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Raising chickens is a relatively low-cost and trouble free way to provide fresh eggs or meat for your family. Right now when everything is fine they not only provide more nutritious and flavorful eggs for my home, but they are cheaper than store bought eggs as well. Should some disaster strike we would be able to rely on them for a source of food that with some attention and care could even be self-sustaining. I would just need to speak to the guy with the Rooster down the road and arrange some form of barter.

The trouble free aspect of this is less of a hard and fast rule and more of a guideline. I say this because on most days you really don’t have to fuss with the chickens at all. We have feeders that hold enough food to last for about three days. I have built an automatic chicken waterer that holds 5 gallons of water for them and this lasts at least a week even in hot weather. We have nine chickens now but only 5 of laying maturity and my normal routine is to simply go out to the coop and gather up fresh eggs.

About the only place we run into any kind of maintenance outside of cleaning the coop once a week and the regular feeding and watering is what I like to call escapee patrol. Our coop is completely contained with a 12 foot run surrounded by chicken wire on all sides. I have a door from the chicken coop to our garden though so when that door is open the chickens also have free range of the garden which is only secured by a four foot high fence. We have one chicken that flies over this four foot fence almost daily. I have taken to calling her Ginger from the lead character in the movie Chicken Run about a hen that tries unceasingly to escape from her own coop.

Ginger isn’t concerned with running away obviously as she never really leaves our yard. She keeps relatively close to her sisters on the other side of the fence, but she can’t stand to be trapped in there apparently. This wouldn’t really be a problem if she would just fly her white butt back into the garden every night but that is one trick she does not seem to want to perform. If I am here, around dark she will start pacing back and forth waiting to get inside the coop again. I walk out there and she runs up to greet me like I am her savior and as I let her back in the coop I imagine the other hens mocking her for trying to escape every day and never going anywhere.

When I haven’t been home, Ginger will some nights choose to escape the ground into a nearby Cherry tree that we have. I have pulled her out of that tree a few times too and I would really rather just not have to deal with her exploits anymore. I know her egg production is off and can’t imagine where she might be laying eggs when she is out all day. It certainly isn’t in our coop.

It was because of Ginger that I started to research how to clip the wings of your chicken for ideas and found that the process is very simple. Clipping the wings on your chicken simply prevents them from flying over the garden fence but they do grow back eventually. We have to do the same for the indoor bird too so it was my turn to experiment with trimming the wings on our chickens.

The process

The process is simple and I was able to find a video online that shows just how easy it is from . You basically just need a pair of sharp scissors to perform the wing trimming.

Step 1 – Get the chicken obviously. I don’t know if I would ever be able to capture Ginger unless I got her into a corner, but she does have a weakness for Mealworms. All I need to do is shake the container of Mealworms and she will come back into the coop as soon as I open the door.

Step 2- Fan out the Wing – You are going to want to cut the 10 primary flight feathers only and at a point below the major coverts that are closest to their body. The video below will show you clearly what to cut. Some people recommend only cutting a third of the primary wings, but this would seem to give you less time on the ground for your hen. I would prefer to cut them as far back as is healthy for the bird but still guarantees they wont be able to fly. Additionally, some people argue for cutting both wings while others maintain that only cutting one is sufficient. I am going to try just one wing to see how that goes.

That’s it! Simple process that should keep Ginger grounded for several months at a minimum and back in the coop laying eggs where she is safer and more productive for us. What chicken stories or advice do you have?


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Raising chickens is a relatively low-cost and trouble free way to provide fresh eggs or meat for your family. Right now when everything is fine they not only provide more

In the scenario where you and your family members would have to be able to rely on yourselves for a while or maybe even an indefinite time, first aid and home medical care should be among the skills you possess. That’s why making sure you acquire them should be among your key interests if you’re getting prepared for the worst that may come. No one is saying you should gain the skills of a neurosurgeon overnight, of course, but being able to craft up some home remedies and knowing a thing or two about what home care strategies to use for common ailments isn’t that hard. Luckily, the online community is ripe with advice and recipes for home remedies, so there are plenty of sources to learn from.

But while there’s an abundance of knowledge on what home remedies can be used for plenty of common health problems or injuries and such, not everyone learning about these things thinks about the needed tools too. If you read up on the various natural home remedies you can use for each type of common illness, you will see that some of them don’t really require much props besides a bandage, some massage and maybe a good night’s sleep.

We’re not going to go through all that here and now. Anyone can pretty much figure out how to massage a strained wrist or how to put a tight bandage over a light wound. The challenging part lies with crafting your own natural remedies out of plants and household ingredients. Most people only read up on this when they are already dealing with the issue. But since preppers always think things ahead and being ready for the down to earth practicalities of it all, you should also have a very clear image of the how-to involved, together with the tools and everyday household items needed for most of these natural cures. Here are our top picks, as well as the things you can use them for.

A Mortar and Pestle is excellent for grinding up herbs to be used in home remedies.

1. Mortar and pestle

This is the basic tool needed for crushing the plants or other medicine ingredients together into a form which is better absorbed by the human body. You will be able to use the mortar and pestle for a wide variety of cooking needs as well, not to mention the medical ones. If you make yourself a hefty supply of basic pills (like aspirin), you will be able to use the mortar and pestle for much more than natural remedies. For example, crushing some aspirin into a fine powder and applying it onto a bandage before putting it on a wound can greatly speed up the healing.

Related Content: Medicine to stock up on for when there is no doctor around

2. Salt and Vinegar

Salt and vinegar are substances you’d better stock up on as well. You can use them as carriers for a wide variety of natural extracts (which you craft using the mortar and pestle mentioned above, together with alcohol and bottles, as we’ll explain below). Salt can also be used for disinfecting areas in your house, killing flea eggs and thus keeping infestation at bay, (or even disinfecting small infected areas of your skin, like a nasty itch or a flaky scalp, in the absence of fancy shampoos).

Vinegar is also a good carrier for plant extracts, and can be used for good old fashion rubs (when dealing with a bad flu) as well. You can also help keep household items free of rust by treating them with vinegar (and oil).

3. Alcohol

After crushing the plant parts you need for crafting up a particular remedy, you need to put them to macerate in alcohol so that the liquid extracts and preserves the beneficial substances into a cure you can effectively use. Not to mention the other things alcohol is good for, from disinfecting wounds to sterilizing tools you will need for sewing up a medium cut and so on. As unpleasant as the thought may be now, you will be content to know everything there is to know if the situation should ever arise.

4. Brown glass bottles and vials

Those plant extracts you can use as natural remedies, crafted with the help of the mortar and pestle and alcohol, need to be stored somewhere. Glass vials and small glass bottles are your best bet, even if they tend to be fragile when hauled around. When preparing for any bad times which may come, choose recipients made out of brown glass (also called amber glass), since it protects the content from direct sunlight, which can damage the precious plant extracts inside and make them less effective.

5. Oils

Oils are also one of the best carriers for substances you extract for home remedies. Not only that they are able to preserve the active substance well, but they also are ideal for carrying them inside your body (through rubs). You can even add a few drops to your food whenever you feel sick and want to use the matching remedy if you previously crafted it (if the base oil you used is edible). So stock up on vials and some canola or olive oil before reading up on what remedies you can make like this.

6. Sugar

Sugar has plenty of uses besides its culinary ones: it can be used for scrubbing away dirt and harmful substances, and if you add a few drops of a plant-based home remedy to it you can also use it as a cure. Sugar can be used either externally (as a scrub infused with natural medicine, especially effective for skin irritations or funguses), or internally, to make certain bitter remedies more palatable (especially if there are kids in your family too).

7. Pocket knife

You will need the knife for several kinds of survival tactics, as any prepper is already well-aware, but you will also need it to carefully cut away the parts of plants you will use for home remedies. A smaller knife brings more precision to this task, which is why a pocket knife is the best fit, as long as it’s properly sharpened up. You will also use the knife for cutting up bandages, gently scraping up some solid substances you may need for the remedies, and so on.

