to make them but that is a separate story.

You can generally break down the pennies in circulation into four different categories:

Category 1 is all coins up until 1959. These coins will include the popular wheat pennies, flying eagles, Indian head pennies as well as the large cents. The true values of these types of coins lie in their collector merit. They are extremely valuable to coin collectors. These coins although you may collect them for emergencies should be stored separate then your other coins. The common wheat penny has a collectible value of approximately two cents at this time.

The second category for coins is those pennies that were minted from 1959 to 1981. These coins are the actual copper content cents and are the ones that we would want to hold on to for emergency purposes. Although the metal content is valued at 2 and ½ times its value these coins are still very readily available at your local bank for only one penny each. These coins usually contain about 95 percent copper.

The third category represents those coins that were minted during 1982. It was in 1982 that the United States Mint decided to change the penny from a composition of copper to one of zinc. This was a mixed up year for coins as some of the pennies ended up being made from copper while others of the same year were made of zinc. Although you could very well tell the difference in the coins by use of a scale or perhaps by appearance and sound it really isn’t worth the bother since there are so many pre 1982 pennies in circulation. At this point you should cash in all of your 1982 pennies and merely save your pre-1982 ones.

The last category that we will talk about is the 1983 to the present day pennies. These are the pennies which do not contain any valuable metals what so ever. Their composition is actually 97 percent zinc and only 3 percent copper. They are basically worthless in regards to their metal content and should be spent or traded.

Many people may be wondering just what the benefit of saving these pre- 1981 pennies. As the price of copper rises which is very likely to occur, your investment will more then double. We have to remember that copper has several different uses within the various industrial processes and the price of copper has been continually rising over the past several years. At the current rate even though the pre-1982 pennies contains 2 ½ cents worth of valuable copper metal it is not economically feasible at this time to sort the copper pennies and melt them down. At some future point in time this will become a profitable venture that you could do and realize a healthy profit.

In the event that our economy fails and our infrastructure collapses our money system will become worthless. When governments fail like this the money which they create becomes worthless and its only value is in the metal continent that it is created from as an example gold, silver or copper. When Germany devaluated the German mark after the war it was so useless that it took a wheelbarrow of coins to merely purchase a single loaf of bread. When these types of situations occur the people search for alternate items with real value to use as money. These alternates are usually some sort of valuable metals.

As survivors it would be a “Good Idea” to prepare for when TSHTF scenarios. In essence save some pennies and in either case you will benefit. They will become valuable whether our infrastructure crashes or not.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/02/penny-saved-is-several-pennies-earned.html

Paying Your Bills With Micro Businesses

When I was a kid there was a lady who lived next door to my grandparents. She had a small farm, raised chickens, and we called her the Egg Lady because she had a thriving business selling excess eggs from her chickens. One day I overheard her telling my grandmother that she used the money raised from selling her eggs to pay their monthly electric bill. She would read her meter monthly, estimate how much the bill would be, then put that amount aside from her small egg business so that she could pay the bill when it came in. She also used the money earned from her U Pick strawberry patch for Christmas gifts. Another set of neighbors recycled beer and soda pop cans to pay for their cigarettes. They smoked A LOT. They also had A LOT of cans around. They would let the neighbor kids come over and use the sledgehammer (this was entertainment in those days) to smash the cans so they would take up less room in the bags they used to haul their loot to the recycling plant. If they needed more cigarettes, they simply collected more cans. These people may have been on to something.
Many people look at their bills as one big glob. They think "I need a job that pays X thousand dollars a month so I can pay my bills." That can seem pretty intimidating, especially during this time of mass layoffs. What would happen if your broke your bills down individually and looked for income sources to pay each bill? For example, part time work will pay for your house payment. Watching the neighbor kids for a couple of hours after school will pay for food for the month. Mowing lawns or shoveling snow can pay for the cable bill. These kinds of "micro businesses" are good for a couple of reasons. First, if one source of income dries up, it isn't as devastating as having all of your bills dependant on one source of income. Second, you will know how much work you need to do. For example, if your cable bill is $100 a month, and you can mow five lawns for $25 each, you will be able to recoup your expenses (mainly gas for the mower) and pay the bill with work that you can conceivably do in one day. If you need to pay off a $2000 credit card bill, you could do something similar--take any crappy job and put all money earned towards paying off the bill. The high point? You have a definite goal--you won't need to work the crappy job forever, just until the bill is paid (you can even mark the days on a calendar until you can quit). Also, the lousy work will instill in you each time you go to work why you will never want to incur credit card debt again.

