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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prepping and DIY

One part of prepping that often gets overlooked is DIY.

We're all stocking our pantries with several months worth of food, we keep adding to our first-aid kits, we are learning how to grow our own food and keep our eyes open for deals on ammo. But in the event of SHTF, natural disaster or an outbreak of a deadly virus - have we prepped enough to become as self-sufficient as possible?

The more DIY projects we start and master now - the better it will be for us all down the road!

Starting up some weekly DIY projects now will help you to prepare for SHTF in the long run but in the short term, DIY can help you save money, learn new and useful skills, re-purpose and re-use items that you may already have (or find in someone else's garbage) AND help you become more self-sufficient. All it takes is a little motivation, eagerness and, well a little help!

The Internet is an excellent source for a variety of DIY sites and projects; however, today I share with you what just might be the absolute best internet site for DIY - Instructables !!!

The site has articles and step-by-step instructions for almost anything you can imagaine! Whether you want to fix your tractor engine, build a new chicken coop or generate your own electricity - this is the place to go! The site is free to join and allows you to tag your favourite DIYs, post instructions for your own DIYs and provides downloadable PDF instructions for all projects - did I remember to mention that it's FREE?

So, to whet your appetites, here are a few of the many DIY projects to be found:

Build a Greenhouse from old windows

Awesome storage containers from Water Bottles

Compost bin from old shipping palettes

A windmill from aluminum flashing and a bicycle wheel

Repairing cordless drill packs

Soldering, soldering and soldering!!!

A lawn mower made from a drill

How to replace an alternator

Pop-bottle herb garden

How to build a rain barrel

How to build a rainwater collector

Build a 60-watt Solar Panel

So need I say more? Well yes - I probably should point out that the site contains a variety of great recipes, arts and crafts projects for your kids, DIY projects for both inside and outside of the home - everything you can imagine!

So check it out - you'll be glad that you did! And then share your favourite DIYs with others on the network!

Original: http://canadianpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/03/prepping-and-diy.html

Recession grows interest in seeds, vegetable gardening

By Bruce Horovitz (see original article here, USA TODAY

Hard economic times are acting like instant fertilizer on an industry that had been growing slowly: home vegetable gardening.

Amid the Washington talk of "shovel-ready" recession projects, it appears few projects are more shovel-ready than backyard gardens. Veggie seed sales are up double-digits at the nation's biggest seed sellers this year.

What's more, the number of homes growing vegetables will jump more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, projects the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.

"As the economy goes down, food gardening goes up," says Bruce Butterfield, the group's research director. "We haven't seen this kind of spike in 30 years."

At W. Atlee Burpee, the world's largest seed company, seed sales will jump 25% this year, Chairman George Ball estimates. "It's weird to have everyone else you talk to experiencing plunging markets. We're on a roll."

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Washington God National Gardening Association Park Seed W. Atlee Burpee

Burpee is taking pains to craft its marketing to fit the times, says Ball. It recently rolled out the "Money Garden," a value bundle of tomato, bean, red pepper, carrot, lettuce and snap pea seeds sold online at www.burpee.com. With a separate retail value of $20, the pack sells for $10, and under the right conditions, Burpee claims, can produce $650 worth of veggies.

"Seeds are God's microchip," says Ball. But in the suddenly hot world of veggie seed sales, Burpee has company:

•Park Seed. Vegetable seed sales are up 20% this year vs. 2008, says Walter Yates, who oversees the company's e-commerce.

Says Yates, "Every time this country goes through a recession, there is a surge of folks who want to get back to basics."

•Renee's Garden. Business manager Sarah Renfro says veggie seed sales were up about 10% last year and look to grow up to 20%.

"After years of declining veggie seed sales, the whole cycle has completely reversed," says Renee Shepherd, president.

•Harris Seeds. Home garden vegetable seed sales are up 80% from one year ago, says Dick Chamberlin, president. "A jump like this has never happened."

•Ferry-Morse Seed. After 2008 sales grew 5%, the company stocked up on 50% more vegetable seeds to sell in 2009, says John Hamrick, vice president of sales and marketing.

The veggies are apparently squeezing flowers for space in the nation's gardens. Ferry-Morse, along with others, is seeing a decline in sales of flower seeds, and Hamrick says the company has switched its inventory mix from 50-50 to 40% flower seeds and 60% veggies.

Original: http://fillingyourark.blogspot.com/2009/02/recession-grows-interest-in-seeds_26.html

Surviving the Unexpected- Mentally

Natural disasters are apparently on the rise. People are beginning to panic at the thought of the global economic collapse. Fear is driving gun sales and bulk food purchases. Several people that I know are afraid of what the future holds. Talk of FEMA camps, military drafts, civil unrest, and chaos is making many tremble with anxiety.

While the unexpected can and does occur its not really something to fear. An excellent tool in overcoming the obstacles life throws at us is to prepare for them. As devastating as hurricane Katrina was, I still cannot comprehend how unprepared the people of New Orleans were. It was no secret that they lived in a hurricane strike zone. It was no secret that they lived below sea level, at the edge of the sea. Common sense and logic would dictate that this is a recipe for disaster. The people had plenty of advanced notice, yet they still refused to prepare.

I don't put much stock into psychiatry. I think it is, more often than not, for weak minded people. Yes, I know there are people with medical conditions, who are chemically unbalanced, etc. but I think that the majority of people seeking a shrink have a problem with their ethos, not their mind. Especially since our society has been trying to turn our boys into the soft, sensitive, metro-sexual types. Somehow I just can't imagine Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clarke, or Paul Revere laying on a couch, talking about how their mommies mistreated them.

With that said, I recently read an article claiming that psychological devastation will affect more lives than the physical or economic toll, warns the Australian Psychological Society in reference to the recent fires. Below are a few quotes from that article.

“During and immediately after a disaster of this magnitude the focus is understandably on sheer survival and rescue,” says Professor Bob Montgomery, president of the APS.

“But soon after, most people will naturally show signs of distress. At this point, survivors benefit most from simple practical and emotional support. Getting some order and control back into their lives and having their emotions validated as the normal reactions to severe stress. These are basic components of psychological first aid, to help people heal themselves,” he says.

“People have a great capacity for healing themselves and most don’t need any special professional help to deal with the psychological impact of a traumatic event, just practical and emotional support,” he says.

“However, there will always be some people who are at risk of prolonged and serious reactions, usually in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“This involves flashbacks and nightmares of the original event, disturbed sleep, increased anxiety and tension, avoidance of normal activities, especially those that may include reminders of the trauma. PTSD is a potentially serious psychological problem, associated with depression, anger, strained relationships, excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, and suicide.”

The best way survivors and those around them can help is to keep an eye on themselves and each other for persistent signs of distress. If a survivor is still showing signs of distress three or four weeks after the trauma, like those noted above, then it’s time to seek some professional help before the problem becomes chronic.