8. Two stove kettles (one smaller and a good fit on top of the bigger one)

Finally, if you really want to do a good job with improvising natural medical remedies, you should have two small-ish kettles that you can use over a campfire as well as a stove and the likes. One of them should be smaller than the other one, so it can be placed over the larger (medium-sized) one. The procedure is similar to a bain-marie from cooking. The idea is that in the smaller stove some delicate substances extracted from plants should be cooked together for a cure at a smaller temperature than by using direct heat. Hence, the medium kettle will be filled with simmering water to distribute a more delicate and constant heat to the smaller one. Quite ingenious. This last technique is pretty advanced, but don’t worry, most natural home remedies you can make and use don’t require anything that complicated.


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In the scenario where you and your family members would have to be able to rely on yourselves for a while or maybe even an indefinite time, first aid and

There are few things more likely to start a fight than the discussion of firearms and more specifically, what the best options for a defensive weapon are if you are just starting your emergency preparations. There are entire survival forums on this subject alone and if you want opinions, there are lots of places to find them. Similar to the conversation regarding Bugging Out Vs. Hunkering down, there are a lot of options, opinions and reasons why you should or should not do one or the other given by everyone.

Speaking of opinions, I have my own on the subject of the best weapon you can buy and I will share it now along my rationale for having said opinion and I welcome anyone to comment if you agree or if you disagree. One of the purposes of this prepper website is to provide information and if we have to settle some of this in the comments, that’s fine by me.

To frame the case for my belief on this subject a little more clearly, I will throw out the disclaimer that when I make this recommendation I am speaking to people who do not have any other firearms currently. If you are realizing just now that you may need a firearm for home defense and are looking for the best weapon to purchase first, this post is intended for you.

For the person who has nothing, I am going to go out on a limb now and describe what I think the best weapon you can purchase “right now” for a lot of various factors. The factors for deciding this weapon are based upon current events and the political climate to no small degree.

To cut to the quick, I will say that if you don’t buy any other weapon, a 12 gauge shotgun is the absolute best option you have right now. I honestly believe that when all else is considered, it is the best gun for home defense. Let the cussing begin! Why do I say a shotgun and not a pistol or machete or AR or AK? I’m glad you asked!

Cost

A 12 gauge shotgun is about the cheapest gun you can buy when you consider that most handguns now are selling for over $500 unless you buy a .380 concealed carry. Can you spend $3500 on a fancy shotgun that will be a collector’s piece? Of course you can but that isn’t what I am talking about. If you have a ton of money you would obviously not stop here, but for the average person trying to make wise decisions with their finances, a shotgun is practical and affordable for most of you out there.

Cleaning supplies are an important consideration for SHTF.

When people start looking for a defensive or tactical shotgun the focus turns to 2 main models, Remington and Mossberg. The Remington 870 is a legend and is the standard issue shotgun for a lot of police departments and armed forces. That alone drives the cost up. Adding all sorts of cool hardware like Picatinny rails, fore grips and pistol grips run the cost up too. You don’t need all of that stuff. Not now anyway. You need something to protect your family and the nice Benelli semi-auto isn’t called for here either.

I recommend buying a used shotgun that you don’t pay more than $300 for. Go to your local gun show and you will find lots of options. If you are looking in the right place you can get a new Mossberg for less than $200 but with each passing day that gets harder and harder. Is the Mossberg any good? Yes they are. Is it better and more reliable than a Remington 870? I don’t know. Here is what I do know though and that is if you do not have anything, you will wish you had something, even an old Mossberg when the Zombies or bad guys start coming in the front door.

If you are curious, there are lots of reviews on YouTube comparing the two and you can make your own mind up. There is an entire review comparing the Mossberg 590A, the Remington 870 and the Winchester 1300 defender by Nutnfancy that I highly recommend for its thoroughness. Either one is going to work just fine for you and you might find another model entirely. The brand isn’t the point so much as the type of weapon.

Availability

This is an easier one to deal with. Unless you have been living underground in your own doomsday bunker, you know that guns and ammo are flying off the shelves. If you were waiting to purchase an AR, you will have a while to wait if you are lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you might be SOL on the AR front. Shotguns however do not have the attention of the gun grabbers yet and they are still available. This availability results in cheaper prices as mentioned above. You can still go into your local sporting goods store an easily find a shotgun. You can’t say the same for an AR.

Ease of purchase

Shotguns or long guns generally don’t have the ridiculous licensing requirements that purchasing a handgun does. After a quick call and some paperwork, (provided you have a clean background) you can walk out with your very own 12 gauge piece of mind to add to your security preparations. You can go on your lunch hour and bring a brand new present home to your spouse after work. It’s better than flowers!

Availability of ammo

Just a quick check online finds plenty of ammo for the 12 gauge. You can’t say that for most common pistol calibers especially with the DHS purchasing 1.6 billion rounds for their own use. Another plus is there is a pretty wide variety of ammunition you can use in most shotguns. Most shotguns accept either 2 ¾ inch or 3 inch shells. Some, like my particular Mossberg model accept both. You then have Buckshot which is the most deadly, Slug, steel shot, bird shot, turkey or varmint loads and target loads. So many choices, so little time!

You can easily buy a few boxes and have plenty of security for most any scenario. Now, in a total grid-down, end of the world apocalypse you will wish you have millions of rounds stored up, but we have to start somewhere. I like to buy a box of each caliber that I have (when I can) whenever I go to a sporting goods store and keep it locked away.

Usefulness

A 12 gauge shotgun is one of the most versatile weapons you can have if the SHTF. You can of course use this as your defensive weapon and you can hunt small and even large game with it. A 12 gauge with bird shot is good for most small critters or birds but you want to be careful you don’t blow them to pieces.  Throw some buckshot in there and you can go after the lone doe after all of the other deer are gone. A .22 is similarly good at plinking and shooting small game, but I wouldn’t want to face down a gang of intruders with a .22.

Accuracy

One good thing about shotguns from the perspective of someone defending their home is that you don’t have to be as accurate as you do with a handgun. A shotgun has a nice blast pattern that will hit anyone in the general direction down range to a certain extent. The flip side is that a shotgun is not generally relied on for its accuracy or range. This is a close quarters type of defensive weapon so you won’t be picking off the bad guys at 100 yards with this. When the Mutant Zombie Motorcycle gang rolls into your town, they will need to get a little closer before you can take them out, but that is for a different post. Another consideration since we are discussing accuracy is that you have to practice common sense. If someone is in your house and you shoot a shotgun, those rounds will go through sheet-rock walls and could hit someone on the other side. This is no different from just about any other type of common round though.

Ease of Use

A good shotgun is pretty simple; point and shoot. In some cases, the wracking part to get another round into the chamber takes a little practice. You want to make sure you don’t eject the good shell you had in the chamber so it isn’t perfect, but with practice this can be minimized. Most people will recommend a 20 gauge for a woman because they kick less but I guarantee you that your wife won’t mind the kick at all if someone is coming after her and she is forced to fire. A shotgun is easily handled by a woman and has less moving pieces to remember when you are stressed. That goes for guys too. Just the simple act of racking the shotgun and the unmistakable sound that causes may prevent you from having to use it in the first place.

So for all of those reasons, the 12 gauge is my hands down favorite for your first defensive weapon for the home. If you have more money, there is a few other items I would recommend for your survival battery of arms, but I will save that for later too.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the best weapon for the person who has nothing.


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There are few things more likely to start a fight than the discussion of firearms and more specifically, what the best options for a defensive weapon are if you are

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped?

The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well.

Chickens will typically lay one egg or less during a day and that will decrease with age. Their egg-laying years will typically last for 2-3 years.

If you are experiencing a low yield of eggs from your chickens, check out these tips below to see what you can do to help them lay more eggs.

Quality Feed
You don’t have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that’s guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It’s recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, mealworms and other healthy treats. If you’re going to change your chicken’s feed, do it gradually substituting it in slowly.