The idea of having a number of micro businesses doesn't only pertain to manual labor. A friend of mine drives a school bus during the school year and puts that money towards the family's summer vacations (and they go on some pretty nice vacations). If you are a web designer, you may want to set a goal of finding one new customer a month to create a website for. The initial income from the website design can go towards a debt you are trying to pay off and the smaller monthly income from the maintenance and updating of the website can go towards your monthly Netflix subscription.

Try this today if you are having difficulty paying your bills. First list each bill and it's approximate monthly amount. You may want to look over your list and cut unnecessary expenses as this will be one more source of income you won't have to drum up. Next, use your imagination to come up with ways to earn enough money to pay for just one of these bills. Next month, after you are successful with creating a micro business to pay one bill, you may want to shoot for two or three bills. Pretty soon each of your bills will have a source of income coming in to pay for it.

Note: you may want to devise businesses/work that can recur on a monthly business. Seasonal work may be used to pay off a debt completely or you can save the income for a special purchase. You want minimal cash outlay to get the business/work effort going, and you definitely want to keep track of the numbers--your income minus expenses needs to make the profit you need for one of your bills or it isn't worth doing.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/02/paying-your-bills-with-micro-businesses.html

What if Your Survival Depended on Knowing What Wild Plants You Could Eat?

Not long ago I read some thought provoking comments on wild edible plants from someone who formerly lived in the country and now lives in an urban area. He said he felt blessed to be able to recognize edibles growing in his yard and up through sidewalks. Others around him couldn’t spot something as simple as plantain leaves and know what to do with them. In a time of calamity and food shortages, he wouldn’t starve, but his neighbors might.

It’s wonderful that this man knows about the food growing around him, even in a city environment; but most of us aren’t that fortunate. We need help from a good reference book such as Harvesting Nature's Bounty 2nd Edition: A Guidebook of Wild Edible, Medicinal and Utilitarian Plants, Survival, and Nature Lore, by Kevin F. Duffy.

Harvesting Nature’s Bounty is a treasure trove of nature wisdom and lore. It not only covers wild edible and medicinal plants, and survival skills, but it also covers subjects as varied as fish stunners, weather predictors, cricket temperature, pine pitch glue, natural bug repellents, and a wide variety of new culinary sources. Discover communing with nature and reconnect at a level known only to our distant ancestors. Discover where the treasures of nature are located and how they can be used. You may never see a field or forest in quite the same way as before.

Over 200 species are discussed in Harvesting Nature’s Bounty along with their various uses. This book includes over 100 photographs and is heavily annotated with references. It covers nature lore, including that used by Native Americans. It also contains info on shelters, fire starting, water collecting, and alternative hunting methods without weapons.

Discover how to:

* find and eat some of the most important food staples of the Native Americans, like acorns, groundnuts, cattails, and more.

* build a survival shelter with no tools that can protect you and keep you dry in sub-freezing weather.

* catch large bullfrogs during the day without any tools.

* recognize a plant that will prevent poison ivy from developing after you have been exposed.

* find wild edible plants in the dead of winter.

* recognize natural treatments that can be found in nature for over dozens of the most common complaints.

* get safe water from nature.

* collect large edible crayfish with just a flashlight and a bucket at night.

* find natural wild substitutes for the majority of the spices in your spice rack.

* find edible flowers that might be growing in your yard.

To find out what else is included in this second edition of Harvesting Nature’s Bounty, order your copy by clicking on the picture of the book below, and you’ll be taken to the Amazon.com page featuring this book. What if your survival one day really does depend on what you know about the edible plants and other food around us? How well prepared would you be?

Original: http://destinysurvival.com/2009/02/21/what-if-your-survival-depended-on-knowing-what-wild-plants-you-could-eat/

Is there a difference between short term and long term food storage?