Again, let me be clear there are people who are unbalanced and will need medical help. However, sometimes I think what people need is a swift kick in the pants. Some people are just sniveling whine bags who couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

Folks, we are in for some hard times. It's time to cowboy up and stop sniveling. Men, it's time to put down your Loofahs and hand creme and man up. They are afraid of the American man. That's why they have done their best to feminize our society. They know a country full of Marlboro men will kick their asses. They also know that a country full of metro-sexual's will be so overwhelmed by the fact that they can't get their manicures and eyebrows waxed that they'll be cowering in the corner in a pill driven, psycho babbled, hissy fit. Decide, today,who you are America and then eat hardy for tomorrow we dine in Hell (quote stolen from the movie 300). Source Article: Manage the Stress of Natural Disasters

Additional Reading:

Warrior Mindset

Re: Warrior Mindset by Brick

"Survival Panic" Expected to Spur Crime and Violence

Mental Emergency Preparedness

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/WQiP5E4EAsk/surviving-unexpected-mentally.html

Surviving a Home Fire

The best way to survive a home fire is to prevent it, therefore this post talks about how to prevent a home fire first, followed by tips on surviving a fire after it starts and finish with tips on surviving after a home fire.


There are lots of fire hazards in every home, some more than others. I happen to be a pyromaniac, so I have lots and lots of fire hazards in my home, yet I’ve never had a single home fire. The reason for this is that I take precautions, use common sense, and am careful when I use fires. Here are the precautions I take with the fire hazards in my home and the homes of family and friends:

Matches are a common tool around my house. I prefer strike anywhere matches (which, by the way, are getting very hard to find). I have several boxes in the kitchen, some in the bathroom, the living room, the bedroom, the laundry room, the library, and the workshop outside. Every child (and quite a few adults) who enter my home are well-schooled in respecting the power of matches. They are taught how to use matches, what precautions to take with them: blocking wind, keeping flammables at a distance…except what we intend to burn with the match, putting the spent hot match in a dish of sand or dousing it in a dish of water, keeping the unlit matches well away from the striking match (hard to do when all you can find are those dangerous “strike on box” matches), and keeping the flaming end of the match away from flesh and hair.

Candles come under censure rather too often for my liking, considering how useful they are. They are banned in dorms among people who are old enough to know how to handle candles. First, lit candles should always be in a sturdy candleholder, one that will not tip over easily. It should be placed on a stable surface well away from curtains and other dangling flammables. Bobeches should be used with drip candles and taper candles. A bobeche is a collar placed around the candle to catch dripping wax. It is always made of a non-flammable material, usually glass. Candles in wall sconces should be encased in a glass chimney so it doesn’t flicker or spark against the wall, and those sconces should be hung where they won’t get flapped by the edges of blowing curtains, moving clothing, or hair. If you have cats, the candles should be placed in a glass chimney tall enough that the cat can’t accidentally set its tail or whiskers on fire from the flames – and they should be set so they can’t be knocked over easily. Candles should never be left to burn out. If you burn lots of candles, always make a check when you leave a room or leave the house or go to bed and make sure all candles are fully extinguished. Candles burned outdoors need to be placed where they won’t get blown out by the wind (high chimneys help with that) and where they won’t set anything on fire like overhanging plants or pets.

Oil lamps are safer than candles and can be just as romantic. Like candles, though, they should always be placed in stable places where they won’t get knocked over accidentally or hung on walls where curtains and such won’t fall over the top of their chimneys. And yes, always put the chimney back on an oil lamp after lighting it. Clean the oil lamp chimneys regularly, particularly if there is soot buildup. You can save the soot for making ink. Keep the wick well trimmed so you don’t waste the wick r start an unwelcome fire.

Electric space heaters cause a lot of fires because people are careless with them. These are the easiest devices to care for in preventing fires. Make sure they are at least 3 feet away from anything flammable in front of them, keep at least 12 inches clearance around the sides and back, and don’t have anything hanging over the top of them. Make sure they are on a stable surface and make sure flammables like curtains and blankets won’t fall on them. Turn them off when you leave the house. Don’t let them run for more than 12 hours at a time, so buy extras and switch them out. If you have to use space heaters as your primary heating source, gather everyone into one room and heat only that room. That way you won’t forget to turn it off. I prefer to place space heaters up high, out of reach of pets and children and use a ceiling fan to blow the heat down lower. The floor’s going to be cold anyway if it’s not carpeted.

Most modern electric appliances have automatic shut-offs – curling irons, coffee pots, irons, hair dryers… Even if they do have automatic shut-offs, I unplug them. Some of them continue to draw small amounts of electricity even when shut off and I resent wasting the power on something I’m not using. We don’t really need clocks and timers on every single device we own so it shouldn’t matter if the clock is correct on them.

Oil and gas space heaters were once more common than they are now, but you can still find them and some are regaining popularity. If you have an open flame gas space heater, make sure you have at least a 4 foot clearance around the front and sides, nothing above it, and at least 2 feet of clearance behind it. Set it on a non-flammable surface and make sure the rest of the room it’s in is a non-skid, non-slippery room. I once slid into one of these when I was a child on my mother’s highly waxed and polished and slippery wood floor. Put skid proof rugs down outside the reach of them so children have stopping power before they skid into such heaters. Oil ones are safer than open flame gas ones, but they still get really hot, so exercise the same distance requirements and skid-proofing around them.

Radiant baseboard heaters are, in my opinion, ineffective in warming a room, so I don’t have them. If you do, don’t put furniture in front of them as this not only causes a fire hazard, it reduces what little effectiveness the heaters have.

Faulty wiring is another common cause of home fire. Avoid extension cords, especially for appliances the draw heat like toasters, toaster ovens, space heaters, crock pots, curling irons, hair dryers, irons, and the like. If you must use extension cords, make sure the plug where the extension cord meets the appliance cord is away from flammables and water. Unplug the appliance as soon as you are finished using it and allow the plug to cool before putting the extension cord away. Check your home wiring and fix any shorts as soon as possible.

Cook stoves and ovens, as well as other electric cooking appliances are causes of some home fires. Keep your stove tops and ovens clean and free of grease splatters to avoid catching the grease on fire. Check wiring and don’t use extension cords for these devices – the plugs of extension cords generate a lot of heat and if placed unfortunately, can cause a fire. Make sure your ovens and toasters are free of crumbs – the bread crumbs that collect in the bottom of a toaster can catch fire, not to mention provide food for roaches and mice (eeeew!).

Fireplaces are often cited as the culprit in home fires. The biggest problem is creosote build-up in the chimney, so have your fireplace professionally checked before you light it off the first time in the fall. If you are a heavy fireplace user, burn one of those CLR logs once a week; otherwise once a month is OK. Leave the damper open when there is a fire in the fireplace. Use a fire screen, especially if you are suing wood that sparks, like cedar (which smells wonderful but is a dangerous wood to burn) or knotty pine (again, it sells nice, but is prone to sparking). Even well dried and aged wood will spark when it has cracks or knots in it or was outside and collected water inside it – the heating of the water causes the wood to pop and send out a spark or three. Make sure that you have a large enough non-flammable area in front of the fireplace, and don’t place rugs or lie too close. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. In the days when the fireplace was the only source of heat, fires were banked, and you can do that if you are experienced. Most Americans aren’t, so I recommend just putting it completely out first. Close the damper so if you leave an ember behind anyway, it won’t have enough oxygen to feed it up into a fire. Burn only as much wood as you need to. This isn’t the place for a bonfire.

Get a smoke alarm and or 2 or three and keep them supplied with fresh batteries. If anyone in the house is hearing impaired, get ones with flashing lights. I’d prefer to see one in each room.

If you can afford it, a residential fire sprinkler system is good, but if not, make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher.

Surviving the Fire

Before a fire, have an escape plan and a place to meet outside.

Put important documents and items into a fireproof safe. Maintain this safe and when you get new documents, put them in there as soon as possible.

