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A couple of days ago, my nephew, who’s 8 years old, asked me what do I do for a living. Of course, my answer to him was that I’m a prepper and that I write about it. Cute, I know, but try explaining to a toddler what the Hell is that supposed to mean. Tried to give him the prepping talk with Smokey the Bear and Ivan the gas mask-wearing city denizen.

Dunno if I managed to get through to him – barely convinced my teen daughter and son to help me move some stuff to the family’s mountain cabin, but here’s the thing – in talking to the tyke I got around to realizing how much BS’s floating around our prepping world.

Hell, even the word itself sounds like a cheap millennial knockoff when in fact it’s something as old as time itself. Our grandparents used to call it “common-sense” or just survival. I sometimes wonder – could it be that in prepping for disaster, we actually welcome it in our lives?

Today’s topic will somewhat different. Perhaps you have friends or close acquaintances who wish to become preppers themselves. That’s great, but we really mustn’t lose track of the fact that, in most cases, prepping is far more than buying a nifty gadget or stockpiling food and water in case shit hits the proverbial fan.

The truth of the matter is, not all of us are NBPs (natural-born preppers). Sure, there is such a thing as survival instinct or, as my dad likes to call it, knowing how to guard your royal keister, but that is, more or less, case-dependent. Prepping is not. You do it around the clock, and, most importantly, you never stop.

Sure, for some, it’s a way of life, but for most of us, it’s one of those nagging thoughts nesting at the backs of our heads, keeping us awake at night: “But what if Katrina strikes again? What will happen to me or my family if North Korea declares war on the United States?” Okay, I’m going to stop right here with my end of the world train of thought.

Now, in wanting to show my fellow preppers that this lifestyle choice is no bed of roses, I’ve thought long and hard and finally managed to jot down a small list of reasons why prepping’s more challenging in reality than it is on paper. Call it my way of letting the skeletons out of the cupboard.

Yard Sales or Thrift Shops Are Not the Answer to Everything

I can give you a ton of reasons why you should check out garage sales and thrift shops more often (be sure to check out my article on SHTF items you can find at yard sales for 20 bucks or less). Most items can be repaired and reused. For instance, a while back I found this great garden solar lamp at a Montana flea market.

The owner wanted only 10 cents for it because it was broken and he couldn’t be bothered with the repairs. One new bulb later, the thing was up and running in my garden, giving off the most enchanting glow you’ll ever see. That’s my tiny slice of Heaven or hygge, as the Danish like to call it.

So, if you ever find yourself at a garage sale, spare a couple of moments and look around. You’ll never know what you’re going to find.

Unfortunately, this is where the fun part ends. With a couple of minor exceptions, prepping for every contingency is very expensive. Even if you’re not yet fully ready to drop off the grid, making your house safe, even a small one at that, can run into hundreds of bucks if not more.

Of course, smoke alarms are not that expensive but consider the rest – surveillance system, safety room, sprinkler system, which is a must for any respectable yard owner, garage, keeping your bug out vehicle up to speed, tools, keeping those food and water stocks up to speed, medical checkups, and the list goes on and on.

Prepping’s not the kind of thing you want to rush into or to do it, as the Brits like to say, half-heartedly. You either do it, or you don’t.

Many years ago, before settling down, I lived in a cramped apartment on the 12th floor of this new and shiny glass building. Rent was awfully expensive, but hey, at least I have my own place now.

So, instead of doing what’s right – setting some money aside, making an emergency food and water supply, I went ahead and bought every pack of instant noodle soup I could find. Long story short, city power grid failed one day, and I had to go without electricity for two weeks. Guess what I had to eat all this time? Noodle soup! All day, every day for two whole weeks because I was stupid enough to burn all my money on stupid things like beer and movies and computer games and another crud.

Of course, it’s way cheaper to have a pantry stocked with ready-to-eat noodle soup, but it’s not exactly healthy nor nutritious.

Another harsh reality of prepping is the need vs. afford dilemma. Any like-minded prepper will tell you that in an SHTF situation, dropping off the grid and starting anew is the best option. Regrettably with today’s real-estate market, you can’t even afford to buy a parking spot, let alone a parcel of land.