By Joseph Parish

When sitting among the various survival groups you often hear it said that someone is storing this or that for their short term storage and this and that for their long term storage. This is actually utter nonsense as the only difference in the short and the long term storage should be the quantity of products that are being stored.

There is an old saying among those who practice food storage and that is that you should store what you eat and eat what you store. Why in the world would anyone wish to store cans of mixed vegetables if they do not eat them. If you don’t like to eat them in the short term then you certainly will not care for them several years from now. I would like to think that no one would store something that they did not care for but rather save some extra items that they do like. People who state that they are saving foods for the long term that they do not care to eat must not fully understand what the terms actually mean. Generally one should incorporate their long term foods in with their short term ones.

I am fortunate in that I have several freezers for my frozen meats and occasional vegetables. In addition, I have a complete room that serves as my pantry for both the dry foods and those purchased in cans. Then we use the kitchen closets for our immediate needs.

Now don’t get me wrong for I store more then just our foods. I actual store many different items that I feel would be required if my family and I had to survive any time in our safe room. Whatever I use something up I try to purchase at least 2 or 3 more to replace them. This way I do not destroy our family budget when I buy replacement supplies. I usually try to have at least one year’s supply of products readily available and stored away for any sort of emergency. In my supplies you can find things such as lamp oil, matches and lighters, mantles, soaps, shampoo and conditioners. I have stored up on toilet paper as well as deodorant.

I keep a small supply of crayons and coloring books as well as other items that could occupy a Childs life when in a semi-isolated condition. The key here is to keep the children busy and thus take their minds off of the emergency at hand.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/02/is-there-difference-between-short-term.html

Preparing Your Feet for TEOTWAWKI, by The Surgeon

This essay will cover several common foot problems which can be prevented with proper care. These problems can lead to impaired walking, running, and decreased mobility, which may adversely affect survival in a serious post disaster situation. The foundation for this information is basic knowledge gleaned from the 1930s edition Scout Handbook, which relied heavily on Lord Baden Powell’s experience in the British Army.The author is a Board-Certified Surgeon.

The feet have a hard job to do. They support the weight of the body standing, walking, running, and jumping. Any time there is excess body weight, the added load on the feet can result in problems. These include plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains. There is a much higher incidence of Type II Diabetes in the obese, and this leads to a host of foot problems, many of which can be life-threatening.
Ingrown toenails are a common preventable problem. There is a congenital predisposition based on the geometry of the nail, and this is made into a problem by the bad habit of keeping the nails too short and ripping the nail off instead of trimming or filing it straight across. This leads to a spicule of nail which points into the soft and delicate tissue of the nail fold, where it causes irritation, inflammation, and finally chronic infection and pain.

The preventive treatment is to keep the nail as thin as possible by filing the surface, which makes it flexible instead of rigid, and to avoid any ripping of the nail. The nail should be gently filed or trimmed straight across, with only enough rounding of the sides to prevent digging into the skin. A small tuft of cotton can be wedged between the nail and the nail bed if needed to prevent digging in until the nail grows long enough. [JWR Adds: I concur that a relatively "square" cut is best, as has been encouraged by military organizations since before the 1850s. However, readers are forewarned that changing the profile of toenails radically can cause in-growth, so make any changes gradually!]

Sometimes cutting a “V” notch in the center of the leading edge can relieve the pressure on the sides until it grows out.

There are proprietary systems which involve gluing a rigid polymer or metallic strip across the nail to pull up on the sides. In theory this should work. It is difficult to get any adhesive to work on nails, but they are worth a try.

If things have gotten too far out of hand, and a spicule of nail is growing into the nail fold, then a thin portion of nail will need to be removed by a surgeon or podiatrist.
This can be done as an office procedure with local anesthesia. The procedure itself is not very hard but I have found that getting good anesthesia requires some skill and patience and I would not recommend it as a “do-it-yourself” project. The nail matrix needs to be destroyed either by cautery or by a caustic agent to prevent re-growth on the affected side. Recovering from this to achieve normal walking takes several weeks.

Parents and partners need to look out for each other and their children since this can become a serious problem. Education about proper foot care starts early along with toothbrushing.
Immersion foot or trench foot is caused by chronic exposure to water and extreme environmental condition, either hot and humid or cold. The best prevention is avoidance of immersion, and if this should occur, dry socks need to be put on after drying and powdering the feet. It is helpful to have spare boots. The time to break these in and waterproof them is now.