Digitize your photos and store them online or away from the house.

Have at least 2 ways out of each room. Make sure security bars can be unlatched from inside, that screens can be removed easily, that windows open and close easily, and if the window is on the second floor, that you have a UL approved collapsible ladder – for each window. Put it next to the fire extinguisher.

Practice the escape plan each month. Everyone who visits or sleeps over needs to know these plans, too.

If a fire starts anyway in your home, remember what you were taught in school – stop, drop, and crawl. Smoke and heat rise, so the air and cooler part will be closer to the floor.

Never open a door that feels warm or hot to the touch. The places you need to check are the top of the door, the door handle, and the crack along the sides of the door. Even if the door feels cool, open it slowly and be prepared to shut it quickly. Then proceed to your alternate route.

Meet outside – it doesn’t have to be across the street. At the end of the driveway, under a tree, or someplace far enough away to be safe. Call the fire department. I like to put a charged cell phone at the meeting place in a waterproof container in case the neighbors are gone or won’t open their doors for us. Check this phone frequently and keep it charged.

Teach children and pets to come towards firefighters, not to hide from them. You can rent firefighter suits for training purposes, or take them to visit the firestation.

Once you are out of the house, do not go back in. Things can be replaced. If a person or pet is still inside, tell the firemen – they are trained to rescue and are wearing the equipment to keep themselves safe in a burning house. You aren’t.

After the Fire

The first things you need to do are:

1. Secure a temporary place to live. Make arrangements with family, friends, or neighbors for this. If you need to stay in a hotel, save the receipts.

2. Get clothing. Again, if you leave some clothes with family, friends, or neighbors, you’re ahead of the game here. Check out charity clothing places and thrift stores. Save receipts.

3. Replace your medicine prescriptions and if necessary, your eyeglasses.

4. Purchase toiletries. Save receipts.

Do not enter the site for at least 24 hours, as the fire can rekindle. Wait until the fire department gives you clearance.

When you are cleared to go back in, be very careful. The fire and water damage may have weakened floors and ceilings.

The fire department will make sure all utilities are turned off. Do not turn them back on yourself. Have the utility companies come out and make sure they are safe to use again and turn on for you.

Food, beverages, and medications need to be discarded. What isn’t burned will be damaged by the heat and water.

Contact the police department to let them know the building is not abandoned, but neither is it occupied. You may need to board up broken windows until they are replaced.

If you can, locate your important papers (in that fireproof safe, eh?), eyeglasses, prosthetics if you have them, and valuables like jewelry, electronics, cash, computer equipment and electronics.

You will need to notify the following people about the fire and your temporary change of address:

1. Insurance agent/company

2. Mortgage company/landlord

3. Family and friends

4. Employer and co-workers who need to know

5. Your child(ren)’s school(s)

6. Your Post Office (they can hold for pick-up, you can rent a PO Box, or they can deliver it to another address for a while)

7. Other delivered items – newspapers, usually, but if you have other regular deliveries, they, too, need to know

8. Your fire and police departments so they can contact you to give or get more information

9. Your utility companies

The last thing you need to do is check with the IRS for special benefits you may receive for your loss.

Save receipts for everything related to recovering from the fire.

Replace documents as soon as possible.

Start rebuilding.

Original: http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/surviving-a-home-fire/

Stock Up Challenge Week #14

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. Just had a minor thing like my washing machine stop working this week. If you ever take a piece of my advice, please let it be the post about keeping your laundry maintained. I usually let it pile on up until the weekend and then hurry and get it done. No more of that for me! Thankfully I had done a few loads, but then it happened. Just what the problem is I’m not sure and we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out. Too bad I didn’t marry an appliance repair man! Just kidding!

Okay, here’s what I bought this last week. Yes, I know I skipped a week. You don’t need to remind me. Anyway, here’s what I bought last week:

1 Box Cornmeal

2 Jars Pears

2 Cans Ravioli

Total cost for week #13: $9.98

Not bad for trying to cut costs and still stock up. I’ll try to keep the challenge around the $10 price tag so it’s not such a burden on the budget. You could even cut this down to $5 per week and still have a nice stocked pantry in a few months. Do it now - prices are just going to go higher.

Stock up challenge week #14:

4 Cans Beans - whatever kind you like and use

1 Bottle Canola Oil

Have a great week!

Original: http://survivallady.com/?p=186

SHTF: Surviving job loss and layoffs

Here's the news last week..

Boeing may cut 10,000 jobs, IBM cut 2800 jobs, Pfizer cut 8000 jobs,

Target stores another 600 jobs, Caterpillar a whopping 20,000 jobs cut

and on and on..

Saturday I met with a friend who works with a big telecom company. He

was laid off a month ago.

Other friends I have spoken with since December; all 6 have changed or

lost jobs. Everyone has taken a pay or promotion cut.

The job cuts are across the board and not limited to any single

industry or dicipline. The hard times, similar to the Great Depression

may be soon upon us.

I have been through three big layoffs in the past ten years. One left

me unemployed for eight long months. I went from a very comfortable six

figure salary managing a team of people in two states to being willing

to work overnights for less than I made my first year out of college.

In the end, I survived every single layoff and job loss thrown my way.

In the end, I learned some hard and expenisive lessons about job loss,

searching for work, adapting to new challenges and managing fear of


If you have been affected by the downturn in the economy and have lost

your job OR see the writing on the wall at your place of work and know

you have to find a new job soon OR you just want to find a better place

to work or line of work, this post may be for you.

Here are some of things I have learned and tell anyone who will listen

when they lose their job.

- Your old job is not coming back. The HR person who released you may

throw you some hope that "when things get better, we may call some

people back" or something similar.

Don't believe it.

Bringing back a laid off employee opens some employers to lawsuits.

Also, former employees cost more than new employees who are willing to

work for less.

Former employees are a pain because they systemically want things they

way they "used to be" before they were laid off.

Forget about your old job it is not coming back. So stop waiting by the

phone for HR or your supervisor to call you in. It is not going to

happen so move on.

- STS - Save that severance!

Use your severance package for maintaining bills and mortgage.

Use it to pay down or make minimum payments on car and credit card bills.

Use it to purchse a new suit, get a haircut or for travel to a job interview.

Do not use a severance package for a vacation in order to "find yourself".

Do not use a severance package for "training, coaching, interview skills, resume services, recruiters, headhunters" or anything else.

Most of those services are free and no paid person knows you as well as you do.

Do not use severance for toys, "wants", indulgences, or gifts. That can wait for when you are employed again.

You cannot live off a servarance package indefinately. It is merely a way to survive until the next paying job.

- Get a job, get back to work, doing anything.

Start working any job as soon as you are laid off or terminated.

Deliver pizzas, mow yards, throw newspapers, work for a friend or relative. Anything to get your mind off your old job.

When we get laid off, we brood and play mind games with ourselves.

We imagine ourselves back in the supervisors office telling him off when he announces our termination.

We imagine how we could have fixed things years before so we were not laid off and that other guy got the pink slip.

We waste time with the past rather than thinking about the urgent future.

A job, no matter how menial, occupies our mind and hands and makes us productive.

While working, we think about what we want to do, where we want to be and how to get there.

This leads to action which leads to finding the next real job.

Not working means sitting at home staring at a TV or computer screen, eating and sleeping. That leads no where.

- Stop spending hours in front of the computer.