Clean Nests Boxes
One of the most important factors in helping chickens lay eggs is a clean nesting box area with comfortable bedding. You can also make a soft surface with recycled-newspaper pellets which also are easy to toss and replace.

Open Areas
The idea behind free-range chickens is that if they are more comfortable, they will produce more healthy eggs. While free-range chickens might not be a possibility for some urban homesteaders, it’s a great idea to have a larger area with enough area for the chickens to graze on a lawn while still being protected from hawks or other predators.

Calcium
Egg-laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body. Be sure to provide them enough calcium in their diet to keep a steady flow of eggs. Besides a high-quality feed, you might consider mixing crushed oyster shells in a cup of feed. Or even placing a cup of oyster shells in the coop for the chickens to eat when they need it.

 

Inspect Regularly
Try to handle your hens often checking for problems. If they have large cuts, broken bones, etc. it will give you a better idea of how you can help. Are they uncomfortable? Have they been pestered by predators? Handling your hens on a regular basis will help you know how to best help them.

Coop Security
Along with the previous point, make sure your coop is secure from predators. Make sure that animals like raccoons, cats, and other animals can’t burrow or find their way into the coop.

Fresh Water
To stay healthy, chickens need constant access to water. Change the water every day. It might be a chore to do it every day but it will lead to healthier chickens who will lay more eggs.

Parasite Control
Parasites love to prey on chickens. Mites are the most common and can take control of your coop without you even realizing it. Make it a habit to inspect your chickens at night when mites are most active. Mites are a small, reddish-brown insect that scurries around a chicken’s head. If you do have a mite infestation, use a dose of ivermectin (available from a veterinarian) for each chicken.

What Have You Found?
How have you helped your chickens lay more eggs? Comment below to help us know what we can do to make our chickens more productive.


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If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d

There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you need to do personally, it usually begins a search on what you need to be prepared. This searching can lead to checklists of prepping supplies which can provide guidance or a place to start but in reality; the process is different for each person. The answer to the question of what you need to do in order to get prepared isn’t something that anyone else can answer for you and in the end, is almost wholly dependent on what happens and where you are when “it” happens to you.

I have often sat down and compiled lists of things I need to accomplish in the main areas I focus on with prepping. My very first list had dozens of items and now, since I have been prepping for a little over 8 years, my lists aren’t quite as expansive. I have been acquiring the needed supplies and making preparations so that I don’t need as much as I thought I needed in the beginning. One thing I have learned though is my list overall still contains the exact items I thought I would need back in 2007, just the quantities of what is left to do have gone down.


The concept of making lists again made me think of the question I have asked before of myself. Are you prepared enough for what you think is coming down the road? Have I made the best plans you could have made knowing what I know? Have I made the right fiscal decisions to put me in the most advantageous position should the economy collapse? Have I shared enough information with my family and in my own small way, the rest of the world? Have I done enough? Am I prepared?

Are you prepared enough?

How much preparation can anyone do that we could consider the level of those same preparations to be sufficient? I have stated before that prepping is a journey, not a destination and I still subscribe to that theory, but depending on the situation; I could have more than I needed. What if there was a regional storm that caused minor flooding in my town and the utilities were out as well as roads for a month. Would I have enough supplies to last? Yes, I certainly would.

What if there was a crisis that lasted two years? Would I have enough?

Getting back to how much you need, it all comes down to what the emergency is, what your situation is at the time and how other influences impact you after the crisis begins. You could have enough food to last you for a year, but add in 6 family members who you take in and that amount of time could go down to 2 months. You might not have enough in your eyes, but the hungry family might think you are prepared enough. What if you have 2 years’ worth of food stored safely in your basement but you are away on vacation and a tornado rips right through your town and sucks everything you have been working on up into the air?

We can make as many plans as we want but if something happens outside of our plans we will have to adjust. Thinking that you have the answers to all of the different scenarios posed in your head is well and good, but you should account for contingencies. More importantly, you have to face the reality that you might walk into TEOTWAWKI with nothing but the shirt on your back.

You are asking yourself the wrong question

You can inventory all of your prepping supplies and make lists; I do it too. I use these lists to gauge what I have left to accomplish in my mind. I check items off so that my imaginary supply room of everything I need, will be filled with precisely what I think will be the minimum necessary but I try not to ever think I have enough. Does this mean I am stocking supplies up as much as possible? Does this mean I keep buying ammo or food or weapons until I have no money left? No and I think if you are looking to reach some level where you can say, “I think I have enough to last…” you might be looking at this the wrong way.

There is a danger in thinking that there is ultimate security in your supplies. Why do I say that? For one thing, your supplies can be taken away from you. Your supplies will eventually go bad if left unused or in the right conditions. Your supplies, if you have to rely on them will eventually dissipate down to nothing. Having a 6-month supply of food or a few thousand rounds of ammo and some gasoline stored doesn’t mean I am any better prepared than the neighbor down the street when the time comes. It does certainly mean I have put some thought into this that the average bear might not have considered, but does that make me better prepared?

When my family asks me questions like, how much food do I have or basically, how long could we live on what we have stored, I have to guess. Sure, I know roughly how much food is stored and I have calculated how long we could eat on that food but I don’t consider myself prepared really. I am looking at this as a stop-gap measure. Could my preparations buy me and my family some time? Yes, very possibly we could be sitting pretty while others go hungry, at least for some time. Does that mean I am prepared enough? Not hardly.

Prepping isn’t about storing up supplies and quietly riding out Armageddon from the comfort of your easy chair, happily eating your MRE’s and enjoying reruns of the office on your Solar Powered DVD player. The steps you are taking today might not be enough for the disaster you face. Are they better than nothing? Absolutely, but don’t become complacent and cross the last item off your list and sit back and wait. Prepping should be constant movement, preparation, consideration of your environment and the world around us and you have to reevaluate what is happening all of the time. We shouldn’t think we know what is coming, even though we can prepare for certain scenarios.

When you start asking yourself the question of are you prepared enough, the answer is it really depends on what you are forced to go through. Looking back after you have made it through alive is the only way to answer that question. Making it through alive should be what we are striving for.


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There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you

In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or even general instances is a worthy goal, but once you get beyond the basics of survival what else is needed? The basics of survival are food, water, shelter and security and we lay out a lot of ideas and recommendations for how to cover those four bases in our how to start prepping article. But does that advice make sense for you in your situation when someone asks you the question what are you prepping for? In some cases, are the basics really basic? What constitutes a disaster to you and is there only one path to becoming “prepared” for anyone and everyone?

What are you prepping for?

There are some really great prepping checklists out there and the general idea is that you can print out these lists of items to purchase or gather together and when you have completely checked off everything on the checklist, you will be all set. It’s so simple when you look at it this way, but the problem or at least something to consider with any checklist is how it pertains to you and your situation. Does this checklist make sense and more importantly, will it help you get prepared for what you think is coming down the road?

I think the answer could be no in certain situations and that is what I wanted to discuss today. Just because you have a list of survival items, it doesn’t mean that you will survive. Having gear doesn’t guarantee you will make it through anything better than anyone else, but they can be useful tools that could assist you in a survival scenario. I could have all the mountain climbing gear that the professionals own and still not possess the skills to make it up or down a mountain if I had to rely on the gear I didn’t know how to use. Could I use the rope somehow to help me down a sheer face? Possibly, but is getting that type of gear going to help me in my home in suburbia?

I think before you start compiling lists of items and wearing out your credit card on Amazon.com or the local camping store it is important to frame your efforts by getting a general picture of your end destination prior to jumping in and going in directions that might not help you get there in the fastest way. Before you start gathering a ton of gear for your bug out bag, ask yourself the question, what am I prepping for? Doomsday preppers does this every week and they let the preppers state what they are preparing for. You will hear in their own words everything from super tornadoes to massive earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear war, economic collapse, government tyranny, global pandemic and dozens of others. These preppers have all put a figurative face on what it is they are preparing for and they can state what that is.