Ankle sprains can be extremely debilitating. Wearing well-fitted ankle high boots, laced securely, best prevents this. There is a great product available wherever animal health supplies are sold called Vet rap made by 3M. It is flexible elastic wrap that is self-adherent. It provides excellent support for those who have previously injured their ankles, and it makes an all-purpose first aid dressing material, which can help hold a pressure dressing in place, or keep a splint immobile. If you would like to pay more, the human version is called Coban. I would recommend the 4” size.

Diabetics need to take special care of their feet. In a survival situation it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to get the specialized care needed to treat a diabetic foot infection, so prevention is key. Because of the peripheral neuropathy which many diabetics develop, the feet may lose sensation. It is very important to frequently inspect the feet for any injury, nails rubbing on the skin, pressure sores, etc. This is best done with a partner so all parts of the foot can be seen. Nails need to be cared for meticulously. Cotton tufts can be placed between the toes. Shoes must be “shaken out” frequently to make sure that no pebbles or debris get inside. Well-fitting high boots are less likely to get debris inside than sneakers or low-cut footwear.

Smoking can lead to severe peripheral vascular disease with loss of arterial supply to the toes and feet. In a normal situation it can lead to gangrene and amputation. Combined with diabetes it can result in more severe atherosclerotic changes in the blood vessels. It can also make the smoker more susceptible to frostbite.

Who can help you meet these challenges? Most experienced outdoorsmen and soldiers have learned the hard away about these issues. Next to making sure the troops get enough water to drink, foot care comes a close second. It might be a good idea to link up with a healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have any remediable issues such as ingrown nails that require attention.
Diabetic control and smoking cessation can be approached with your primary care doctor. There are specially trained nurses who frequent senior centers and nursing homes, providing basic foot care. Those with a nursing background might check out this type of training. For good quality shoes with plenty of toe room, and custom made inserts for pressure relief, you’ll need to see an orthotist.
Having healthy feet is critical to maintaining a tactical readiness for future possible disaster. Some chronic foot problems develop over years, so now is the time to make appropriate changes in one’s habits.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/preparing_your_feet_for_teotwa.html

Long Term Food Storage Techniques

Everyone should have came to the realization by now that storing up some extra food is one of those no brainer, must do activities. For all of you that are just getting on board with this way of life, I am sure the thought often arises of how to keep your stored food from spoiling. What I do is store my rice, grains, etc in sealed Mylar bags inside 5 gallon plastic buckets. I always place between 10-15 100cc oxygen absorbers before sealing the Mylar bags. The article below goes in depth in explaining how to use Oxygen Absorbers and Nitrogen Packing.-Nomad


Improve Survival Food Storage - Oxygen Absorbers and Nitrogen Packing
By Kevin Taylor

After food has been freeze dried what else can be done to preserve it?

The freeze drying process removes 98% of the water from food, stopping bacterial growth as well as killing insects and their eggs.

Beyond freeze drying further to preserve food and increase shelf life, oxygen is the main enemy. If the food is stored in a way that it is not exposed to oxygen, the shelf life can reach 25 to 30 years. Shelf life here refers to the food maintaining it's properties of nutritional value, taste, and appearance. It may still be safe to eat beyond this time but the aforementioned properties are degraded.

Oxygen Absorbers

Some freeze dried food producers use oxygen absorbers to extend shelf life.

Oxygen absorbers are materials that chemically react with oxygen in the environment they are in, combining with the oxygen and thus removing it from that environment. The most commonly used material for absorbers is iron in the forms of iron powder or iron carbonate. Both combine with oxygen very effectively.

Once oxygen absorbers are exposed to oxygen they will continue to react with it until the material is fully "oxidized" meaning it can not absorb any more oxygen. For this reason they need to be very carefully sealed and stored so that they are not consumed before their intended use.

The application in which oxygen absorbers are used for freeze dried food storage is to place them in the can of food before it is vacuum sealed.

The idea is that any oxygen that leaks into the sealed container over years of storage will be absorbed by it, rather than the oxygen reacting with the freeze dried food and degrading it.