You may get lucky and find someone willing to part with such a property, but I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on that if I were you. Moreover, buying a piece of land means nothing if you can’t build a shack or something on it. I don’t want to sound like the lovechild of Richie-Rich or something, but I could’ve bought two new hybrid vans and refurbish my city house two times over with the money I’ve spent on my off-grid location.

More than Money

As William Ernest Henley so eloquently put it: “beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the Horror of the shade.” You know what Henley’s shade is? Loneliness. Sheer, mind-wrecking, solitude. A prepper’s life can be a lonely one, especially if he’s surrounded by ‘pals’ who gift him tinfoil hats for his birthday.

I had a rough time convincing my wife to join me on my prepping merry-go-round. Although she’s as much into prepping as most of you are, I still can’t shake the feeling that she sometimes gives me the stink eye. Can’t say I blame her considering that I spend most of my off days working on our hunting cabin garden.

Anyway, the loneliness part becomes even more apparent when you decide to drop off the grid. And it’s not just about being in a relationship or hanging out with your buds on a Saturday night. I’m talking here about the absolute lack of human contact.

Sure, every wide-eyed lad toiling for a big-shot corporation dreams of living everything behind and going to live in seclusion. It’s not like in the movies – you don’t get to discover the true meaning or purpose of life, and you don’t get to be a sultry, ax-wielding Paul Bunyan ersatz. It’s wild, hauntingly quiet, and, most importantly, not the kind of gig you would want to get yourself into unless the shit really hits the fan.

Solitude aside, piecing together such a project takes a lot of work, dedication, and energy. Of course, I’m talking about good, old manual labor. Yup, off-grid living mostly means that you will need to get off your couch and put that shoulder to the wheel if you want to build something that’s abiding.

Most of the challenges you’ll face will be mostly due to your mindset. Growing veggies may be a quaint and probably soothing endeavor for someone who never held a hoe in his hands, but it’s really not that amusing. I threw my back a couple of times before I was able to plant all of my wife’s herbs and veggies.

Sure, it’s nice to snuggle next to a cozy little fireplace, but it becomes a nightmare when you have to clean out the damn thing. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of setting up an off-grid place is how you choose to deal with things like electricity, water, heat, and, of course, the Internet.

Certainly, you need to have electricity for a couple of appliances, but you also need to think about a backup – a gas-powered generator or something (thinking on doing a piece of how I managed to whip up a water-powered generator for my hunting cabin). Everything has to be thought thoroughly. Otherwise you wind up with another house that’s just as vulnerable during an SHTF situation like any city location.

And probably, the most daunting aspect of prepping is knowing that everything you do is a gamble. There’s no guarantee for anything – nobody can tell you for certain if your crops will yield something or if the home you’ve to build won’t fall on your head in case of a disaster.

Yes, I consider myself to be a gambler of the sort, but the only difference, in this case, is that I know when to cash out. That’s probably the most important aspect – trying to do a lot of stuff at the same time can end in disaster.

A couple of years after I bought the hunting cabin, I was faced with a big dilemma. The mortgage on our city house went up big time. I was the only one who was bringing enough money into the house.

So, there I was, all alone with my thoughts, and forced into making a choice: either keep the hunting cabin and live pay-check to pay-check until I can find a better-paying job or sell the blasted thing. Naturally, I went with option A.

It’s not hard to imagine how this kind of thing ends – arguments after arguments, she threatening to give everything out for Lent and move away. Fortunately, this story had a happy end.

See, when you’re a prepper, natural disasters are only a small part of the equation. You still need to find a way to deal with your fellow man. And let me tell you, convincing someone about dropping off the grid is just as difficult as starting a fire with an ice lens.

Bottom Line

I can’t help to think that, in some regards, preppers are superheroes. Sure, we don’t have capes or X-Ray vision, but we do have this knack to counter every possible problem long before it comes into being.

In rereading T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, I realized that A Game of Chess, the title of the poem’s second canto, is the best prepping description anyone could come up it. Most of the times, it’s exactly like that – you make a move Mother Nature, and I’ll play my gambit. Crown me not for getting to the edge of the board, but for finding the resolution to survive.

A couple of days ago, my nephew, who’s 8 years old, asked me what do I do for a living. Of course, my answer to him was that I’m a

There’s a reason why each shopping cart contains at least a bottle of bleach – this stuff’s good for a lot of odd jobs around the house, and some of them don’t have anything to do with cleaning. I being a computer geek have always kept an ample supply of bleach because it works wonders on yellow computer cases.