Clicking, typing, pointing and browsing is an activity.

Sitting in front of a computer is not interviewing and talking with prospective employers.

Spending hours wading through Monster or other online job search engines is what two million other job seekers are doing right now. You are not alone!

Hooking up with old friends on Facebook ("they might have something for me!" - yeah right) is a waste of time.

Instead, pick up the phone and starting calling companies and the people you may know who work there. Nothing can replace personal contact.


- Swallow your pride and start letting everyone you know that you are out of work and searching for a job.

This means friends, family, church, old employers, old coworkers, friends from school, parents of your kid's friends, anyone and everyone.

The best job right now is going to the person who knows someone. Not to the person who submitted an anonymous resume to an HR person (or computer!) at some company.

Your personal network is huge. Put it to work right now.

In closing, you will find a job. It will be different than your last job. You are a survivor because you adapt and change and meet challenges. You will suceed and you will live to see another day. That is why you are here now.

Good luck, pray and persevere.

Original: http://survivalism.blogspot.com/2009/02/shtf-surviving-job-loss-and-layoffs.html

financial reserve

Our current goal is creating a financial reserve.

Save a little money from each paycheck.

Choose a savings vehicle. This can be a savings account, a regular bank account, or just a jar in your closet. Make sure that this account is low risk and liquid (which means that you can easily pull from it anytime without penalty). I personally wouldn't count money saved in retirement accounts, pensions or stocks. It's too hard to get immediate cash from these sources.

Start this week to save money in that "account." Are things really tight? Start with $10 a month. Even tighter? Then save $1 a month. The idea is to make saving money a habit. And don't touch that money unless you're starving! :o) This reserve is for emergencies only. A dress that is on sale, the need to pay your kids an allowance, or piano lessons do not constitute an emergency. The time to turn to this money is when you are out of work and have run out of money (or other similar emergencies such as medical etc.). Make it a goal to leave that money alone. Increase the amount as your income allows.

I personally use a bank account and have an automatic transfer set up. Each time we get paid, a small amount is automatically transfered into my emergency savings account. I've been amazed how quickly money has accumulated in that account. If this sounds like something that would work for you, then call or get online and set up that automatic transfer today.

From All Is Safely Gathered In: Home Storage:
Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount.

From All is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances:
Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.

And From President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/02/goal-3a-financial-reserve.html

Communication: What's your plan B?

Starting last Saturday or so, our phone line became staticky, if that's a word. Not just the "wow, you sound like you're in Jamaica" static, but the "I think that's a radio station but I can't tell if they are singing or talking" static. Not good. Inconvenient. Annoying. And all that. So a repair person was called, came to the house, tested the line, left a number, and left. We picked up the phone. Still radio-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-static. So the repair person was called again. There was no improvement until this morning.

To be fair, the static was inconsistent--sometimes you could tell who you were talking to, and what they were saying, and sometimes you couldn't. The most monumental of these problems came yesterday, right before school. Someone from the school called, and I heard someone speaking, and used deductive reasoning to figure out who was on the other end of the line. Thing is, I couldn't be sure I was right. I finally explained that our phone was acting up, and said that the person should call my husband's cell phone. I'm pretty sure that the speaker on the other end said that they would do that, and the conversation was over.

I was fortunate in this instance because I knew where my children were at the time--with my husband, who was driving them to school because of the extremely cold weather we have been experiencing lately. Hence, I also knew where my husband was (which was helpful because he was in the proximity of the situation and had a phone that worked). Suffice it to say that if you have already (correctly) surmised that I am somewhat of a worry-wart, you can imagine how I would have felt if I thought there was an emergency involved, and there was no way to take care of it quickly. So, I am extremely grateful that the timing was such as it was. I still wanted to make sure that my husband had been contacted, and that he knew to talk to the teacher I thought had called, so I went to the computer and texted him a message. When we did talk to each other (for some reason, though the static was still there, we managed to make do when his cell phone was involved) he told me that they needed extra help in one of the classrooms that day, so he was able to tell the teacher (yay, I was right about which one had called) that I could come in. Situation handled. But definitely not in the way that we would ordinarily have handled it.

What if it had been an emergency, and normal methods of communication were not available, as in this case, to even learn about the problem? I outlined my plan B, but I think that this experience has highlighted the fact to me that when ordinary communication services are disrupted, you may end up with a problem whose solution is not food, water, warmth, etc., especially if the people in your group are separated when the emergency strikes. There may be people not in your immediate group that you would worry about in the case of an emergency--what's your plan B when it comes to communication when ordinary means (such as phones and even cell phones) don't work out?

Sometime this morning after I checked and heard the roar of a thousand seashells over the phone, I checked again, and our line had finally cleared up. Not a problem now, and I'm grateful for that. Would it surprise you to read that now I am going to look up more options that would help with the communication portion of emergency preparedness? I can only think of one option at the moment that would help with emergency communication in the midst of a crisis, but it would have to be set up well in advance. I'll save the only one that I've heard of for another post, and leave you with the question: (hoping, of course, that you'll end up giving me more options :)

What do you have set up in terms of communication methods in the case of an emergency, and how does it work?

Hey, if you share, we'll all have more options. Gotta love more options... :)

Original: http://adventuresinbloggingtoo.blogspot.com/

Coleman stoves

I figured I’d follow up my other entry on Coleman lanterns with one on Coleman whitegas stoves. Coleman makes rugged equipment. It’s not unusual to have one of the old greencolemanstoves last for generations, really generations. You can keep your European fancy equipment. I’ll stick with Coleman. Doesn’t just seeing it bring back memories of crackling campfires, ghost stories, smores and swimming in freezing lakes?

Anyways, these big green two burner stoves are great. You can cook anything you need to on them. One burner can boil water while the other burner is cooking up your meat sauce or bacon on one and eggs on the other.

As I’ve said before I like whitegas. It seems stable to me and stores a long time.

For this entry though I’m going to focus on My Leetle Friend, my Peak 1. The Peak 1 is great. It’s small enough to throw in a backpack and hike miles and miles with, but it boils water pretty efficiently too. A little fuel seems to go a long ways. I’d say a full tank in the stove and an extra pint of fuel in a fancy metal container is enough to last for an entire weekend of winter camping for two - melting snow and heating meals.

BTW if you want to save on fuel, once you have some water in a bottle just keep adding snow to it. The water already in the bottle will melt the newly added snow so you don’t have to use the stove to melt more snow.

Anyways, the Peak 1 has little legs in the bottom that fold out. First things first, flip out the three little legs.stvYou just flip those puppies down.

Next stand it rightside up.

stv1Say hello to my leetle friend!“ You unscrew that cap to fill it with fuel. Unfortunately, this stove only takes whitegas. Coleman also makes dual-fuel stoves that will burn unleaded gas too. All you do is unscrew the cap and fill her up. Be careful not to overflow. Funnels are a big help here. Once you have it filled, retighten the cap. Keep an extra cap in your house or gear.

Just like with a lantern you need to pressurize the fuel.

stv3This is the pump handle (just like the lantern). Turn it counterclockwise and pull it up. See the little black flame control lever? It’s all the way to the left in the off position.

stv5Then making sure that your thumb covers up the little hole in the top of the pump handle you pump it up. It may take 5, 10 or 30 pumps. It depends on how much fuel is in the tank. Once you feel some good resistance slide the handle in and twist it clockwise to lock it into place.

