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Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Survival Garden

If you can’t get to the store to buy your produce, what will you do? Plan now! Buy the seeds (HEIRLOOM!!), learn how to garden, learn how to preserve / can / dehydrate, and cook with what you grow. Practice seed-saving. Figure out what you have space for inside your home – if you can’t get outside to garden (in case someone sees your food and tries to steal it), stock up on grow lights and potting soil. Food is our most basic need, behind water. Do what you can NOW to ensure your health.

If you don’t have room for the following, choose what your favorite foods are, and which of the following are most versatile in your cooking.

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (lettuce, endive, escarole, spinach, swiss chard, etc.)
  • Okra
  • Onion and Garlic
  • Pepper (Bell and Hot)
  • Radish
  • Squash (summer like zucchini or crookneck, winter like butternut or pumpkin, gourds)


  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Huckleberries
  • Kiwi
  • Melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Wonderberries


  • Beans, including soybeans
  • Cowpeas and Peas
  • Sunflowers


  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Wheat


  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint and Other Mints
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Soapwort
  • Sorghum
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Etc.

Some of the above are perennial plants, and some you need to replant every year. Radishes can be grown every 6 weeks or so.

Be sure to read http://www.survival-cooking.com/ for recipes and cooking ideas and http://www.backyardgrocerygardening.blogspot.com/ for the best way to grow these plants.

Swine Flu Pandemic Possibility

Found this article at: http://www.utahpreppers.com/2009/04/pandemic-preparedness/ - wanted to pass it along in its entirety with a few comments of my own:

= = = = = = =

With the current Swine Flu scare coming out of Mexico and popping up here and there in the United States, it is prudent to become familiar with the situation and especially prudent to review your Pandemic Preparedness Level. I should also stress that this is a “DON’T PANIC, Just Prepare!” post. So first, let’s get to know the player - what is the swine flu? Well, it’s just a variant of the “flu” that makes the rounds and gets passed around every year. Thing is, this variant doesn’t typically pass to humans so there is not an anti-virus in production or even made yet. Don’t take it from me though, and don’t take it from the ‘news’. Here are links to the CDC info and briefs on this situation:

Some quick anti-panic notes from the above sources:

  • Swine flu CANNOT be transmitted by food. Eating pork does NOT put you at risk.
  • This is NOT the first time the ’swine flu’ has transmitted to humans. It’s happened several times before without it becoming a pandemic.
  • This variant of swine flu, as with any flu, is a virus and primarily spread person-to-person through coughing or sneezing.
  • This is just a flu! The key here is to NOT GET IT, since there is not currently an anti-viral for it.

Quick notes about prevention:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs can spread that way.

Now, let’s talk a bit about Pandemic Preparedness.

We’ve linked to this before, here is an excellent resource on Pandemic Preparedness from the LDS Church. In the case of a true Pandemic outbreak in your area, the most important thing is to be prepared to Shelter In. This means having enough food/water/supplies to keep you and your family inside at your home for possibly several weeks. You don’t want to be caught in a store-run in a pandemic outbreak! You need to make sure you are prepared for that possibility ahead of time. If you have your 3 month supply of everything at home already, then Peace is yours in this situation!

Other Pandemic specific things to make sure you have an excellent supply of:

  • N-95 Masks: These masks are different from regular dust masks or other types of masks. They are rated to help stop the spread of viruses. You should have enough in your preps to provide a new one to every member of your family every day for at least 2 weeks. They can be purchased at most stores that include a pharmacy, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, WalGreens, etc. Generally they are a little pricey but are necessary for your preps.
  • Medical Gloves: You should have several hundred pair of medical gloves in your preps. These are needed if someone in your family gets sick and you have to self-quarantine. Anytime you touch anything that a sick person has been around, you need to be wearing gloves. You can buy these at the same places you buy N-95 masks. They are a lot cheaper than the masks though.
  • Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer: Even though you’re wearing gloves all the time, you should have lots of alcohol based sanitizers in your preps. You should have them in your day bag, your go bag, your 72-hour kits and your regular preps. You should also have lots of anti-bacterial soap as well.