Anyway, ever since it became commercially available, bleach has been held in high regards, especially by those who had a rough time cleaning nearly-impossible to remove stains and for keeping germs away. In it’s watered down form, bleach can also be used as a room freshener and for giving shine to grandmamma’s white porcelain collection.

Beyond the mere household, bleach can also be successfully employed in survival-type situations. Hence today’s piece which will deal in the many uses and faces of survival bleach, this Jack-of-all-trades of the pantry.

Because I had time to look up more stuff while doing research on my pleasure rubber in SHTF article, I’ve somehow managed to stumble upon a treasure trove of info about the over glorified Clorox bleach. So, fellow preppers, prepare yourselves and feast your eye on the wonders of bleach in just about any SHTF situation.

  1. General sterilization

Of course, one would be very inconsiderate if not stating, well, the obvious – bleach is the ultimate germ buster, being successfully employed in virtually every cleaning job. Grime? No problem! Scale? Who cares? Smears? I have 99 problems, but Clorox makes all of them go away. The stuff is very handy for disinfecting tools used in minor surgery (a pair of pickup scissors or needle with surgical thread) when you don’t have other means of removing the germs. If you water it down a little, you can also remove stain and bacteria from small objects.

For instance, a solution containing one-part Clorox and three parts water may be used to clean and sterilize LED displays (always water down the bleach before using it). My grandma had the habit of spraying all the rugs and upholstery with a diluted bleach solution.

Apparently, this is the best way to remove bacteria, revive colors, and prevent warping. If you’re a fan of second-hand shopping, the above-mentioned bleach mix will help you get rid of lingering germs, while removing that old, musty smell that tends to follow every object bought from these sorts of establishments.

If you have a kid on the way, you may use spraying bleach to disinfect every item the kid may come in contact with – cradle, toys, clothes.

In the field, it may be possible to use trace amounts of chlorine bleach to purify water. Sure, it won’t have the same taste, but at least you won’t come down with dysentery, enterocolitis or any other tummy diseases.

Pet owners can use spray-based chlorine to remove animal smells from the furniture. I being the proud owner of two cats (a boy and a girl), I found relief in the fact that bleach’s able to remove that nasty odor tomcats tend to leave behind when establishing boundaries.

  1. Crafting an anchor

Though the idea of becoming adrift is akin to pure dread, there’s no reason why you can’t anchor down your raft if you have a bottle of bleach nearby. If the situation calls for immediate action, use the remaining bleach to sterilize your gear and water supplies, and salvage the bottle.

Wrap paracords or any dental floss around the bottle’s neck and fill it with anything heavy (concrete, sand, tiny rocks). Congrats! You’ve just made yourself an anchor worthy of any ship on its maiden voyage.

  1. Cleaning your veggies and fruits

Water’s the best way to clean fruits and veggies, isn’t that right? In most cases, yes, but there are some cases when using just purified water just won’t cut. Enters bleach, a marvelous disinfectant that can be used in case of an emergency to clean your veggies and fruits. Just be sure to use a watered-down mix. Otherwise, you will end up with bleach-soaked food, a thing which does not agree with your esophagus and stomach.

By the way – be very careful around the stuff, because the thing can burn through your skin like acid. In case you accidentally spilled some on your hands, or other parts of the body (I don’t judge) go and wash the area with plenty of soap and lukewarm water. As for the drinking part, don’t try to induce vomiting. Instead, dial CDC’s accidental poisoning hotline and await further instructions. In the meantime, drink water or a glass of milk. You should stop in case you’re experiencing convulsions or other changes.

  1. Weed-whacking

Without a doubt, every prepper’s turned gardener waking nightmare is seeing his crops wilting or, worse, eaten away by pests or overtaken by weed. Sure, you can try out all kind of artificial weed-whackers and whatnots, but you’ll probably end up poisoning the soil and making bad veggies.

A great and safe way of getting rid of pests and weeds is to spray your plants with a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. Like always, the recipe calls for one-part chlorine bleach and three parts water. Cover your garden using a hose with a fine mist. For the best results, you should do this at least once a week. Be careful about weed-whacking the wrong kind of weeds (see my article on healing herbs and weeds that grow around the house).