Next up, turn the fuel lever to counterclockwise to open up the fuel line.

stv2This is the off position, but just like the little drawing shows turn it the other way to open it up.

Next I light a match and get ready to turn the stove on…

stv6Then you turn the black flame adjustment handle to the right to the Light Hi position. Now you should start to hear the hissing of the gas being forced out. If it doesn’t sound a little scary you may have to pump it up some more before lighting it. Now touch the flame to the burner and she should light. It will sputter. Until the generator (that little brass tube over the burner) gets heated up the stove will sputter and burn funny.

stv7Now you need to repressurize the tank so unscrew the pump handle and give it another 10 or 15 pumps till you feel resistance again. I also slide the flame control (the black handle) back n’ forth a few times. It seems like if you turn the stove down low and then up high a few times it helps to really get it going correctly. So go high - low - high - low - high - low. I don’t know why, but it seems like it makes it catch good. You may have to pump it a few more times. You’ll know when it’s going good. It kinds of makes a whooshing or shooshing noise, like a little jet plane.

If you notice where the burner is there is a metal windscreen. It’s that thing divided into four quadrants. This keeps the flame from being blown out by the wind. That’s good. Especially because it’s integral with the stove. Good feature. Look for a integral windscreen on any stove you buy.

Once you are done using the stove you shut off the red fuel lever and let it die down. It will take a minute or two for the flame to totally die out. The stove will remain hot for awhile too so you can’t pack it up right away either.

  • Another reason I like this stove is that it is small enough to pack up inside of my pots and pans. That way my cooking gear acts as a metal container for the stove. It nests nicely right inside of them, then the whole thing goes in a ditty bag.
  • Another good thing with the stove is that it gets going fast and doesn’t make smoke so if you want to lay low you can cook at night or during the day without fear of being detected. Doesn’t leave a trace. Safer to use then campfires when the woods are dry.
  • The fuel is widely available. The cost has literally doubled though in the past ten years.
  • If you decide to buy one I’d get a dual or multi fuel stove.
  • My stove clogged up from a lot of use so I was able to buy a replacement generator off of the Internet. I like this. The parts are widely and easily available. And if I can take it apart and put it back together so that it still works fine anyone can.
  • As I wrote above this stove is rugged. I’ve dropped it and its gone rolling and comes out ready to drink fuel and piss fire.
  • BTW the big two burner classic green stove up above basically works the same way - fill it, pump it, turn it on & light it. Once you get one burner lit you turn on the other burner.
  • Even the fancy European gas stoves work the same way basically.
  • Remember when you take the fuel cap off it will hiss in your face because it will depressurize. Try not to wet yourself. Kidding.
  • You really shouldn’t use these in unventilated areas because you can die.
  • If you don’t have an alternative way to prepare meals than your kitchen stove adding one of these to your preps would be a good thing.
  • During the summer when the house is way hot, I’ll use the big green two burner out back to prepare dinner so I don’t heat up the house any more.

Follow up to my seething rage from yesterday about the financial system, “…the New York comptroller reported $18.4 billion in 2008 bonus payouts at a time when taxpayers’ money was shoring up a financial system in crisisWTF! WTF!! WTF!!! They take money from people that got laid off, people that get paid by the hour, people that earn weekly wages or are collecting unemployment and redistribute it up for millionaire and billionaire BONUSES!! This is BS of the highest magnitude. We barely make ends meet and our freaking government is taking money out of my pocket and sending it up the food chain. WTF kind of trickle up economics is this!?!?! Something is gonna break between the bailouts going to bonuses and Citigroup’s fancy jet plane.

Gittin out pics-

sweet-birchThis is sweet birch also known as black birch. Notice the striped bark. As it gets older it becomes rugged and crevassy. And another picture.

sweet-birch-1Notice the way the smaller branches look and kind of reach away from the tree.

Anyways, you’d recognize black birch by the way the stems and twigs smell. They smell like wintergreen. You can make a nice wintergreen tea from the little branches. Because it tastes so nice you can use the twigs as a sort of toothbrush to get rid of bad taste in your mouth. The active substance in the twigs is the same compound as in aspirin. A little tea will help to dull minor aches and pains that you may have too. If you’re hiking and kind of sore and you see a black birch you could take a few little twigs and chew on them to dull you aches and pains. You could make a tea to help reduce a fever. I bet you could even make a tincture from the bark and alcohol and apply it to sore muscles or stiff joints. Just like medicine though, too much of a good thing can make you sick or worse. Native Americans had zillions of uses for birch bark. I think I read that you could even make a flour from the seeds.

Original: http://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/coleman-stoves/

Water, water everywhere and….

not a drop to drink. Do not. Do not. Do not be caught thirsty. You will die. Then I will take your stuff from your dead body. If I have enough energy I may try to bury you properly and say a little something about ashes and dust.

Although I live in the northeast with gobs of people, we are fortunate to have copious amounts of water.

If you are caught in the wrong climate without water you can be dead in less then 24 hours. Drinking water and rehydrating is just as important in the winter as in the summer. You know that breath you see coming out of your mouth when it’s cold out? That’s water that you are giving up with every single breath. You may not sweat in the cold, but make no mistake about it, you can become dehydrated just as easily. You have to keep drinking.

The rule is to drink before you get thirsty. If you wait till you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Because water is our lifeblood I have multiple ways to clean and store water. This is one area that you need redundancy. I like guns too, but water is more critical than firearms. In my humble opinion you shouldn’t be doing the 1,000 round, AR, AK, bandolier, sardine can, 50 extra mag, $500 scope thing until you have multiple ways to procure potable water.

There is a difference between water filters and water purifiers. Water filters usually get down to maybe 2 microns but they don’t remove the very small viruses. Purifiers are certified by the EPA to remove just about everything. If you filter only then you may also need to boil or add chemicals to kill the under 2 micron viruses.

It doesn’t matter what you have the filter/purifier element needs to be replaced or flushed every once in a while. So before you buy figure out how long they last for and how much the elements are to replace. Some filter elements can be washed clean by backflushing which is cheaper than having to replace them so pay attention to whether the one you want to by can be cleaned in the field by backflushing or whether you’ll need to by a brand new element every time.

You can extend the life of your filter elements by pre-filtering or straining dirty water through a bandana or filling some container first and allowing the dirt to sink to the bottom of the container before you send it through your filter.

There are table top filters like Katadyn Drip Filter and the Big Berkey. Although I haven’t used either they both seem like good filters for long term use. A lot of folks seem to like them and they have been proven. I expect to be able to bug in and remain on municipal water so I don’t see the need personally for one of these. These would be heavy to carry on your back, great for cabins though. Good thing is because these are gravity fed there is no pumping involved.

For more portability folks seem to really like the Katadyn filters. They come in a large variety of models to meet all applications. You really can’t go wrong getting a Katadyn filter. They’re being used by armies around the world. These need pumping.

I go camping and like to have back ups in case I need to bug out. Because of that I like the First Need XL water purifier. It’s small so it fits in my pack no problem. Because it’s a purifier certified by the EPA it removes enough of everything so I don’t need to take any extra steps after pumping water through my First Need. Be sure to keep some extra filter elements on hand. Gotta pump these too.katadyn

For hiking and day trips I like Katdyn Microfilter. It’s actually a purifier not a filter, so it gets everything out. As you can see it looks like a simple water bottle. It fits in the cage of my mountain bike that holds a water bottle. Simple to use - fill it and squeeze it. Great for traveling light or maybe your BOB or GHB (no not the drug, your Get Home Bag).