It’s important to have something you can visualize I believe because every decision after that can be viewed from the standpoint of is this going to help me prepare for X. Is this box of MRE’s going to help me prepare for an EMP attack from North Korea? Will this shotgun protect me from a super volcano? Will these heirloom seeds protect me from an earthquake? You aren’t limited to one thing either and for a lot of us, we see a few different scenarios that could happen and we prepare accordingly for both. Knowing what you are preparing for will help you identify what you need to do and putting these into a priority order will assist you when you ask yourself the next question of what to do first. The priority is up to you based upon what you know.

What will you need to be able to survive that threat?

After you know what it is you are prepping for, the next step is to make those lists that will help you cope with whatever disaster you are envisioning. If you could lay out everything you think you need on the floor to deal with that disaster you identified above, what would that list of items be? I will say that the four basics of Food, Water, Shelter and Security would be at the top of any list for the simple reason that you have to have all of those to live. You must have food or you will die in three weeks. You must have clean water or you will die in three days and you must have shelter from the elements or you could die in three hours. Those are pretty universal and should be at the top of anyone’s prepper list of supplies if you plan on any disaster that will prevent you from easily accessing these items for some duration.


I include security in my 4 basics because history shows again and again that in bad times, bad people will do bad things. Even some good people will do bad things out of desperation. I don’t want to have to defend my home with a can of green beans so I have firearms to protect my family.

But what else? The other items on your list begin after you have taken care of the basics. What does your disaster scenario tell you about your preps? What are the gaps between what you have and what you believe you need to survive a disaster?

Inventory what you currently have

When people ask me how to start prepping, there are a lot of things you could potentially need to take care of but in most cases, you already have some supplies.

One of the misconceptions about being a prepper is that the first thing you need to do is run out and get some camouflage pants and buy a gas mask, hop on your 4-wheeler and go tearing through the woods. Leave that to the people who are on Doomsday Preppers. The average family doesn’t do anything like that but again it goes back to what you are prepping for and if those camo pants or that gas mask could help you with your envisioned disaster. Let’s say you are prepping for something that happens every year in every state and that is a temporary loss of electrical power due to storms. What items would you need to deal with a blackout? What items on your lists do you already have and what do you need to consider acquiring?


For starters you should consider light. Most people already have flashlights, some may have lanterns and almost everyone can scrounge up a candle from somewhere. Do you have any way to prepare the food you have stored? Can you cook if the power has gone out? What about backup power? Do you have a generator or solar panels and batteries? Do you have a car? If so, an easy way to provide power in a blackout is to run an inverter off your car into your home. This will give you enough juice to power small electronics and charge things like cell phones and laptops. The only thing you would need really is the inverter and plenty of fuel that has been stored properly to run your car. For my lists, I write down everything I have as well as everything I need so that all items can be considered as part of my plan. This way I can identify where I have some redundancy built in.

Who are you prepping for?

Many of you are prepping for families and most of the items you would need to consider for any type of disaster could benefit everyone in your home, but there are some items you will need to be specific about. Do you have small children who are still in diapers or are drinking formula? Do you have pets that will need to be fed if the disaster prevents you from making it out to the store? What about taking your pets with you during a disaster? Do you have elderly relatives that may need to stay with you? Does anyone have medications that need to be kept cool? Do you have enough of these medications to last the duration of the disaster?


One thing I have tried to balance is my family’s needs versus their fashion sense. In my family, I am the only guy so it isn’t easy getting the women in my life to buy rugged 5.11 tactical pants. I can’t convince them that their trendy footwear is all but worthless and they should buy more substantial shoes that could actually last if we had to walk a hundred miles. I already know that any thoughts of us bugging out into the woods would not go as smoothly as I hope, even if I thought that was a good idea. The amount of gear they can handle, the intensity of work they might be asked to do and their general morale needs have to be considered in a disaster or else you could have meltdowns when you are already stressed to the breaking point. If you are planning to survive, you have to plan for everyone’s needs and their limitations as well. This will further help you know what you need to focus on and what should get priority.

What skills do you have to survive?

Thinking about your disaster that you are planning for, visualize what life will be like in the immediate aftermath. What situations can you see happening to your family that you would be relied upon to deal with since you are the one who was ‘into prepping’ in the first place. Could you offer basic first aid? Do you know how to properly use the firearms you want to purchase? Do you already have a garden for those heirloom seeds? Do you know how to address sanitation issues and keep your family healthy so that an easily preventable bug doesn’t kill them?

In our society that has everything functioning, we stopped worrying about all the things we used to worry about. Clean (relatively) water comes out of the tap and washes our waste away never to be seen again. We have washers and driers to get our clothes clean and dishwashers to clean our dishes. Warm showers keep us clean and if we get injured we have ambulances and hospitals. What if you take all of that away?


Skills in living without the conveniences of life might trump knowing how to start a fire with a fire plough if you have plenty of lighters. You might need to figure out how to take care of everyone’s bathroom needs sooner than you think so don’t assume you need to be a ninja medic and that’s it. Survival isn’t always Rambo running through the woods of Washington state making booby traps. Survival is the small but important things too and knowing how to deal with number 2 might be more practical to know than how to make a booby trap.

How long?

Lastly, once I have all the supplies listed that I think I need, start adding time to the duration. Are you planning for a power outage that lasts 3 days? What if it lasted 3 weeks? We have had that before with winter storms so it is certainly possible. That global pandemic? What if you had to stay in your home for 6 months? How would that affect your supplies?

You can start off small and cover the basics and build as you go. As you build out your supplies, you should be able to weather longer durations of the disaster. How long do you plan for? That is really up to you and your resources. FEMA recommends being able to live in your home for 3 days. I think a wiser goal that should account for 98% of all events would be more like 6 months. Do your supplies allow you to do this?

Hopefully this helps any of you who are trying to formulate a disaster plan. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know in the comment below and good luck!


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In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term Prepper. Regardless of what I think though these two terms are interchangeably used to describe a wide swath of people. These people all have different motivations and philosophies on what they are doing and why. Survivalists and Prepper are just labels. Labels like this though can pigeon-hole people into thinking they need to act a certain way or it can cause assumptions from others based upon their own perceptions of what these words mean.

How are Survivalists and Preppers alike?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. What do people who call themselves Survivalists have in common with a Prepper? I think at their core, Survivalists, and Preppers both have a deep desire to live. This is not a fear of dying but rather a strong yearning to live life on their own terms. You will find tenacity in both Preppers and Survivalists to try to see the options they have before them. If you give up easily or become defeated too quickly you probably don’t deserve to call yourself a member of either team just yet.

Both Survivalists and Preppers like to prepare for unforeseen events, but I do believe Survivalists have a slightly more cavalier attitude about their chances for survival. Survivalists may give more weight to learning how to forage in the woods and eat grubs while their Prepper cousins might be more comfortable storing food to last as long as possible or creating a garden with heirloom seeds. The grub worms and fiddle-head fern salads can wait as long as possible, thank you.

Along with the desire to live I think Preppers and Survivalists both have a positive mental attitude towards overcoming obstacles when it comes to survival. They both hold a belief that with the right training, mental outlook and circumstances, no situation is ever more than they can bear. I have spoken to a lot of people who seem to want to shut down in the face of adversity or impending doom. Their response to my questions about prepping are usually something like “well we are all gonna die anyway, so what’s the point?” and this is 180 degrees from how I think we as humans should be.

What if the early settlers of our country just said, “I quit.”? They faced starvation, disease, death on a daily basis and still managed to carve a country out of the wilderness with zero government assistance, WIC vouchers, National Healthcare, MRE’s, GPS, Bug Out vehicles or smartphones. Do you think they had a desire to live and a positive mental attitude? We come from those same people who braved the elements, sailed across seas for months and landed in a foreign land with not much more than the clothes on their backs. They were the original Survivalists and Preppers and their blood runs through our veins.

How are they different?