  1. Anti-rad countermeasure

Although it’s highly unlikely that we would have to deal with a nuclear detonation any time soon, it’s good to know that household bleach can be used for decontamination. Hypothetically speaking, if you find yourself stranded in an area with high radiation, take off your clothes and soak them in a tub filled with water and chlorine bleach.

As for body decon, wash all body parts with water and soap first, then used a watered-down bleach solution to rinse your body. Be careful when preparing the mix – for body decon, it should be one unit of bleach to 100 units of purified water.

  1. Self-defense

Pray it won’t come it, but when the spam hits the ham, a bottle of chlorine makes a great weapon of self-defense and distractionary device. If your opponent gains ground, uncork a Clorox bottle and toss it in his face. The results won’t be pretty, I guarantee that, but saving your can is sometimes more important than thinking about the interaction between skin and bleach.

  1. Outliving a contagion

Hold on to your britches there, because I wasn’t referring to the next Black Plague or Ebola. Even the flu season is considered an outbreak, and it should not be taken lightly. One way to purify the air is by bleach and water.

Hygiene is very important but becomes crucial when dealing with a contagion. To minimize exposure to the virus, make a 50-50 bleach and water mix. Pour it inside an empty and clean spray. Use a fine mist on things like clothes, upholstery, pet beds, bathroom tiles or any place that may hoard bacteria and deadly viruses.

  1. Getting rid of mold and mildew

Probably the most annoying part of being a homeowner is finding ways of removing mold and mildew from various objects. Since my son has a slight allergy to mold, I and my wife always try our best to removing as much as the stuff as possible.

One of its nesting places are the gaps between bathroom tiles (yeah, I real back-buster when it comes to spring cleaning). It is possible to hack away any mold and mildew from your home by mixing bleach and water in a bucket. Take a clean rag, soak it in the mix, and wipe. Not only will the mold come off on its own but it takes less scrubbing compared to using special cleaning supplies.

  1. Removing grime and dirt from trashcans

As you know, in case of an emergency, trashcans, especially the big ones, can be converted into portable water carriers. Still, that they are somewhat challenging considering the amount of grime, dirt, and sludge festering at the bottom. A quick way of removing that filth in a sinch is by using bleach in addition to detergent. Prepare a 50-50 bleach mixture and add some detergent. Don’t forget to wear protective gloves while cleaning the trashcan. Word of warning – while preparing the mix, fumes might emerge from inside the container.

Don’t breathe in those fumes as they are highly toxic. If you do, immediately stop what you’re doing, wash your face with plenty of water, and wipe with a clean cloth. You can try to flush out any lingering bleach from your nostrils with blood serum (you can find those bottles in any drug store or pharmacy, and they’re perfectly over-the-counter).

Fill up a small syringe with blood serum, tilt your head a bit, and slowly inject the stuff into your nostrils. Don’t breathe in the stuff!  Blow your nose in the sink and rinse with plenty of water.

  1. Field-sanitization of food plates and eating utensils

Just because one finds himself in the middle of shit hits the fan situation, it doesn’t mean that one should disregard basic hygiene rules and eat from whatever plate, no matter how dirty it is. If you were planning on adding one or more items to your B.O.B, my advice to you is to toss in a small bottle of Clorox. Combined with purified water, bleach can be used to clean and sterilize everything from plastic plates to cutlery.

I myself like to use the stuff in order to clean and remove any grime from my portable stove. The mix also works wonders on other objects used for cooking like cast-iron pots, stoves, ovens, and knives. Careful about using too much bleach on your chopping implements as the substance is known to reduce the life of stainless steel blades.

That about wraps it on ingenious ways to use bleach in an SHTF situation. Instead of a conclusion, I will leave you with a question: to bleach or not to bleach? As always, if you figure out another great way of using this stuff in a survival-type situation, don’t be shy and hit the comment section.

There’s a reason why each shopping cart contains at least a bottle of bleach – this stuff’s good for a lot of odd jobs around the house, and some of

As a full-blooded prepper, I’ve always been looking for ways to make my food last longer. Sure, buying stuff like honey, white vinegar, and baking soda, get you a well-stocked pantry with food that never goes bad. Still, one cannot live on those alone.