Other Preps: To be prepared to take care of someone infected in your home, you should also have the following in your preps (these preps will be for the single person providing care for the sick person, you do not need to have enough of these supplies for everyone in the family to wear constantly):

  • Disposable surgical gowns
  • Disposable shoe covers
  • Goggles or face shield
  • Bleach (to clean surfaces and items touched by a sick person)
  • Supplies to boil water (to sanitize dishes and other items used by sick person)

I can’t stress enough how important Pandemic Preparedness is. The worst possible thing you could do in a Pandemic outbreak is rush to the store with thousands of potentially sick people and try to fight them all to buy supplies to shelter in. The only rushing you want to do in a Pandemic situation is rush home - and stay there.

Make sure you have N-95 masks and hand sanitizer in your Day Bag, Office Kit, Car Kit, Go Bag and 72 Hour kits! Keep a good supply of sanitizing materials in your preps at home and .. .. .. Don’t Panic!

= = = = = = = =

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control): symptoms for swine flu (H1N1) include: fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you come down with even a few of these symptoms, call your doctor, don your mask, and head on to get checked out. Samples of your blood will be sent to be examined to see if you have this strain of flu. Better to be safe than sorry.

Here's a link to a .pdf file that gives information on how to give chest compressions to people who are having troubles clearing their lungs: http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/emily-center/child-health-topics/handouts/CPT-55b.pdf. Print it out and put it in your emergency binder.

You haven't started your emergency binder? Do it. TODAY! Grab a 2" binder and label it. Start with printing out the .pdf mentioned in the above paragraph. Then start your inventory of your stored foods, disposable gloves and other items mentioned in this article. Do you have hygiene and sanitary products, i.e. toilet paper? Cough medicine, theraflu, ibuprofen, acetamenaphin, children's products? A way to light your home? A way to cook if your utilities get shut off? Enough water (1 gallon per person per day)? Make a note in your binder of everything, then get out there are purchase what you don't have. Be sure to include a section in your binder for first aid, cooking without utilities, and more.

In addition, be sure to sanitize (with bleach, ammonia and/or vinegar) all doorknobs, telephones, toilet handles, cups, and everything else that you come in contact with. First thing tomorrow, we're going through this house and sanitizing everything, including the doorbell outside!

We have a particular situation: we have begun packing and preparing to move. We also have some minor repairs to make, and I have a business to run. Busy busy. We don't intend to put the house on the market until June, but have to pack and store lots of items to "stage" the house (make it more sellable). So... we have to figure out how to store our "prep" items without making prospective buyers think we're end-of-the-world freaks (which we're not). We can't fill our big water storage tank, and in the midst of moving some things to the storage unit we rented, we can't find the disposable gloves, masks, etc. At least we still have plenty of stored food on our special shelves.

So, despite tomorrow being my birthday, after I take the dogs to the vet, Tween and I need to gather some more disposable gloves, N-95 masks, goggles, bleach, and lots of gallons of water. Then we'll get a couple more bags of dog food and head on home.

Original: http://colorado-preppers.blogspot.com/2009/04/swine-flu-pandemic-possibility.html

Drying foods

Drying food is fairly easy. I wrote about drying garlic here. I have tried to dry nearly everything, and found very little that did not turn out. You do not need fancy equipment to dry foods, although a dehydrator is a nice thing to have. A friend gave me hers as she never uses it, and I bought extra drying racks at a thrift store for 30 cents.

As a person trying to live a simple life(which has made me a prepper:), I save all containers that foods come from. I have a variety of plastic and glass jars to then re-use for my dried foods.

A key point to remember in drying foods is that if the food item browns in the air, you need to soak it(after you slice it) in a bowl of 3 parts water 1 part citrus juice. You can use the store bought items that will retain color, but I have used lime juice for a few years and it has worked wonderful.

These are dried onions. On the right I made a minced onion, and the left, the rings. I use the dehydrator for the rings because they will not fall through the slits on the drying trays. For the minced onions, I use plastic lids, then place them in pocket sleeve that I made(think pillowcase). I have read people using their roof to place items to dry on. I just sit the plastic lids on a bench in front of a window. Now I live in New Mexico, and it is almost always sunny. So other ideas to dry foods are using cookie sheets and use the oven at low heat overnight. If you are not drying onions(because of aroma) you can dry foods on the dashboard of your car. It takes little time using a vehicle as the car heats up rather quickly.