Next up I like these little Survival Straws. They have some sort of alloy in the filter elements which is also supposed to kill viruses so they’re classified, despite their diminutive size, as a purifier. survstraw They’re a little pricey at $20-$25, but they are very small. I have one of these in my GHB that would allow me to drink right out of a puddle if need be.


Here is a similar purifying unit that is approved by NATO. This one is called the Water Purifying Straw. At 16 bucks it’s cheaper than the Survival Straw, but I haven’t used it so for once I have no opinion.

Although I don’t have one I also like the concept of the Katadyn Base Camp filter. You fill it and hang it from a tree and it just drips clean water for you. No pumping! They’re supposedly camp rated for 5,000 gallons so it should last a long time. They cost about $65. Seems like they would fold up pretty small too. Again great for bugging out, canoeing or camping with a crowd.

Another purifer that I like is the Pur Scout. This is another unit that’s made for backpacking. Here’s a good review of the product. pur_scout

In addition to using mechanical means to clean water you can also use chemicals. If you use a filter and not a purifier you may want to add chemical depending on the risk that the water is contaminated. I think you need to worry more about viruses in populated areas than the true woods.

There are different chemicals that can be used: iodine tablets, chlorine based chemicals and oxidizers.

We’ve all seen these iodine tablets. The good thing is that they’re cheapiodineand don’t take up much space. The bad thing is that they make the water taste like crap.

There are also tablets available that are made from chlorine that will kill the buggies, tablets that are oxidizers that kill the buggers and Katadyn now makes a product that is in tablet form that kills bacteria, protozoa and viruses and doesn’t leave the water tasting like crap. micro

There is now a UV light that is available that is supposed to kill everything in the water. It takes batteries. You stick the probe into a container of water and the light kills the buggies. I’m not sure I like this because it doesn’t filter out any of the impurities, so you’ll still be drinking muddy water except there won’t be anything living in it.

You can also use straight unscented bleach to clean water. The ratio is eight drops to a gallon of water. If the water is dirty, pre-filter it or let it settle than decant off the cleaner water before adding your bleach. Add your bleach, stir and wait a while. If it doesn’t smell like chlorine add a few more drops and wait a while longer. Repeat as necessary. Good info from the EPA here with some downloadable PDFs for keeping. Over time bleach loses its effectiveness so you need to rotate your bleach, or if it’s old add a few more drops than you would for fresh bleach. Powdered clorine lasts much longer and is much more concentrated than liquid bleach so a bag or two of pool shock would be good to keep around the house, but it has to be diluted much more than the liquid bleach.

You can also boil your water. I’d boil at a roll for a minimum of three minutes. Boiled water tastes flat so to improve the taste you can aerate it by pouring it from container to container like a bartender. You gotta make sure that your containers are clean otherwise you’ll be recontaminating your clean boiled water.

If you have a trash bag or plastic sheeting like you should, you can also distill water a bunch of ways from filling a trash bag with non-posionous foliage to make a transpiration or vegetation bag. Great explanation of both. The basic concept is that just as we breath out moisture with every breath so don’t plants. When you traps foliage in a bag the moisture that the leaves give off will collect in the bottom of the bag. As long as you use non-poisonous plant matter the water will be safe to drink.

or you can build a solar still. evapo_still1

Depending on your situation it’s a good idea to have some water stored too. Just like with your preps of food you have to rotate your water. I tend to rotate my water every three months or so. As I said up above we have gobs of water everywhere so I’m not too concerned about storage of water. I do have around 20 gallons stored, but this is more so that I can bug out quickly if need be. So if we need to evacuate for some reason I can throw my few large containers in the car, have enough drinking water for two weeks and be gone in minutes. You don’t want to be putzing around filling containers when you should be hitting the road. Do it now.

Please make sure to go to the bathroom away from water supplies and bury your waste deep.

Just a snowy day in snowy woods with a snowy stream.


You can see how much water we have everywhere.

Original: http://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/water-water-everywhere-and/

Free T.V. And Free Survival Show

With so many people struggling to keep there heads above water, It’s good to have a free source of entertainment.

For the last week I have been hooked on the website HULU.com. The site allows you to watch some of your favorite T.V. Shows for free. They feature popular Shows from NBC, Fox, MGM, FX, Sci-Fi, the Discovery Channel and a number of other networks. They also have some really good classic shows (Mary Tyler Moore, A-Team, Hitchcock, the Three Stooges, etc…) and a couple of good old movies.

If you check out the site make sure to watch the Survival School series! It follows 47 Airmen through The Air Force S.E.R.E program.

Original: http://offgridsurvival.com/freetv/

Start a Hydroponics Survival Garden–Don't Wait for Spring!

With the growing concerns over our food supply and uncertainties of today’s economy, what can you do if you’re impatient to start gardening? It’s the dead of winter, but you don’t have to wait until spring to grow a little fresh produce, such as lettuce or fresh herbs. You can garden in a basement or spare room right now using hydroponics.

Before you shy away, thinking you have to have a lot of scientific knowledge or expensive equipment, check out The Hydroponic Gardening Guide. It’s an e-book you can order today and begin discovering immediately how to have your own indoor survival garden.

Hydroponics means growing without soil. That may sound strange at first, but with The Hydroponic Garden Guide, you’ll discover the many advantages of hydroponic gardening. Find out why those who are involved with the hydroponic movement love it so much! There’s info on the components you need to have a successful hydroponic gardening experience. You get instructions for the construction of your own hydroponic garden.

The Hydroponic Garden Guide covers all of the basics. You get practical instructions on how to make your plants grow like you wouldn't believe, including invaluable instructions on handling common plant challenges! Get what you need to know about lighting, plant nutrition, growth medium selection, and all of the "nuts and bolts" perspective you need to have your own hydroponic gardening green thumb!

Your survival gardening doesn’t have to wait until spring. Click here now and order The Hydroponic Gardening Guide and start your hydroponics adventure right away.

Original: http://destinysurvival.com/2009/01/26/start-a-hydroponics-survival-garden-dont-wait-for-spring/

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Flavored Rice Mixes

I often buy rice mixes. My kids love them and I love the ease of preparation involved. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I found some recipes which I can make from scratch and save myself time and money!

To make flavored rice mixes:
Combine all ingredients and stir until evenly distributed. Place in airtight container(s). Store in cool, dry place. Use within 6-8 months. Yield: 4 cups.

Chicken Flavored Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long grain rice
4 T instant chicken bouillon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp white pepper

Dill Lemon Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long-grain rice
5 tsp dried grated lemon peel
4 tsp dill weed or dill seed
2 tsp dried minced chives
2 tsp salt
8 tsp instant chicken bouillon

Onion Flavored Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long grain rice
2 pkgs (1 1/4 oz) onion soup mix
1 T parsley flakes
1 tsp salt

To make rice from mixes:
Use 1 1/3 c rice mix, 2 c cold water and 1 T butter or margarine. Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Source: Traverse Mountain 1st Ward Pantry Cookbook

Original: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/2009/02/cooking-with-basic-food-storage.html

You Need Back-Up Power!

Winter Storm Reveals Utilities' Woes

...The severe weather has cast a spotlight on maintenance at a time when utilities across the U.S. have been responding to higher costs and reduced energy sales by trimming capital spending. The tricky part is cutting spending without degrading companies' ability to maintain service.