So, after doing a bit of research, I stumbled upon this nifty passage from a prepping book which talked about brining and pickled meat. The recipe was so awesome and simple to make that I just had to share it with you guys.

See, long before fridges were invented, humans looked towards other ways of preserving food. Curing or smoking meat is one way of doing it, but hardly the only one. Around the 19th century, brining, as in the process of using salt to preserve food, became very popular, especially among sailors who had to spend months if not years on the sea.

Back then, frosty treats like ice-cream were very rare and quite expensive, year-round. In fact, most of the ice used for various purposes had to hauled from the North Pole. Still, people needed to eat meat, no matter the time of the year. Thus, brining came to be.

Apparently, this method was discovered completely by accident by some British sailors messing around with salty water and meat. Brining became so widespread that long after fridges became commercially available, people would still turn to it. You know the saying: if something’s not broken, why replace it?

The recipe I’m about to show involves pork. For my test-drive, I went ahead and bought a 2-pound shoulder from the butcher’s shop. Don’t worry too much about following this recipe to the letter. It works just as well with other cuts and meats – a friend of used it last week to pickle some salmon. Still waiting to see how it turned up. So, grab your recipe notebook and start writing.


For one large pickle jar, you won’t need more than 2 pounds of meat. Don’t go ahead and buy too much. Make a small batch first and see how it turns out. So, for this recipe, you’ll need the following stuff:

  • Meat.
  • Sharpened chef’s knife.
  • Glass jar.
  • One egg.
  • Salt.
  • 1/3 cup of sugar.
  • Bay leaves (4 are more than enough).
  • Garlic cloves (3 or 4, depending on your taste).
  • Peppercorns (20 will do).

How to prepare pickled meat

Step 1. Grab a clean cutting board and place your meat (I was referring to the pork) on it.

Step 2. Using your chef’s knife, cut the meat into 2-inch cubes.

Step 3. Get a strainer from the cupboard or whatever and wash the meat with plenty of cold water.

Step 4. Wash the jar with water and soap. Rinse! I would advise you to boil the jar before placing the meat inside. That deals with most of the bacteria that could make the meat go bad even with the added salt.

Step 5. Fill the jar with water. Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for the pork cubes and the rest of the condiments.

Step 6. Add salt to the jar. For this recipe, I measured a cup of salt. You may add more if you’re using a bigger jar.

Step 7. Time to test out if you added enough salt to your container. To do that, break the egg in the jar. If it goes down, add more salt. On the other hand, if it floats it means that you have more than enough.

Step 8. Place the pork cubes inside the jar and the rest of your condiments.

Step 9. Fill the remaining space with cool water and screw the lid in place.

More insight on pickling meat

That’s it! You only need to place the jar in a dry and cool place. Some call for keeping the jar in the refrigerator for one or two weeks. But that’s a bit of an overkill, considering that this method was used for food preservation long before fridges landed on the market.

What I like about this recipe is its simplicity and the fact that meat prepared this way can be cooked in many ways. For instance, being a big fan of Asian cuisine, I like to replace regular, freshly-slaughtered pork with the pickled kind. You can also use this meat for soups, broths, and even for preparing baby purees.

This is pure gold, especially during blackouts or any SHTF situation, for that matter. With pickled meat, you can whip yourself a quick dinner even the only heating source is a 12-hour emergency candle. Since it’s already prepared, it doesn’t take long to cook. Just be sure to avoid adding more salt, even if it’s second nature to you.

On that note, careful about eating pickled meat if you have kidney or heart issue. I mean that stuff is literally swimming in salt which does not agree too well with your condition(s).

Don’t worry, you can still enjoy a nice picked meat dish even if the doc says that you should refrain from eating salty food. Take the meat out of the jar, rinse it thoroughly, and submerge it in cold water. Leave it in there for at least an hour. That should clear most of the salt out.

Be careful when choosing your meat cut. Beef and fish are okay, but pork may require attention. If you bought your meat from a farmer or something, you should boil the meat before pickling it. The process kills most harmful bacteria, including trichinosis. Of course, you can always go crazy with the recipe and more stuff to it. I will try to pickle some beef and chicken next time to see how it goes.