As I said above, I think these terms get used interchangeably all of the time and in certain context, the meaning may be blurred. For instance, there are a lot of websites that have Survival in the name that I look up to and respect greatly. They offer a ton of useful information on Survival, and I have linked to several of them on our resources page. I am not referring to the word Survival here because I think we all want to survive something.

When I speak of “Survivalists” with a capital S I am referring to people who will label themselves as such. I think Survivalists lean more toward the ideal that Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have promoted with their respective TV shows showing how they both can survive in the wilderness on all manner of strange tricks and skills that the normal person would never be in a place to use. I think some Survivalists see themselves as being deserted in a jungle somewhere with only a rusty coke can and a bandana to survive. Now, if this happens to you, would all of those Bear Grylls skills come in handy? Absolutely, but to base your entire understanding of the possibilities of what this life can throw at you on a couple of reality shows seems to miss the point to me.

To quote our current President, “Now, let me be clear” I love watching Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and other shows I can’t remember. Those shows do pass along knowledge that you can use and this applies just as much to the suburban prepper as it does to the Survivalist. I just prefer to take that knowledge and try to apply it to a different potential reality.

Preppers, on the other hand, do not seem to have most of the same scenarios in mind when they are preparing for an uncertain future. Preppers typically have one or more situations they view as inevitable and they make plans to mitigate the bad effects you could be faced with in that situation. For example, if a Prepper lived in Tornado alley, they would rightfully be concerned and their preps would almost certainly start with safety should a Tornado strike. They could go one past that and plan for survival after the tornado with food, water and shelter options that could help them and their neighbors in the days and weeks after any type of natural disaster like that.

Preppers also do not seem to make plans with only themselves involved. Preppers like to form groups and communities and try to get others involved, engaged and on-board when it is prudent to do so. I know there are survivalist groups as well, but they still seem to be more likely to want to be away from people before there is any actual need to.

Survivalists that I have run across definitely have a different way they present themselves when the subject of hypothetical grid-down scenarios are presented. I do get the sense that in some cases, they seem to have a “let them go to hell” mentality and I don’t think that is what Preppers would agree with on the surface. Now, I will freely admit that I haven’t met everyone, don’t know what is in anyone’s heart but mine and I could be very guilt of gross stereotyping here. If that is the case I apologize and I would love to hear your side in the comments below. I am not trying to pick a fight, just comparing and contrasting some people/themes based upon my observations.

Lastly, Preppers seem to be looking for a lifestyle change on top of their preparations. Eating more Organic food, living healthier lives, becoming more self-sufficient are common themes and this transcends any natural disaster. It shows a desire to have a better life and that is something I think we could all use.

Which one is best?

I don’t think it is as black and white as I have made it out to be in the paragraphs above. I certainly think that if the SHTF we would all be in for a huge reality check and there is no telling how we each might act. Who knows what type of situations we may be faced with and what will be necessary in order to live and keep our families safe. We might all end up being in the same boat, bashing each other over the head with the last broken oar. I hope not.

I like to identify with Preppers, but I do know that if faced with certain triggers, I might fall squarely into the Survivalist camp that I was painting with a broad brush a little earlier. I guess we are just two sides of the same coin, but we are both made of the same mettle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all.

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our bodies are going to be called into action that a lot of us aren’t used to, there will be more stress, less rest and more muscle strength required. Even if you are physically active now, the routine chores that you could find yourself doing will tax your muscles and stamina in a way that in the best case scenario will take some getting used to.

When finding food isn’t achieved by walking to the fridge or pulling around to the drive-thru and cleaning up involves a lot more than jumping in the shower, your body will need to adjust. That doesn’t even get into the possibilities of running for your life or defending yourself from violence. Now is the time to make sure that your survival fitness levels are as good as they can be.

Here is what every single survivalist should know about getting fit and staying strong before the apocalypse strikes.

Strength

You don’t need a fancy weight room or home gym to get stronger. You can improve your strength with nothing more than the items that you already have at home. Filling socks with grains or rice can make for weights. Cans of soup work just as well, too. Chopping wood also builds up your strength.

 

Even your bug out bag, which should have supplies like clothing, food, water and other necessary items like sunglasses and replaceable lenses, weapons and electronics, can come in handy for a home workout to improve your strength. Strap it on — don’t take anything out — and do your workout. This way you’re even more prepared for TEOTWAWKI since you’re training with your full pack.

Home workouts are just fine. But if you’re searching for something more intense, other workouts, like CrossFit, can challenge all of your muscle groups. In addition to challenging you physically, the group fitness program also challenges you mentally. Find a CrossFit box to join in your community and get fit with a like-minded community of fitness fanatics.

Stamina

You’re going to be counting on your endurance in any survival situation, and that goes for surviving the end of the world, too. Stamina gives you the necessary power to boost you through any physical activity at your peak. Stamina depends on a healthy, lean diet, regular fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Aerobic activities that work all of your muscles and get your heart pumping, like running or riding a bike, can help boost your endurance and should be done regularly. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that weight training also benefits stamina. Sleep is also crucial to building up your endurance.

Flexibility

Yoga isn’t just for green-juice-drinking hippies. It can make you stronger and more flexible. And believe it or not, these things can help you survive the world’s end. Yoga can help you develop a strong core, which gives you more power and control over your body, and it also improves your balance. If your body is flexible, you are going to be less likely to suffer from a pulled muscle when you’re out in the field. Yoga can even make you more agile.

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You don’t even have to leave your house to learn yoga, you just need an Internet connection. Man Flow Yoga has online classes that are structured just for men.

Speed

You’ve got to be able to outrun the enemy. And newsflash, you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re sitting idle on the couch. You need to start running. Do something that works for you. If you’re comfortable running for 30 minutes at a consistent pace, it’s time to do something that makes you faster. Add more mileage to your runs, but remember that you still need to take days off from your training.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One problem that everyone faced, but didn’t receive a lot of air time was the lack of drinking water.

National Geographic did not demonstrate any methods for obtaining water other than going to the store, or as in the case of the people trapped in the elevator and eventually the roof of a building, collecting some from a bucket that had been left in the rain. Since water is one of the most important elements for our survival I wanted to go over some methods of storing water and treating water that could help you in a disaster situation. You must have water if the grid goes down and you expect to live.

Read more: Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

If you find yourself without power as they did in American Blackout, food and water were their priorities. Safety and security weren’t big issues until people started living without food and water. The nice veneer of society will vanish in a few days max even if we are only living through a power outage. Can you imagine if there was sickness or a disease pandemic? Can you envision how chaotic a hurricane knocking your town into the ocean would be? The situation presented in American Blackout gave us a lot to learn I think, but as far as disaster goes, a power grid failure would not be anywhere near as severe as a lot of other possibilities.

Now, I am not try to trivialize the scenario at all. A national power grid failure would be catastrophic but only because people aren’t prepared. I think it’s very telling when you consider how many lives might be altered forever just by not having some electricity. I think it is sad that our world is so dependent upon electricity that millions potentially would starve, riot and die because they were forced to live like our not too distant relatives did. Can you imagine the pioneers if you presented this situation to them? OK, just imagine how horrible it would be if there was no electricity… No what?

Where to find water

Water is everywhere normally unless you live in the desert. That is one reason why not too many people I know recommend living in Phoenix if the grid goes down. For the rest of us that live in closer proximity to lakes, rivers, ponds and streams we have a lot of options for finding water if we are faced with the task of collecting enough to drink. In American Blackout, the people who lived in the city had no water in the pipes because the electricity needed to pump water up into tall buildings was nonexistent. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any water in the city though.

Read more: Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

I was surprised they did not have someone manning a hydrant letting people fill up jugs of water. The sheer volume of water contained in the fire hydrant systems of large cities if used properly could have probably lasted a week. Could you have taken showers and washed your car? No, but it is a source of water that could have been tapped into if you pardon the pun.