There are two types of oxygen absorbers commonly used. One type, Multisorb Technologies' FreshPax Type-B requires some moisture from the environment it is in to be present to work and is used for moist foods like bread and processed meats. Type-D absorbers contain there own moisture source and are thus suited to dry foods like freeze dried food.

You may remember the old adage Aristotle proclaimed in 350 BC, "nature abhors a vacuum". So any vacuum packed container will over time be invaded, if ever so slightly, by the surrounding air and with it the 21% of air that is oxygen.

So while the oxygen absorber will extend the shelf life by absorbing the oxygen in the air that is present initially during packing as well as the air that leaks in over time, eventually the absorber will be "maxed out", that is it will be fully oxidized and can not absorb any more oxygen.

I have seen the guarantees for shelf life for this type packed freeze dried food at 10-15 years. This period may be a reflection of the limit of the process and process controls that the producer of the food uses, as well as that of the oxygen absorber. http://bulk-survival-food.com

Nitrogen Packing

Nitrogen packing or "nitro-pak" on the other hand takes a different approach to dealing with oxygen "enemy".

Rather than relying on the properties of the container to fight the invading air trying to get in, the container is flushed with nitrogen or packed in a nitrogen environment. As a result the sealed container has the same or slightly higher pressure but with nitrogen and not air. This means that air is not fighting to get in. There is no abhorrence so to speak.

Thus the period that the food remains unexposed to significant concentrations of oxygen is much longer and thus the possible shelf life is longer.

What is the longest shelf life for nitrogen packed freeze dried food?

Mountain House, the commercial brand of Oregon Freeze Dry which has been around for over 40 years, states on their web site regarding their #10 cans of freeze dried food;

"Our foods will have the longest shelf life available...up to 30 years!"

It may be the result of superior process controls, not only the nitrogen packing process, that makes them feel comfortable making this statement.

There is information online on how you can nitro-pak foods yourself with some equipment but I would be leery of assuming your process control would be on the same par and have the same shelf life.

In any case "nitro-pak" freeze dried food has the longest shelf life for any type of commercially available stored food I have seen.

Kevin Taylor is author of the blog Survival Food - Freeze Dried and MRE with an average of over 7,000 visitors per month. http://bulk-survival-food.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kevin_Taylor

Additional Reading:

Long Term Food Storage-Video

Food Storage Mistakes

Food Storage Calculator

Food Storage for Emergencies

Food Storage and Preparation

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/fSaJqsSNQG8/long-term-food-storage-techniques.html

RV Prepping

I've been catching up on my blog reading through the day today - the ones I follow regularly are all listed over on the right side - and are great for prep tips, Stealth Survival and the State Prepper's Network are musts, and I just love Mayberry's passion, spirit, raw honesty, his writing style, and I so appreciate the struggles he's working through; providing a front-row seat to his readers. And our reader, Mickey, has been adding some fantastic comments to my posts. I'd like him to do some guest articles. I really like his perspective and the direction of his research. He's wanting to run AC off his solar/wind configuration, which is very interesting. Something I didn't think could happen. We need to tap into his background with the boat, and his mechanical skills. Check out his comments on some of the more recent posts on batteries and coach v. 5th.

There are a few other sites I check now and then (stuff like infowars.com; stevequayle.com; godlikeproductions.com; Drudge for quick news thru the day, etc.) but by-and-large, I feel pretty comfortable that I got keyed into what the "master plan" was back in September, and then I worked my butt off to do as much as I could, as fast as I could. So I don't spend as much time reading about the zigs and zags of the plan - i.e., how far Citi tanked Friday, or that gold touched 1,000/oz. I glance, but don't focus, on that kind of information. It's all quite predictable, presuming you are in tune with the ultimate plan.

What I am focusing on is prepping, picking up ideas everywhere I can. I feel like I have the basics - and I'm continuing to add, especially food. One of the really nice things about being in an RV full-time is the sheer simplicity of it. It's serene. Peaceful. Quiet. Small-scale.

Plus, there's only so much you can do, and then you rely on the RV to fill-in the rest. This is why I want to continue getting off the grid. With an adequate supply of food, and enough battery power to stay comfortable, boil water in the microwave, and heat/cool the thing, etc., I figure as long as I have a place to park it, I can weather the upcoming storms.