Here are orange slices that I recently dried. You can toss this in a tea drink, orange juice, or like my children just suck on them. They are a wonderful energy boost.

{Sorry about the photo quality}
This is Swiss Chard that I dried. It takes very much like seaweed and is a yummy crunchy snack. I think that I am going to start using this where I use a bay leaf to see how it will taste. Remember dark green vegetables are EXTREMELY healthy for you, yet in the winter, if you grow your own foods, you may lack things like chard-well no more. Just dry some for your family!

This is a jar of dried apple slices. You would pre-soak the slices in the citrus solution to stop the browning. I make a granola breakfast cereal that some of the kids toss apple slices on it. I prefer to grab a handful each morning to start my day. You will never regret drying apples!

Once again the photo quality is a bit off, but this is a photo of dried strawberries. Boy I cannot describe how wonderful a snack is that is made of dried strawberries. You can use this for breakfast foods, add it to a jello, or even ice cream or shakes.

If you do not have a garden, no problem*. The grocery has weekly sales. Buy a large amount of the item of the week and dry some food for your pantry today. (or can it). Learning how to preserve and store foods can make a difference in you and your family's very livelihood, and if I can dry foods so can you!
(c) Double Nickel Farm

cross posted on New Mexico Preppers
* I strongly urge you to begin growing some foods for you and your family.

Smoke Flavoring of Meats

by Joseph Parish

There is only one true method of natural barbecuing and that is gradually cooking the food over an open flame fire. Even though this style of food preparation is slow and tiresome, it allocates for the complete saturation of the smoke into the meat. When prepared with this approach the smoke aroma is a pleasure to behold. Shockingly it is simpler to carry out then you may well expect.

The contemporary Grill Chief is afforded countless options for supplementing the Smokey essence into his food. The open pit process of smoking meat is by far the superior means of achieving that desired flavor however; it also requires the most effort. With the benefits of our up to date barbecuing tools the equivalent results can be realized without all the extra work involved. The fastest way to add the smoke flavor to any meat is by the use of a liquid known as smoke. This can be added to any food from baked beans to grilled fish. There are several downfalls to this item as it does not impart a true smoke flavor to your recipe nor should the liquid be employed on an ongoing daily basis. We recommend this product only to spice up homemade sauces.

It is not uncommon of an occurrence to draw on your backyard gas BBQ grill for limited smoking of small quantity of meats. Several manufacturers of grills now include a smoke trough where you can insert a mixture of wood chips, pellets or chunks of hardwood for use as smoking material. The hoods on these grills typically necessitate closure when smoking of meat is accomplished. If you have an older grill which lacks the trough don’t despair as you can purchase a smoke box at your local department store or for that matter assemble your own out of aluminum foil pockets to hold the wood chips. The only problem with using the backyard grill for smoking is the grill tends to cook the meat rather quickly. It must be remembered that the art of fruitfully smoking meat is to cook the meat gradually over a longer period of time at lower temperatures. Making use of the BBQ grill for smoking the meat will result in the food being done much too rapidly while failing to impart the desired smoke flavor.

I would like to afford you with several suggestions bent towards improving your meat smoking skills and should suffice to get you started in this culinary delight.

Always preheat your smoker for approximately 15 minutes prior to proceeding to placing your meat in it.

With your smoker previously preheated lay your steaks, ribs or chops lightly into it and proceed to grill for 20 minutes per pound leaving your food in no longer then 2 hours maximum. Woods, which especially impart a good smoked flavor to the meat, include hardwoods such as hickory, mesquite or alder.

When you smoke hamburger, spread your ground beef in a shallow pan for 20 minutes. If you fancy a more embellished flavor use alder or hickory wood in your burner. Apple tends to impart a mellower flavor to your meat.

When smoking roasts pursue the same course of action except you may wish to use some different woods for the fire. Cherry, Mesquite and Hickory are excellent choices for beef, while Apple provides an exceptional flavor on lamb or pork.

If you anticipate smoking bacon slices, link sausages or slices of ham you may aspiration to obtain a tangier flavor using wood such as alder or hickory, while smoking your meat with apple would give your food a slightly sweeter flavor.