Store it in a dark and dry environment and don’t forget about tightening the lid. For the first batch, I placed a cloth on top of the jar and tied it with a piece of string. Don’t know for sure if that helped or not, but the jar did look awfully nice and rustic.

Let me know how your pickling went.

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

See, long before fridges were invented, humans looked towards other ways of preserving food. Curing or smoking meat is one way of doing it, but hardly the only one.

In modern times we have become accustomed to medication and healing being only a phone call away. It wasn’t that long ago that we were much more vulnerable to disease. In 1800 43% of children died before their 5th birthday. Its a staggering stat.

This should act as a reminder that without modern medicine the elderly and the young suffer and die on a regular basis. The young and healthy are also subject to the same fate. We have seen modern medicine come to a screeching halt after major hurricanes and other powerful natural disasters.

Of course, these are temporary issues but imagine a world where the medicine runs out, the doctors leave, and you are left to fend for yourself. Could you become the physician and healer in your own family?

Medical Preparedness

Our powerful and effective pharmaceutical and medical industries have extended lifespan and created incredible advancements. However, that power is something of a double-edged sword. Its has also created dependency.

Most Americans have a box of band aids and some OTC medicines in their cabinets. That is the extent of medical preparations. This can be a big problem if we see a time of long-term calamity. Most people think about empty shelves and they get hungry.

Food isn’t the only thing that will go away. All medications, bandages, ointments and other first aid related materials will be gone, as well. Everything must be shipped into your community by trucks and if those roads are obstructed or trucks left inoperable you will literally have to get by with what you have on hand right now.

Can you imagine cutting yourself and worrying about dying from infection?

This will be the situation in a world where waste management is offline, and plumbing is compromised. To be blunt there will be trash and feces in the streets! Next come the pests and they bring disease and viruses.

You need a serious stockpile of medical and first aid preps to assure you are ready for the worst-case scenario.

Natural Healing

You can also leverage the world of natural healing to help with the trials of serious disaster.

Medicinal Herbs

Many plants have powerful healing benefits. Therefore, many preppers dedicate large spaces in their garden to growing herbs. Many herbs have culinary and medicinal uses. Things like oregano have powerful antibacterial properties.

Essential Oils

By taking many of these powerful herbs and pulling the essence out of those herbs and plants you get powerful medicines that can be used and blended in all sorts of ways. Essential oils are a tough thing to recreate but a small stockpile can address everything from allergies to wound healing and even boost immunity.


The secret of the survival world are the trees. Trees are an incredible resource, but they take some time to learn. Some trees are even painkillers and fever reducers! The best part about these trees is that they are around for all four seasons. That is big!

While gardens die off and wild plants get buried by snow, trees carry on. You can drink the immune boosting pine needle tea 365 days a year and get those benefits.

Learning about the healing powers of trees is essential.

Medical Library

Having the right books on hand to create a medical library can also make a huge difference if the medical system is compromised. Having some high-quality medical resources will give you a tangible resource that you are going to turn to in the worst-case scenario.

If you are looking to get the full health preparedness spectrum covered, you may want to check The Lost Book Of Remedies!

Not too long ago I needed treatment for a minor skin condition. I’m insured, but the copayment still put a dent in my budget. Just a couple of days after this costly incident, I found out that I could have used a stinging nettle tincture. And next time I will, for sure.

Now imagine you weren’t insured and had to pay the full cost. Maybe you have kids to care for too, and money’s tight. Are you going to pay, or just suffer? A lot of people just suffer, but there’s no need to. Four or five generations ago everyone had a load of home remedies for things like that.

Follow this link and find out how to take care of your family at no extra cost.

Extra care will do…

One more thing? Learn 1st Aid. It really saves lives.

First Aid Skills


Even with a stockpile of resources and a medical library, practiced skills are what truly makes a difference. Your medical library can teach you about procedures and processes but that can never be a substitute for hands on experience with things like CPR and dealing with real medical emergencies in real time.

Most people don’t go to this level because it takes physical work and dedication. However, we are moving into a time when skills like these are no longer going to be options. State agencies offer up free classes on first aid under the CERT program.

These are 8-hour courses and though they are a time investment, you will come away with some serious skills. Of course, it will be up to you to keep those skills sharp.