So that's where my thoughts are now. I have the basics; now tweak the plan. Patch-up the holes in my plan as best I can. Shore-up. Analyze the weak spots. Take action to improve them. Always looking ahead.

What are mine...today?
1) I need to get the inverter installed, the Air-X Wind Turbine connected, and order my solar panels. These are top priorities. I'd hoped to get the inverter installed this past week, but life got in the way. I'm going to shoot for this coming week.

2) I still want to find a cheap, small plot of land within 4 to 6 hours. I've done some tertiary looking, but I need to step it up. I'm going to work out a plan to search land in several areas, and start contacting realtors. I'd really like to buy auction land, so I may need to get web sites to read local community newspapers, or even subscribe to a few. The Texas Prepper's Network has a good link for finding land there. Click here to go to the site. This "Lands of..." is available for all the states - you can Google: "Lands of New Mexico", for example, or "Lands of Georgia"...

3) More food. I want as much as I can get, given I only have so much room. When it gets really bad, and when food inflation hits, this is going to be the top-priority survival asset, in my opinion. I can't store enough for a multi-year supply, but I can still add more to what I have now, which is about a year. Security is also a big issue.

Now, someone with land might want ammo over a large food stock, assuming they could hunt what they need. Certainly, but that's not where most RV preppers would find themselves, so accumulation is generally part of RV prepping (I know..the RV parked on land where you could hunt...got it. Too many variables!).

I recommend NOT telling anyone about your food supply, and there are only a very few people who I have ever discussed it with (mostly my kids) but in a blog-situation about prepping, if you don't discuss food prepping, well...you get the point. Anyone who says they are prepping for TSHTF is storing food...gardening...hunting...you can count on it. I'll be pretty hard to find by then, so you know from reading this blog that yes, I'm prepping food. So are a lot of other people. But the folks around me don't...and won't know until it hits. (Storing, by the way...not hoarding. You can't hoard in an RV)

4) Bank solution. I'm currently with one of the big banks, although I only keep in the bank enough to pay bills. The rest is...well...it's not accessible. I'm thinking though that a smaller community bank might be better - if they will tell me the truth of their current financial condition. The small banks are loaning money these days, while the big one's are tighter, so I figure the right small bank is probably in better financial shape. Plus, I won't have to deal with whatever nationalization looks like.

#4 is easy, and so is the inverter, which is the next step in #1. Need to do those next week. #3 is on-going. Need to make some small purchases this week. #2 is something that will take time, but I need to turn thoughts into action.

Thank you for letting me work out my week-ahead prep checklist. Hope it helps spawn some thoughts for your situation...

Original: http://rvsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/02/rv-prepping.html

growing mushrooms

shitake.jpgAnyone who's been to a gardening class or a permaculture class about how to produce more food from home has heard the question, "What can I grow in the shade?" Shaded areas, especially deeply shaded areas of the yard, are not especially conducive to growing fruits and vegetables. Those plants like sunlight. So what is a Victory Gardener to do? One answer is mushrooms.

At this point I'd like to share my status as a novice concerning mushroom cultivation. This was my first attempt at growing fungi for personal consumption so feel free to learn with me but please don't label me an expert. I'm just figuring this out as I go and sharing the experience. I'm following the directions of the Mushroom People of Summertown, TN. I'm going to grow Shitakes and you're welcome to follow along.

After receive my inoculation plugs in the mail, my brother and I thinned several trees from a family member's property.

I'm a big fan of trees and as such I'd like to advocate using trees that are scheduled to be cut down. If you have a wooded area on your property, this could be a useful part of its sustainable management. People who cut trees for a living might be able to provide you with fresh timber without having to cut down trees that would have otherwise remained in place. Be sure to use trees cut before the leaves appear in the spring so that means get in gear if you want to grow mushrooms this year. Logs should be between 3" and 6" inches in diameter. Oak works best but other hardwoods like Sweetgum or most Maples will work alright. Stay away from softwoods and pines.

My brother and I cut 40" long logs that were fairly easy to move around. We let them the rest for a few days after cutting them but it should be noted that the directions mention getting the logs inoculated within three weeks of cutting. It's important to do so before naturally occurring fungi begin to move in and start rotting the logs. We stacked them on a pallet to keep them off the ground which helps keep them from being contaminated.