Original; http://survival-training.info/articles/Smoke%20Flavoring%20of%20Meats.htm

First Aid Supplies - Just Like Food Preps

For when times get tough, we are all preparing by laying in a supply of food, water, some tools and hopefully some printed information for reference. First Aid supplies are often not given a high enough priority in our planning.

I approach First Aid supplies in much the same way as I do with food storage purchases. Each time I go grocery shopping, I take a tour down bathroom aisle and pick up one or two First Aid items. Just like buying a couple of extra cans of food on each trip, your First Aid supplies will quickly multiply to a respectable level.

Preassembled First Kits sold in hardware stores or Pharmacies are wholly inadequate for any extended emergency and doubly so for any serious injury where the ambulance can't or wont be coming anytime soon. Thankfully most of us rarely need a well rounded set of First Aid supplies but let me tell you, that if you slip with that chainsaw or your sharp knife the one or two rolls of gauze in your prepackaged kit will not be adequate to stop the bleeding and there wont be enough to keep the wound clean and dressed.

Discount supplies can be found at pharmacies, grocery stores, Walmart as well as other discount stores. Always check the packaging to ensure the product (if applicable) is labelled as being sterilized. Some "band-aid" type adhesive bandages are not sterile, the same for some gauze pads and rolls. In your assembled "mega-kit" you should have everything you need to treat most medical situations short of invasive surgery.

You can not have too many band aids, gauze pads & rolls, triangular bandages, antiseptic wipes, alcohol, iodine, hydrogen-peroxide, polysporin, antacid tablets, over the counter pain mediation, antihistamines, Imodium tablets, antibiotics (ask your doctor), epi-pen, safety pins, scalpels, syringes, good scissors, tape, sutures, petroleum jelly, blistex, throat lozenges, thermometer, face shields, gloves, space blankets and the list goes on and on.

You should have a small First Aid kit in your get home bag or pack, a larger kit in your car, and a "monster kit" at home. Treating any serious injury in the field while waiting for help to arrive will use more of your supplies than you probably realize. I have been in a situation where I used several field dressings, more than 10 rolls of gauze bandages/sponges, three triangular bandages, several splints and an entire bottle of peroxide just cleaning and dressing the wounds of one person. In an extended emergency, you may need to go back to your first aid kit many times before the opportunity to restock used items presents itself.

I highly recommend that every member of your family take a CPR/A.R. course as well as an advanced First Aid course offered by the Red Cross or St. John's Ambulance people. Surrounding yourself with trained people might very well save your life if they have the knowledge and supplies to act when the situation requires it.

A good medical practices/treatment book belongs on the shelf of any home library.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

Original: http://ontariopreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/first-aid-supplies-just-like-food-preps_13.html

Your Survival First Aid Kit Should Include This Basic, Versatile Item

In early March I ran a contest for my subscribers to the DestinySurvival Dispatch and offered a deck of Emergency First Aid cards to the best short piece on a survival/preparedness topic. My thanks to each one who entered. Here’s the runner up entry, which includes practical advice and deserves publication here.

Everyone should keep a small first aid kit handy at all times. This is a must have item for any situation. One of the items you should have in your first aid kit is petroleum jelly. Not only is it good for protecting chapped lips, it makes an excellent aid in starting a fire.It can even be rubbed into a bandana or elastic bandage and then wrapped around a stick or wooden pole to make a torch for signaling at night or to light your way if it is necessary for you to travel at night. Being able to improvise different uses for items in a survival kit is a necessary skill for survival.

- Riverwalker

You can read more from Riverwalker at http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/.

Disaster Preparedness--Of Lists and Preparation in Depth, by Ed C.

I would like to offer my own experiences in the hopes that they may provide some small amount of practical advice to others. Here in Oklahoma, of course, we face tornadoes, but many do not realize we have also suffered from paralyzing ice storms - three within the past ten years. Lessons gleaned from practical experience are:

  1. Have inventory lists;
  2. Have 'Oh-Schumer Lists' of items and chores for each type of contingency situation (tornado, flood, ice storm, etc.)
  3. Prepare 'in depth' for each major need, such as heat and light, food, water, shelter, and protection
  4. Calmly think through scenarios on the before-hand, in terms of what would be needed, how long one can survive, and what the deciding factors in your response would be ('fight or flight')
  5. Most importantly, be prepared to take care of your own, whether family or friends or neighbors.