Trauma classes are also popping up all over the nation. If you decide to jump into one of these, they often cost money and you must be careful about your instructors. Get to know their background and why they are an instructor.


There is a reason medical doctors are in school for so long. There is a lot to learn! There is a lot of practice to be had and experience to gain. If we face a serious collapse of basic services and critical infrastructure its going to disrupt our medical system and you are going to become the family physician.

What will you do when they look to you for answers? Are you prepared to act, are you informed enough to act?

If not, you should consider resources listed above. You should invest in a sturdy medical library and a stockpile of first aid supplies and OTC medications. You could also check out The Lost Book Of Remedies and add that powerful prepping resource to your library, as well.

Surviving a serious disaster is about gaining every advantage you can.

Of course, these are temporary issues but imagine a world where the medicine runs out, the doctors leave, and you are left to fend for yourself. Could you become the

Lately, I’ve been up till the crack of down reading all kinds of stuff about the pre-war era. Of course, if you’re a history buff yourself, then you must know that they didn’t call the roaring ‘30s depressive for anything.

The 1929 Wall Street stock crash not only left half of America destitute but also encouraged people to find other means to earn a living, some of them not what you might call “legal.” Yup, this is the era of John Dillinger, moonshine, and gangsters.

Though most of the people that outlasted the Great Depression are mostly gone now, some of them left behind some awesome testimonies about their lives and, of course, how they’ve managed to make it through one of the worst financial disasters in modern history.

They say the measure of a man is given not by what he shows to the world, but by to what extent he’s willing (or destined) to go in order to ensure that he and his beloved ones are safe, well-fed, and laughing like there’s no tomorrow; love you grandma, for all your wisdom-laden tidbits.

Anyway, if it’s one thing the Great Depression has taught us is that, sometimes, less is better than having it all. Why moonshinin’ in the Big Shouldered City you ask? Because most of the stuff I’m going to talk about in today’s article came from K., a 60-year-old vet and active member of our community.

As K. was taken aback by our way of handling things, he was kind enough to share with us some insight into the art of making-do-with-what-you-have and not asking for more. So, here’s what I learned from the Great Depression.

How Carelessness and Absent-mindedness could get you into lots of trouble

In today’s world, nobody’s gonna bat an eye if you say that you’re going out into the city to have a cold one with your boys (maybe your wife or girlfriend, but that’s an entirely different story).

Anyway, back in the roaring ‘30s, saying out loud that you had a pint of beer with your co-worker could have very well landed you in jail since there was a country-wide prohibition on booze. Of course, that didn’t stop every Tom, Dick, and Harry from stashing a bottle of liqueur in place from prying eyes (a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do).

Still, as the saying goes, a slip of the lip could sink the ship, and those who got too enthusiastic about their late-night jocularities would have easily ended up making gravel at Leavenworth. The same thing went about anything pertaining to anything washed ashore by the Eastern (and red) Tide if you know what I mean.

Anyway, history lesson aside, times may have changed, but some things stayed the same: knowing when to keep that trapper shut. Even though the era of federal bans has passed, there are touchy-touchy subjects which can get you into a lot of hot water. You heard about them on the news or on the Internet. What’s this have to do with the Great Depression?

Simple – living with less doesn’t entice stupidity or absent-mindedness. When everybody’s nerves are more tensed than a piano string, any little thing can make them break. That translates into anything from verbal violence to pay a visit to your emergency room. So, act smart, think smart, and, as mom used to say, don’t spew out the first thing that comes to mind.

Budgeting used to be a serious commitment

The irony, man! We have all these gadgets and applications and computer programs, and we’re still living paycheck to paycheck. Where did we go wrong? If it’s one thing youngsters should learn from their grandparents is how to do their budgets. Back then, there were no computers, smartphones or whatever.

Everything was done with pen and paper. Sure, if you counted yourself among the lucky ones, you could have gotten yourself one of those lever-actioned tax calculators which made the job easier. Still, for most families, paycheck day meant burning the midnight oil to figure out how that money should be spent.

And they weren’t kidding – even the most basic budget journal was split into various categories such as food, water, utilities, and unforeseen expenditures (hospital bills, birthday parties, funerals, births).

Of course, with times being so rough, our grandparents had no choice but to stick to the budgeting journal. Can’t say if that’s a little too extreme or the sensible thing to do.