Growing mushrooms in natural logs seems to be all about moisture content. The logs must remain moist so we stacked them in a place where we can water them or soak them periodically during the warmer, drier months. They need to remain in the shade as this will help keep their internal moisture content strong.


When we were ready, we placed the logs on saw horses. Then I marked the logs every 6" staying at least a 2" from the ends of each log. Jon drilled holes with a 5/8" bit about 1" into each log at each mark. Then I rotated each log about 2" and repeated this process.


The result was a grid of holes all the way around the log. Then I tapped a mushroom plug into each hole. To seal the holes we melted cheese wax, also purchased from the Mushroom People. I melted it and then brushed it over each hole with an old paint brush. I also used it to seal the stumps of small branches I removed earlier when cutting down the trees.


The logs were returned to their stacking location. The incubation period is about 9 months so we won't have mushrooms until next winter, or more likely next spring. But the logs will fruit for several years to come, producing 3 to 5 ponds of mushrooms per log. And with plenty of shaded area that won't even grow good lawn, homegrown mushrooms seems like a good idea, despite the wait. And it really didn't take much time or money. I'll let you know how they turn out.


Original: http://poweringdown.blogspot.com/2009/02/growing-mushrooms.html

Seed Swaps

Seed Swaps can give you all sorts of tomato varieties like these seedlings from jspatchwork on FlickrSeed swaps and plant swaps are the easiest way to get a wide variety of vegetables in your garden without having to go to specialty nurseries or throw away perfectly good seed!

Most packets of seeds that you get for tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, eggplants and pumpkins have far too many seeds for the average gardener to truly be able to make use of. Particularly tomatoes! You’re best off planting a couple three varieties of those if you have the room, so you can hedge against a cool summer and still have tomatoes or an extra hot summer and still have tomatoes. Besides, there are so many wonderful varieties, I can’t imagine why a common backyard gardener would choose to only grow the thirty or so plants that one package of Roma tomato seeds would produce even if they had room for thirty tomato plants.

Enter seed and plant swaps! It’s a marvelous way to break the winter doldrums and get you out of the house, get your gardening blood flowing and meet other gardeners. If you cannot locate a seed swap already happening in your area, set one up! All you need is an afternoon, probably on a week-end, and some table space. Put up some flyers, announce it on your local Craig’s List calendar and folks with seeds to spare will have a gathering place to share their bounty and curiosities. Now is a good time to start, but even as late as April for most areas will work. You might even want to have a couple of them so that at the second one people can bring the bedding plants and vegetable starts that they have extra.

Here’s a list of on line seed swapping sites to get you started.

National Gardening Association Seed Swap

Old Farmer’s Almanac Seed Swap

Seed Swaps

Seed Swap on ThriftyFun

Seed Exchange

There’s another seed swapping forum on Craig’s List; go to your local Craig’s List page and click on any of the forums shown on the front page. Once the forum has loaded, go up to your address bar in your browser and change whatever the last numbers are to 7333 and you’ll be in the Seeds and Plants Swap Forum for your area.

Here’s a little incentive! I’ll send five Hubbard squash seeds to each of the first six people who comment here and ask for them. If you don’t have room for Hubbards, let’s chat and see what I might have in my seed box that would work for you…and there’s lots! I love seeds…they’re just so full of potential; they seem to know it, and follow me home. I’m seriously cramped for space when I’m not guerrilla gardening, so I have several compact varieties of various vegetables. But Hubbard squash is probably what I have the most of and they are so incredible and tasty! Besides—they store like rocks and livestock love them.

So get swappin’!

This week in the garden:
21-22 Any root crops that can be planted now will do well.
23-24 Barren days. Fine for clearing, plowing, fertilizing and killing plant pests.
25-26 Plant peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes, and other above-ground crops in southern Florida, California, and Texas. Extra good for cucumbers, peas, cantaloupes, and other vine crops. Set strawberry plants.
27-28 Seeds planted now will grow poorly and yield little.

Original: http://ourright2selfreliance.today.com/2009/02/20/seed-swaps/