First things first. Just a week or so ago, Oklahoma was ravaged by several tornadoes. While keeping an ear on the weather report, I calmly gathered up medications, identification papers, windup lights and radios. I made sure there was at least one conventional telephone working. We have had experiences with cell phone towers being down, or the cell phone networks being overloaded. I placed a full face motorcycle helmet, winter gloves, and parka within reach to put on (for some marginal protection against debris) in case the tornado swung in our direction, something they can and have done before. Thankfully, we were spared, though one tornado came within two miles of our home.

The purpose of relating the above is to illustrate the importance of pre-planning for an event, having what we call an 'Oh-Schumer List' of items and tasks, so that one keeps panic at bay while calmly following a pre-planned, prepared list so that one keeps busy and feels somewhat in control of the situation.

The second situation is one that we have experienced several times; and yet I am still amazed that many neighbors still do not prepare for them; ice storms. Again, we have items stored which were deemed necessary to overcome the emergency situation, as well as an 'Oh-Schumer List' of items and tasks (chores) which we can calmly follow. In our case, we have winter clothing cleaned, organized, and stored; various tools and outdoor items prepped (snow shovels, chain saw (and spare chains, oil, etc.), generator (and gasoline, oil, spark plugs, etc.), tarps, lumber; food, water, and medicines stocked; Vehicles serviced and fueled; and Call Lists of Family, Friends, and Neighbors so that we can be sure they are warm, fed, and safe.

One thing I must stress is that we prepare 'in depth' as much as we can. Meaning that while we have a generator and gasoline, we also have propane lights, heaters, and stoves in case the generator fails. We also have candles, Esbit stoves, windup lights and radios, and firewood. Similarly, my wife will cook up large batches of food if she knows we have an incoming storm front, but we also have canned goods, MREs, and freeze-dried goods. For water, we have bottled water, Katadyn water filters, bleach, water purification tablets, collapsible water containers, and a small 10,000 gallon swimming pool.

A few years ago, Oklahoma City was paralyzed for about five days by an ice storm. We had no electricity from the grid, but we had our furnace and a few appliances running on a generator. We also had relatives and neighbors who stayed with us, as they had not prepared. It was no matter, we had homemade chicken pot pies, wine, card games, lively conversation, and were all safe, snug, and warm. Sadly, while outside cutting up fallen trees that blocked the roads, I encountered a neighbor that needed the cut-up wood to heat and cook for his elderly father and himself. I offered him our propane lights, heater, and camp stove; but he did not take us up on the offer. I wanted to ask him, that since we had gone through this numerous times, why he had not prepared for this. But, I knew it was hard enough for him just to ask for the firewood.

In closing, let me recap. Have inventory lists. Have 'Oh-Schumer Lists' of items and tasks for each type of contingency situation. Prepare 'in depth' for each major need, such as heat and light, food, water, shelter, and protection Calmly think through scenarios on the before-hand, in terms of what would be needed, how long one can survive, and what the deciding factors would be. Most importantly, be prepared to take care of your own, whether family or friends or neighbors. Sadly, this last point is overlooked by many. Good luck to all.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/04/disaster_preparednessof_lists.html

Water and 72 Hour Kit Reminders

This is a friendly reminder from Food Storage Made Easy to take care of some of your “maintenance items” this weekend. If you are a member of the LDS Church we like to recommend that you take care of these things on conference weekend since it is a consistent event every six months. If you are not LDS, never fear, we will make sure to do a blog post around this time every six months as well. So make sure you are subscribed to our RSS feeds so you don’t miss a single post!

Step 2: Water

  • Empty out your water jugs, check for leaks or cracks
  • Refill the jugs with fresh water and add bleach if your water is not chlorinated
  • Purchase a new bottle of bleach for emergency purification if your current bottle is expired

Emergency Preparedness Plan

  • Change out the perishable food items from your 72 Hour Kit
  • Update seasonal or outgrown clothing in Disaster Kits for young children
  • Remind your family of your Family Emergency Plan