 

Water Hydrants are a source of water in an emergency

I could go into making a solar still or collecting the condensation off the leaves of plants with a bag or getting water from a tree even, but that is for another post. I want to talk to the majority of us that have water all around us and we simply need to get it and make it safe for drinking. In that I’ll start with the obvious and that is you should have water for everyone in your family on hand at all times. Water is cheap (relatively) and it is easy to find. You drink it every day now and there is no reason to be without a minimum of one week worth of water no matter who you are or where you live.

I talked about ways to store water in our Power Blackout checklist post last week and you should have a similar plan right now for your family. Don’t wait until the power goes out to run to the store and try to find a gallon or two.

Water in a suburban setting is most easily collected from rain. Once you have rain barrels set up you don’t have to do anything. When it rains, your barrels will fill up and all you would have to do is make sure it is filtered or disinfected. Water can be used from any stream or creek or lake. What about the golf course down the street? You can drain your water heater in a pinch just by opening the drain valve at the bottom. The trick is to look around you for locations that have water in your neighborhood that you might need to access in a grid down scenario, but don’t neglect stocking up on your own. The stream down the road might be dry.

How to carry water

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with easy

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with ease.

Humans on average need a gallon of water per day to stay hydrated and provide cooking and hygiene. I think that amount is slightly off because it can’t be the same amount for small children, but who cares. We will use it for a guideline and obviously that guideline has to be adjusted for the scenario you find yourself in. If it’s the middle of summer, temperatures are soaring and you are doing a lot of manual work that amount could easily double. What if you are sick and are throwing up? It’s best to always have more than the average amount of water on hand and you need to have a plan for getting water and bringing it back to your location.

Let’s say you live near a body of water (lake, stream, well, fish pond) and the power is out. How are you going to get water to drink? You could just walk down there and fill up your Nalgene bottle and walk back, but that is going to take a lot of time and energy for something that won’t last long. You need a way to carry a considerable amount of water at one time to reduce your trips and cut down on your risk of being caught out.

You need to plan now for containers that will hold several gallons of water at a minimum, but carrying these will be difficult without a wagon, cart or improvised method of weight distribution. One of my readers commented that they were planning on using a deer cart to tote their bug out gear and I think that makes a great option for carrying water too. Like the woman in the picture above, running out for a drink of water might not be as simple as it used to be. You have to plan to carry enough back so that you won’t need to go out for another couple of days hopefully.

How to treat water

There are many ways of filtering water and making it safe to drink and I have listed several down below.

 

Berkey Filters are excellent Prepper resources.

Filters – Hands down my favorite method of treating water. Why? Because it is the simplest and takes the least amount of energy for the return on investment. I recommend two types of filters to be part of your preps. For my home, I use a Berkey Light water filter. I simply dump a couple of gallons in the top and clean water comes out the bottom. Obviously, you want to ensure you are filtering as much gunk out of your water before you bring it into your filter so as to keep your filter elements clean for as long as possible.

Read more: The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

For portable alternatives, I have a pair of MSR water filters. These work great and have kept us in plenty of cool clean water on several backpacking trips with our family. You just pump the water through the pump and clean fresh water is delivered to your water bottle.

Boiling Water – Boiling is probably the oldest method of disinfecting water but it works! All you need is a container (preferably not plastic) and heat. Bring your water to a boil and let the water boil for a couple of minutes and that’s it. The boiling will kill any bacteria and you can drink the water. Let it cool off first

Ultra violet light – there are UV pens that they sell for camping that are supposed to kill any bacteria in water. I have never used these so my assumption is that it may kill the bacteria, it won’t help the taste or make the water technically cleaner. Saving your life is what is most important though so if you have to drink some water that has stuff floating in it…as long as you don’t die from a water borne illness you can live to fight another day.

Chlorination – Chlorine Bleach is probably the most common household item that you will have that can be used to disinfect your drinking water but it is a little tricky. Chlorine is affected by the temperature of the water you are treating. Always try to filter any water that may be cloudy with contaminants such as lake water first. You can use paint filters or a bandana if necessary. If the water is room temperature (meaning not cold or hot) you would add two to four drops of chlorine bleach per quart. Shake well and let the container sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, smell the water. It should smell like chlorine and this is normal. If it doesn’t smell like chlorine add another drop or two and let it sit for 30 additional minutes. By drops we are talking about an eye-dropper size drop, not a dollop.

Distillation – Distillation is another option but requires more equipment than the average person will be able to acquire much less put together in an emergency. Another option is the SODIS method which uses UV light (sunlight) to treat water stored in clear containers. There is a lot of information about this method online and here.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One

To the individual who is either interested in Prepping or already knee-deep into preparing for any number of potential emergencies or disasters, security has to be one of your primary concerns. This is not any truer if you have a family than if you are all alone. The simple fact of life is that when people are scared, hurting or in some other way seriously under duress, the niceness of society disappears quickly. Someone who used to be your best friend will kill you if you are standing between food and their baby is starving.

It should be clear from any number of recent disasters where looting happened within days that you and your family need to plan for security wherever you are. Firearms are most commonly (and for good reason) associated with security. Are there other options? Sure, but I would rather have my trusty shotgun as opposed to a baseball bat and harsh language if there were a bunch of people trying to knock down my door any day. So, with that in mind, below are my list of the top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now. This of course assumes you don’t have any firearms for personal protection and you aren’t philosophically opposed to defending your family’s life with deadly force if it comes to that.

#1 Shotgun

As I explained in my earlier post, if you only have the time or means to purchase one firearm to defend yourself and your family it should be a shotgun. Shotguns are everywhere and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Where is the best place to purchase a shotgun? You can walk into just about any Wal-Mart and pick up a reasonably priced shotgun without too many people even blinking.

Shotguns are pretty simple to use, hold on average 5-6 shots and come with a variety of ammunition options. For home defense or close quarters, a shotgun is very forgiving with respect to nervous aiming. By that I mean you don’t have to be very accurate with a shotgun to do some damage. Even the sound of racking the slide up and down can be an effective deterrent. The two most common calibers are .12 and .20 gauge. The .20 gauge is usually recommended for women and smaller kids because the recoil is less.

In addition to home defense, a shotgun is perfectly suited for hunting both small game and larger animals with the right type of ammunition. Another plus is that shotguns are plentiful and the ammunition isn’t 4 times as high now with the recent talk of gun confiscation by the federal government. You can still pick up plenty of ammo and a nice new shotgun fairly easily. For the tactical minded prepper, you can even augment your shotgun with lots of accessories similar to your pistol or AR-15.

#2 AR-15

Boston’s excellent gun bible. If you want to know the best survival weapons, this book is worth a read.

Speaking of AR-15’s… This would be my second choice if you have a shotgun already. There are several reasons for making an AR-15 next on your purchase list. The first is that this is the weapon you want to use in a variety of other solutions and its strengths lie outside of the shotgun’s sweet spot. The AR-15 chambered in .556 (will also shoot .223) gives you a highly flexible weapon platform. The AR-15 holds a higher capacity of ammunition so you will need to reload less often. When would you possibly need 30 rounds of ammunition? What if your home was being overrun by 50 people who had wandered off the highway from the town 20 miles away and they were deadly intent on taking your home and your possessions away from you? Or on the other end of the spectrum, what if a whole bus load of zombies was walking across the parking lot towards you. Wouldn’t you rather be able to take out 30 of the closest ones before you had to reload? The AR-15, unlike a shotgun is a medium distance hero. Where the shotgun is good for close quarters, you wouldn’t expect to hit anything with any real power above 30-40 yards. The AR-15, in a competent shooter’s hand is excellent up to 300 meters on any day. I would rather take care of the bad guys when they are very far away from me and my family.

On top of its usefulness at taking out bad guys, it uses the same ammunition that your local police department, National Guard, military and now Homeland security use and are buying more of every day. The chance that you will be able to acquire some ammunition that is compatible with your AR-15 is very high in certain conditions. Now, the rub is that because of the recent antics by some in our Congress, AR-15’s and the ammunition that go in them is harder to come by. It isn’t impossible though and you can still get an AR-15 for your very own personal use in most locations if you are willing to look around and wait a while. Where can you purchase an AR-15? You can still find quite a few at gun shows everywhere and even at places like Gander Mountain and Cabella’s. Dicks Sporting goods is not stocking them anymore I believe.