Still, when all your friends post pictures from their abroad summer vacation, and you’re stuck visiting the local amusement park because you’ve burned through all your saving, the idea of keeping a budget journal doesn’t sound that bad. The choice is yours: either download a smartphone application (I like Mint.com because it allows you to create as many categories as you like) or stick to pen and paper.

Oh, and another thing: budgeting envelopes. See, each time a family member cashed his paycheck, a small amount went into these envelopes which had a clear destination – my grandma made three: one for the mortgage, and two others for electricity and gas.

That old is better than new

Money was kind of an issue during the Great Depression. Apart from the fact that thousands of people were fired each day, those still employed earned next to nothing. Perhaps to some of you, the idea of a father laughing like a raving maniac because he managed to put aside to buy a new doll for his daughter may sound bizarre, but the truth of the matter is that things were very expensive.

That’s why most families preferred yard sales or bartering over shops and supermarkets. And yes, if you had a great neighbor, you could’ve struck a bargain – mowing his lawn in exchange for one or two bucks or trading veggies from your garden for some of his home-made products (my gran’s neighbor used to make Bavarian-style sausages and soft cheese).

That self-reliance was not a choice

Probably every prepping article and book talk about self-reliance. Of course, it’s easy to spew out a couple of words about why it’s important to be more independent, more of a you-person. Can’t say that I entirely disagree with that statement.

My only beef with this kind of speech is that no one tells how hard it really is. Sure, it’s neat to have your own farm or veggie garden or hunting cabin, but what about getting to the part where you have to put your shoulder to the wheel?

Anyone with a little bit of cash can buy a patch of dirt and raise a small cabin, but how about learning about how to do things around the house like splitting logs, cooking, tending to the garden or making repairs? Self-sufficiency is harder than one realizes, but there’s a bright side to all of this: for us, Walden-ing (that’s what I like to call self-reliance) is a choice. For our grandparents, it was not.

Just try to imagine how hard it must have been for a housewife to hold the fort down until her husband got back from work – sewing, washing, cleaning, helping the kids with the homework, and the list goes on. They had to learn stuff on the go. Otherwise, everything would have crumbled down.

This is the very reason why mail courses became so popular back then. Sure, some of them were made just for the purpose of parting a fool with his money, but most were very instructive. For instance, my grandfather learned how to fix many electrical appliances after taking a three-month course by mail. They weren’t cheap, mind you, but it was money well-spent, unlike the other crap I see in my spam folder.

Becoming a freelancer is not a millennial thing

When you think about freelancer, you picture this guy with big glasses writing stuff on Apple laptop while sipping a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. The truth is that freelancing is older than most of us realize. Obviously, it was not always called that.

My grandma used to name this ‘doing the stuff that earns you an extra penny without having to toil from 9-to-5’. Since money was scarce during the Great Depression, people used to take on extra jobs or gigs in order to supplement their monthly earnings. For instance, some housewives would offer tailoring service below the market price. Other would bake or cook for big parties.

And, of course, you always could have earned extra dough by lending a hand to your neighbor. Call it what you like, but freelancing’s been around since the dawn of time. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but do keep in mind that having a side-gig is one of the most important prepping lessons.

Bottom Line

As Tom Brokaw used to say “the greatest generation was formed first by the Great Depression. They shared everything: meals, jobs, clothing.” It’s indeed something with a very powerful spiritual and visual impact – a history lesson that teaches us that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. What today brings can be gone by tomorrow’s light.

See, this era wasn’t called like that for anything. Sure, it wasn’t depression in a clinical sense, more like a time of great uneasiness and numbness. Come to think of it, this kind of resembles today’s world, especially the being numb part – yes, we have become absent-minded and boorishly reliant on things that can one day vanish.

An EMP strike could make every piece of technology vamoose, and a plague could wipe the entire human population in a matter of days. For this, and more, we turn to our ancestors for help. If you know someone like this, go and chat with him or her. You’ll never hear greater advice than from someone who was tried by life in every conceivable way. With this, I’m off to doing some tinkering in my backyard, and I’ll see you in the next article.

The 1929 Wall Street stock crash not only left half of America destitute but also encouraged people to find other means to earn a living, some of them not what