In Ohio, the leading consumer advocate on utility issues renewed a call this week for the state to conduct a broad probe into utility spending plans to make sure tree trimming, pole replacement and equipment upgrades are adequate.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel said that the damage from this week's storm underscores the urgency of ensuring that utilities are funding their own maintenance sufficiently to capably withstand severe weather. The office called for an investigation of utility practices in December after a wind storm in September knocked out power to more than two million people, but its concerns go back to storms as early as 2004 and 2005...

I remember 2 years of frequent power failures, literally with almost every snowfall, high wind or thunderstorm. We even lost power for 44 hours right after Christmas dinner clean-up had been completed due to a few inches of snow! Public hearings revealed that our power company deferred using a contractor to trim tree branches along its right of way until a line was taken down. They opted to fix on failure rather than preventive trimming! Management made line crews go home at the end of their shifts rather than pay overtime to complete restoration of power to an entire given area! The Public Utility Commission slapped the power company's hand and power has been more reliable during the past 5 years.

That 5KW generator I bought for the Y2K non-event allowed us to use the well pump, charge batteries and light the core of the house for short periods of time. I wish we could afford one of the new 7.5KW units. It was pathetic to watch the news showing a long line of people, at least one who said he lived in a rural area, at Home Depot waiting for the delivery of generators after the ice storm.

Original: http://pft2009.blogspot.com/2009/01/winter-storm-reveals-utilities-woes.html

Layoff Survival Guide

NBC 13 recently published this article on what to do if you are laid off from your job.

1. Know your rights and exit professionally-Ask the following questions: how much severance pay you are entitled to, whether you will be paid for vacation and sick days and how to file for unemployment benefits and extended health care. Always leave in a professional manner and never say or do anything that will come back to haunt you.

2. Take a deep breath-This is not the end of the world. Relax and realize you will overcome this situation. Do not let depression or despair seep in. Use your energy and imagination to overcome your problems.

3. Apply for unemployment-This should be your very first move.

4. Line up health care coverage-You need to know how long your employer will carry your coverage and where you can find coverage until you become re-employed. Even if you have a job you should start researching alternatives now, just in case. Always have a back up plan.

5. Network like crazy-Sixty percent of jobs are found through networking so start doing it.

6. Polish your resume

7. Start the search- Use all available resources.

8. Take any job available and then work up from there.

9. Take care of yourself-Be patient and keep in mind that it won’t be easy.

Additional Reading:

Gerald Celente on the Global Economic Collapse

10 Things to Help You Prepare for Hard Times

Game Plan for 2009

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/531621596/layoff-survival-guide.html

Ice Storm Stories and Preparedness

 Ice Storm Stories and PreparednessAs most everyone should be aware, the last week has provided a harrowing survival experience for Kentucky and surrounding states with a major Ice Storm cutting off power to over 1.5 million homes and killing 55 people.

For those of us here in Utah, we’re more likely to see catastrophic events from a major snowstorm than an icestorm (in searching, I cannot find records of an icestorm like this hitting Utah). Our winter storms, especially in heavy snowfall years, can leave many icey problems. While we may not be likely to have an ice storm, there are still many lessons we can learn from those who have just experienced it. Let’s look at some reports from the Mid-South Ice Storm of 2009.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This video is a great photo documentary of the storm and much of the damage it caused.

Experience Reports

From the Indiana Preppers Network we hear:

the shelves (including generators and kerosene) were empty of the basic foods within 6 hours! Hmmm… does this pose a problem for anyone? The stores also quit taking debit/credit cards at this time. Some of the gas stations in the area wanted cash only as well. So, goes downhill rather quickly. BUT, if you are prepared, as I was, then you need not fear these events.

And from SurvivalBlog:

Within a few hours, everything became coated with a half-inch to an inch of ice: roads, cars, trees, power lines - everything. Throughout the night, we heard crashes as our neighbor’s trees lost massive limbs. We knew it was only a matter of time before trees limbs (which are not properly trimmed back by our utility company in an attempt to cut costs) collapsed on power lines and caused widespread outages. In the morning, everything had turned to crystal. About a quarter million people were without power in our county, but almost everyone in the western half of the state had lost power.

… Looking for a generator at the local big box home and garden center? Forget it, quickly sold out. Ice scrapers, gone. Gas cans, gone. Driveway salt, gone. Snow shovels, gone.

… The university asked students to leave, if possible, and those who couldn’t were sheltered in the campus auditorium. They didn’t have any cots so you had to sleep on the floor or in the auditorium chairs. She wanted me to come pick her up, so as I headed out the next morning on a full tank of gas, my plan was to stop at each significant town on the way to check their power and gas pumping status. Each stop was the same as the next - dead. As I neared the half-way point on my gas gauge, not one city on the way had electricity. It’s as if a nuclear ice bomb had been dropped on the state. I turned back.

…Lots of people I know have no alternatives to heat their homes or cook food. Fireplaces, like mine, are electrically controlled gas logs. I can’t even light it manually. I’ve learned a lesson: get what you need before you need it. Get extra. I will be buying a dependable generator once this crisis passes.

And now, from the perspective of a well prepped author on the Kentucky Preppers Network:

The brunt of the storm hit western Kentucky, where my family and myself live at, and luckily my family and I were somewhat prepared. Coincidentally, exactly a week before the storm hit I went out to China-Mart and purchased a $100 worth of prep items. Monday morning (January 26th) I went out and spent another $70 bucks on more preps to add to my Bug In Items in preparation for the storm. I was personally ready to be stuck with no electricity, no water, and no food for up to a month. My parents had just gone to the grocery store the weekend before so we had a pretty good supply of food in the house and we had purchased a 5000 watt generator about a month before. Monday evening we went out and filled all our cars up with gas, and filled our three, five gallon gas tanks up. Our generator is wired to be fed into the house breaker box so we were able to run all the lights, fridge, freezer, television, router, and my laptop. Cell phones were down most of the time, and so were the landlines, so Internet was our main source of communication.

… We did a good job conserving our fuel, ran the generator all day, and let it rest at night. We could stretch five gallons of gas to last a whole day of nearly continuous use. We were able to eat, cook, shower, and enjoy the majority of our usual luxuries. Now I said I personally was pretty prepared, but my family wasn’t as prepared. We only had a couple weeks of groceries, and not any stored water. Monday afternoon before the storm I talked my dad into purchasing a 55 gallon water drum from the local Rural King. We filled it up when water pressure was going out and had plenty of water to cook with and drink. The pressure was in and out but we never lost ours completely, others in the county did, and some still have no water.

… There are a lot of things that we could have had that would’ve made things a lot easier. We owned many flashlights, but didn’t have any batteries stored, so many of them were useless. In this situation having a stored set of batteries is important so you can power the flashlights you own. Having emergency candles is important when needing light in a room. We had a couple 72 hour candles from a few years ago, but more would have been better. Water is another thing that we did not have. I personally have been storing water in the seven gallon Reliance water containers you can get at China-Mart, but my parent’s had none (other than the fifty-five gallon barrel which was last minute). This could mean the difference in life and death in a survival situation. Getting the fifty-five gallon water drum made a huge difference when we needed to get a drink, flush the toilets, and cook a meal. Store water any way you can people; fill up old juice containers, buy the above mentioned containers from China-Mart or get a fifty-five gallon food grade barrel to store water in. Whatever you do, get a supply of stored water. Food is the next important thing. We had a decent supply of food for a couple weeks, but if this thing would’ve lasted any longer, we would’ve had to drive at least an hour to replenish our groceries. If you’re storing food you want to store food that is easily prepared, highly nutritious, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Warmth is another important factor. Everyone in the household needs to have a set of thermal underwear, wool socks, gloves, and a toboggan. If we didn’t have the generator to run the heat on, bundling up and staying in one room would’ve been the best thing to do.