Read more: Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Pawn shops and gun stores also have them in stock, but you will be paying a premium now unfortunately. I don’t believe this will change any time soon. If you are waiting for the price to go back to what it was last summer I think you will be out of luck. There are also places online you can purchase them and have them shipped to your local FFL dealer. The dealer will usually charge you a small fee ($25 is normal) for the transaction and long wait times are still going to be a factor. Ammunition is tougher to get and more expensive but it is still out there. Shop around online and go to your gun shows. My research shows that the prices are just about the same, once you add in shipping. Know what the price of 500 and 1000 rounds are before you go to the gun show so you can be a savvy shopper.

#3 Full-size Semi-automatic Pistol – .45 or .40

Pistols are usually the first firearm people choose for a few reasons. They are easier to handle, easier to hide and less wieldy in general. They are the weapon most of the good guys use in the movies so the natural inclination is to get a pistol and you will be all set like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Pistols definitely have their place, but they would come after an AR-15 and a shotgun in my opinion. Why is that? A wise man once said that “a pistol is what you use to get back to your rifle”. Pistols are for close quarters and you want that to be a last resort. You don’t want to be that close to any bad guys. However, it happens and pistols are an important aspect of your survival battery of arms. Run out of ammunition in your shotgun or AR-15 and then you grab the pistol. Bad guy kicks in the door while you are asleep then you reach for the pistol close to the bed.

Why am I recommending .45 or .40 and not a .9mm? It comes down to stopping power really and I know I may get some blow-back on this topic. I have all three calibers, but if I could only buy one and I was buying this for home defense it would be a .40 caliber. Why not a .45? Well, for the simple fact that you can hold more rounds in the magazine of most .40 calibers because the rounds are a little smaller. That is also why I recommend a full-size and not a sub-compact if you only have one. My 1911 .45 holds 8 rounds and my .40 holds 14. It’s just that I like options and having a few more rounds gives you more options. What about the .9mm you ask? It can hold up to 17 rounds. Yes, and like I said, I have .9mm also, but if you put a big freaked out psychopath in front of me with a machete and told me to pick one gun to use to take him down I would pick up the .45 or .40 before the .9mm.

Where is the best place to purchase a pistol for home defense? Pistols are not as in demand as AR-15’s yet. I was just at Gander Mountain last week and they still had full cases of pistols in all calibers and models. The prices still looked consistent with what I would expect at that store and the only shortage I saw was of Glock. They only had one G27 on display. I personally like purchasing handguns from a gun show but you have to know what you are looking for and the price range you are willing to pay. At a gun show you have a lot more people competing for your business. I recommend finding the gun you are after at every booth, talking to the seller and getting a price. I found $200 worth of difference the last time I went for the same make and caliber of handgun so you should shop around.

Read more: The reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people

Ammunition for handguns is ridiculous now and it’s running about 4 times as expensive as what it used to last year this time. My advice is to get two 50 rounds boxes of hollow-points at a minimum and put those away. After that, go to places like ammunition.com and order in bulk to build up your supply. Make sure you have 4 magazines for each gun also.

#4 Long-Range Rife

When it comes to a long-range rifle, I am talking about between 300 and 600 yards now and this is primarily for hunting. They can also be used to take over where your AR-15 begins to fall short. If you start going too far past 300 yards, your AR-15 will need a little help. Can you still hit targets at that range? Sure but I would rather have a caliber that isn’t slowing down already. My personal recommendation for a long-range rifle is a .30-06.

For one reason, the .30-06 is capable of taking down any big game in North America. You won’t run into an animal that can’t be hunted successfully with a .30-06. Are there other calibers that can do the job? Of course, but in addition to being a great all around hunting weapon, the .30-06 is also a common sniper caliber for police forces.

Where can you purchase a good hunting rifle? They are everywhere from Wal-Mart, Dicks, Cabella’s, Gander Mountain and the local neighborhood pawn shop. You don’t generally need a license to purchase a long rifle and they have lots of use. The ammunition is going to be more expensive, but if you are hunting with this rifle, you will need less; unless you are a horrible shot.

#5 .22 (Pistol and Rifle)

The .22 is great for two things in my mind. In a rifle, the .22 is perfect for small game or varmints. A pistol is great for practice or for use by smaller children. A .22 is a great addition because you can use this to practice your accuracy and not spend a fortune on ammunition. While it is still way more expensive than it used to be you can buy hundreds of .22 ammunition for a fraction of the more common calibers. Additionally, if they ever do try to take away guns, they might leave you with a .22 and something is better than nothing.

Honorable Mentions – Also known as if you have money left over… try these on for size.

Mosin Nagant

The Mosin is a Russian rifle used primarily during WWII and routinely runs around $100 each. For the life of me, I could never find too many of them but if you have no other option, a Mosin is a great rifle to have and could pull dual duty as a hunting rifle or a backup battle rifle. Of course, there are many limitations with the latter approach.

Concealed Carry (.380)

Yes, I do believe every legal firearm owner should carry concealed. In my recent post on the subject I explained all of the reasons I think this is wise and good for society, but it would be one of the last firearms I chose. The reason is that for most people, carrying concealed isn’t really an option unless you have a much smaller weapon. The .380 is perfect and can easily fit in a pocket or purse, but the capacity and stopping power are much lower.

To those of you, who actually finished this post, thank you for reading! I am eager to hear any comments from you on my opinions and what ideas you have for your own personal top 5.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Plus the reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people.

Oatmeal – Jazzing Up the Ubiquitous Prepper Cereal

Being inexpensive, rolled oats can help us save money now, and it’s a good one to stock up on for the same reasons – cheap, filling and full of endurance-granting slow-release energy. I’m not a big fan of “just” oatmeal as a hot cereal. It’s just … well, boring. Too, I anticipate plenty enough spoon-and-bowl meals from beans and rice, boiled wheat or barley, or soups in a crisis, whether it’s a personal crisis or a widespread disaster. I’d rather avoid more as much as possible. The humble rolled oats tub actually helps me there in a big way.

Using mostly things that are also already in my storage or that are easy and inexpensive to obtain, I can churn out desserts, snacks, sides, dinners and breakfasts that are interesting and varied, and don’t really taste like oatmeal. Oatmeal also has a lot of soothing and absorption properties that gives it some handy topical uses.

Using Oatmeal to Extend Meats & Meals

Mix in flakes of oatmeal and-or lentils and ground beans to extend things like meatloaf, meatballs and the hamburger in stews. Oats also make a fabulous replacement for breadcrumbs that would be used as binding or for coating meats.

Add it into Stovetop or homemade bread dressing or stuffing to increase the healthy fibers and calories, and the feelings of satiety from meals.

 

Grind coarsely or finely and add to flours for bannock, breads, muffins, and biscuits. Zucchini bread, carrot cake and other sweets can take as much as a quarter of the flour in oats without a significant change in texture or flavor. Pancakes, pie crusts, dumplings, cookies and cobblers can all have part of the flour replaced, especially with oats processed to a fine powder.

Fifty-fifty mixes or greater will be far more noticeable and may require additional liquids, but it also increases the heartiness of foods, helps us feel fuller and keep that satisfaction longer over stripped bleached flours especially, gives us healthier, natural arcs of energy, and lowers the glycemic index of foods while helping stomachs process.

Ground oatmeal can also be used to thicken soups, stews and gravy, just like ground beans or lentils that are too old to soak up water efficiently.

Easy Non-Cereal Recipes

Oatmeal has a lot of applications for cooking, without resorting to a bowl of hot cereal. Most of them can be done with a Dutch oven, campfire, rocket stove, or a solar oven or Wonderbag cooker if we don’t have access to our stoves and ovens.