… Having storable food, water, a way to cook, heat your home and a light source, will give you a great advantage when caught in a disaster.

And finally, from some not so prepared people in an article on Yahoo:

… among those resting in every corner of a university theater. Some sprawled in aisles, propped in chairs or curled up on the stage. they, like many others, ran out of food and water at their frigid, powerless home. “I had no idea the storm was going to last this long,” McClung said.

… Deputies trekked door-to-door in many communities to let people know where shelters were, forced to spread the word the old-fashioned way because cell phone and Internet service was spotty.

… Those who hunkered down in their homes face long lines to buy generators, firewood, groceries — even bottled water because power outages crippled local pumping stations.

… tried a half-dozen filling stations before finding one where they could buy kerosene. The two were in a line that swelled to 50 or more at the 13th Street Station, which began pumping kerosene after its owner set up a generator.

“We got food, but I’m just worried about staying warm,” said Brittan, who lives in Mayfield, adding she was frustrated by the search for supplies.

“By the time you hear about a place that’s open they’re out when you get there,” she said.

… Emergency officials feared that toll could rise if people stay in their homes without power for too long, because improper use of generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

… “I’m sleeping in a car, which is just fine,” Eason, 74, said. “There’s nothing wrong with a car. Every couple of hours I turn it on, I let it run for 10 minutes and that keeps it pretty warm.”

Lessons Learned/Demonstrated

So we are given the rare (fortunately) opportunity to learn from the actual lessons learned of those who have made it through a local disaster. On the one hand we can learn from a prepper and what they found valuable in their preps - and what they found lacking. We can also learn from those who don’t believe at all in being prepared and rely on the government to take care of them when their TV goes out. Here’s my summary of Lessons Learned:

  1. Be Prepared! (hehe) Make sure that you have plenty of food stored. I personally very strongly recommend having at the very least 3 months worth of food stored. One of the main reasons for so much is to be able to help your less prepared neighbors from starving to death.
  2. Store plenty of water. Recommendations vary, but the easiest to calculate is store 1 gallon per person per day. Try to get at least 2 weeks worth of water stored, then double it! In order to not waste your drinking supply, it is a good idea to also have several (I have 210) gallon or 2 liter bottles filled with water to flush toilets with. Just in case you don’t know, dumping a gallon or 2 liters of water into a toilet will force it to completely flush. This allows you to avoid unsanitary conditions when the water supply to your house is disrupted.
  3. Have a backup power generation system. This can be in the form of a generator, solar, wind or other alternative methods
  4. Have a way to produce heat. Whether it be a fireplace (have wood stored!) or propane or kerosene heaters.
  5. MAKE SURE that you have fuel stored for your alternative heat and power generation systems. Store enough to keep things going for at least 2 weeks, preferably for a month.
  6. Have gasoline stored. It seems that everytime there is an emergency situation in America we hear continuous stories about how there are 15 mile long lines at all the gas stations. Get a clue people! Store plenty of gas, at least enough to get quite a ways out of town.
  7. Keep cash at home! I recommend keeping around a thousand dollars in $20 and smaller demoniations at home in a safe. At the very least, keep $300. With a thousand you would likely be able to buy a ride out of town and to safety if you needed to, not so much so with 300. When the power goes out and things get bad, nobody takes credit cards or checks! Cash on hand is an absolute must if you are going to try to buy something. Keep $20 and smaller denominations so that you don’t have to find someone or some way to break something bigger.
  8. Keep your home stocked and prepped so you don’t have to go to one of these shelters. I’ve never read happy fun stories about a pack of 300 humans being stuffed into an emergency shelter.
  9. To conserve on your fueled heating systems, keep lots of warm clothes and blankets in your house. In a protracted emergency you may need to use your on hand fuel for a very long time.
  10. Make sure you have either plenty of batteries or rechargeable batteries and a way to charge them (generator). Flashlights and other battery powered items will likely only last a few days with constant or heavy use.
  11. Make sure you have some kind of battery or hand cranked radio in your house. This will probably be your most reliable way of getting news and updates on what is going on.

Those are probably the biggest things - do you have any other ideas or things you noticed should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/v2873Bm1020/

Simple Survival Foods - Corn

There are various types of corn and being familiar with these types will allow you make substitutions when necessary. It will also give you the option for a little variety in your diet. Whether you are using it as a “form of vegetable” or flour, corn has a great many uses in preparing a variety of meals.

1.) Sweet Corn

The sweet corn you usually find in the produce section of your grocery store or in cans is most often served as a vegetable. It is also referred to as “corn on the cob”. it is still a grain and consists of three fairly common types of sweet corn. These are white, yellow and a hybrid combination of the white and the yellow types. Sweet corn should be consumed rather quickly after harvesting due to its high sugar content which quickly converts into starch.

2.) Flint Corn

Flint corn is also known as red or blue corn. It has a very hard exterior and is most often used as an animal feed. It is also used in many processed food items made for human consumption, including such things as chips, drinks, sweeteners, and cereals. The more colorful varieties are also used as decorative corn. This is the type that is most often ground into corn meal but can be difficult to grind into a fine flour.

3.) Popcorn or “Popping Corn”

Popcorn is a special type of corn. It has an extremely high moisture content. When heated it causes the moisture content to heat up. Since the moisture can’t escape, it causes the corn to “pop”. Popcorn is a special type of flint corn. Popcorn can even be ground into cornmeal. It has a long shelf life if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area.

4.) Field Corn (also known as Dent Corn)

Field corn or dent corn is also known as hominy and is found in the canned goods section of most grocery stores when used as a vegetable. It is also found in the form of “grits” as a dry product that is used to make a hot breakfast cereal. This is the type of corn that is used in masa harina. Masa merely means dough when translated. This is the type of corn used in traditional Mexican cooking to make tortillas and other products. This corn is low in sugar and high in starch.

5.) Flour Corn

This type of corn is grown specifically for making corn flour. It is softer and contains more starch than the other varieties of corn. Corn flour is generally made with white corn and is used in baked goods. It should not be confused with masa harina. Masa harina is dent or field corn that is boiled and soaked in water with slaked lime. This process lends a superior taste and texture to soft corn tortillas, crispy tortilla chips and tamales.

Corn meal, corn flour and masa harina are different products made with different types of corn.

Cornmeal is simply dried corn that is ground into a coarse meal. Grits are basically the same as cornmeal. Traditionally grits are a much more coarsely ground cornmeal but can be used interchangeably. If using it in baked goods you will need to add flour in addition to the corn meal. Corn flour is a very finely ground corn. It can sometimes be used just as you would wheat flour. You can substitute corn flour for masa harina but you will get less flavor and lack the texture of masa harina. Masa harina and corn flour can also be used to thicken sauces and soups. Masa harina can also be used to make pinole.

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/02/simple-survival-foods-corn.html