Ash cakes can be made out of pretty much any flour. Using some salt, milk, egg or fats will improve flavor, but the bare-bones way of doing it is to mix just a little water at a time with flour or meal – or in this case, oats – until we can form a patty, then flopping it onto a cooler section of ash. Rolled oats will do best if they’re ground to a flour or if they’re allowed to soak a bit first. As a plain, just-salted version, they make a bread we can have with soups or meats. A little sugar or fruits, and we’re getting closer to a cookie. Alternatively, we can top them with honey or jams, fruits, sweetened cream, or something like a chili or bean medley.

Baked Oatmeal Muffins – A basic recipe with add-in’s for interest and variety is here https://brendid.com/healthy-oatmeal-muffins-no-flour-no-sugar-no-oil/ along with additional links. You can also find dozens of recipes as simple or complicated as you like, with and without other flours and oils, with just about any search. They turn oats into a fast, easy finger food that’s readily portable.

No-Bake Cookies are a staple in some lives. With just a few ingredients and few utensils dirtied, we can use up our oats to satisfy cravings for a fork or finger food as well as a sweet treat. Given the speed with which they disappear as either drop clusters or sliced squares at BSA and adult gatherings these days, during a disaster they’ll be a for-sure hit.

Oatmeal bars can be found as Amish Baked Oatmeal or other standard baked oatmeal, such as this one http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/baked-oatmeal. Oatmeal can also be turned into homemade granola bars. They’re out there in the internet world as soft chewy bars or crunchy options. All of them are adaptable to the fruits, nuts and seeds we have on hand or prefer. There are also homemade granola bars that make use of cereals that store well such as Rice Krispies, Cheerios, or Chex, which can increase the variety even more.

Crunchy granola clusters like this one that has healthier ingredients and a few extra steps and this one that uses lower-cost and easy-to-source ingredients with fewer steps in the process have a lot of versatility. There’s a lot to be said for the ability to turn out a nice snacking portion while using up inexpensive oats, today and later. And, if you’re giddy for it, making mini clusters to throw in as a homemade cold cereal can help provide a different breakfast meal even with a spoon.

Fruit crisps – A basic oatmeal crisp recipe such as this one has a lot of versatility, both now and during a personal crisis or a widespread disaster. We can use it with any pie filling we have, or regular canned fruits we strain or thicken the syrups. We can also use it to make stuffed apples, pears or peaches. It can go over cubed, mashed or pureed pumpkin or sweet potatoes as well, or can be used as a topper for a baked sweet potato. Oatmeal crisp is pretty versatile and forgiving, so we can add a quarter to a half extra oats to our recipe if we want a somewhat heartier and healthier version, or just to help us use up a few more of our rolled oats.

 

Cookies, Pizzas & Pie Crusts – Cookies are pretty cool as they are. Made thick and gooey, they can be a pretty hearty dessert by topping with dried or canned fruit or pie filling, with or without heavy or whipped cream. We can spread them out in a pie pan to make a quickie crust, use a crisp recipe for a pie crust, or we can bake them as a big, wide cookie to then slice up as a dessert pizza topped with cream cheese, frosting or glaze and then whatever fruit, nuts or morsels floats our boat.

Southern Oatmeal Cake – There are numerous versions of oatmeal cakes, although they’re pretty similar. It’s not the prettiest dish in the lineup, but it’s gooey happiness that can satisfy our sweet tooth without enormous expense. For an easier version that’s more storage friendly or to create some variety, we can alternate the topping with tubs of German chocolate cake frosting, reduced sweetened condensed milk, or just honey if coconut isn’t available. It’s also pretty darn nummy just with some heavy cream, whole milk, whipped cream, or clotted cream on top.

Fried Oatmeal is like fried grits. It starts with the cereal we all know, then it gets packed in a glass or a lined bowl, chilled so it sets up, and later, gets turned out and sliced, then fried in grease, butter or oil. The amount or depth of oil in the pan can change the texture some. The size of the slice both in thickness and width-by-height can affect whether it’s a plate meal like pancakes or if it can be picked up like happy French toast fingers for a non-spoon meal. As with pancakes, waffles and French toast, the topping options become endless – fried “dippy” eggs, sweetened syrups or fruits, chocolate or strawberry milk syrup, cinnamon sugar, and sausage bits and honey are favorites in our house. Chopped nuts can be included in the cereal or added on top for a little bit more texture yet.

For additional ideas about using oatmeal, do a search for savory recipes. Even when it’s served as a bowl of hot cereal, inclusions like grated radish, sprouts, fish, and tomatoes and peppers can increase the variety we’re seeing with our rolled oats and help prevent fatigue from them.

Oats Outside the Kitchen

We can really feel our oats sometimes. Probably most of us have already seen or use – possibly regularly – a product that makes use of some of oats’ best qualities. Just as oatmeal is a pretty soothing and mild option for breakfast, it has a lot of uses externally, too.

Oats can be added to bathwater or used as a paste to relieve:

  • Dry, itchy skin (for animals, too)
  • Bug bites
  • Burns & sunburn

It can also be added to soaps for its soothing qualities, or turned into an exfoliating scrub.

Combined with baking soda, we can use ground oatmeal flour as a dry shampoo, scrubbing it in with our fingers, then brushing it out. The two absorb oils and relieve any itching, which can be an excellent low-weight and inexpensive option during sweaty garden seasons should water be in limited supply.

That dry shampoo can also safely be used on cats and dogs, to save money on no-rinse shampoos, to avoid stressing a pet with a shower bath, to treat flea or grass allergies, or to avoid getting them wet in cold weather.

Satchels & Sachets

When we don’t really want to turn a bath into an oatmeal pot to scrub, or don’t have a tub available, we can make little balls of rolled oats, with or without additives like baking soda or herbs and oils to gain relief from skin irritations. We can use them in showers, baths, creeks, or just dampened and dabbed on affected areas.

Those, too, can be used on our pets to treat hot spots, bites, and irritated skin.

Satchels of rolled oats can also be used to:

  • Absorb odors in shoes, closets, bags, coolers
  • Absorb moisture from containers before sealing, or sealed with important items

Heat relieves some of the discomfort from cramps, headaches and muscle pains. Pouches can also be filled with warmed dry oatmeal to create in-the-glove or pocket hand-warmers.

Using Up Oats

Oats are a major part of prepper food storage kits because they’re inexpensive. They store well, last well past supermarket best-by dates, have a lot of health benefits for the gut and cardiovascular system, and the fiber and whole grains of rolled oats help us feel full for longer as well as provide slow-release energy that can keep us moving through long days of work or travel.

Happily, they’re also pretty versatile, and with a little creativity we can use them to stretch our budgets now as well as increase our food storage.

There are probably fifty million more recipes out there for making oats without a steaming bowl and spoon, from breads to desserts. There are probably another dozen helpful ways to use it up outside the kitchen. These are just a few of my favorites, due to the ease or the effectiveness of them. Feel free to tag on your additional favorite non-cereal-bowl recipes and uses outside the kitchen.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Oatmeal – Jazzing Up the Ubiquitous Prepper Cereal Being inexpensive, rolled oats can help us save money now, and it’s a good one to stock up on for the same reasons

I was inspired to write this post while watching my favorite TV show, the Walking Dead. My wife and I only watch one TV show and this one, while I know it doesn’t appeal to everyone, is great in my opinion. It isn’t that I believe that flesh eating zombies are in our future, but the writing is creative and the scenarios the characters face are exactly the same (minus the walking dead) as any apocalyptic vision you can imagine. Take out the zombies and imagine a world after an economic collapse or pandemic and you would have similar problems as the characters in this show I think.

I got the idea to write about makeshift grills from a recent episode. All cooking that happens in the Walking Dead is usually done over an open flame. If we have TEOTWAWKI we will all need to be more resourceful. Even if the whole world isn’t thrown for a SHTF loop, natural disasters like the 2011 Fukushima Tsunami victims pictured above demonstrate the need to improvise from time to time. Below are a series of photographs that I found illustrating several creative methods for cooking without the benefit of a stove top range or what we all might be faced with at some point and find ourselves cooking when the grid goes down.

One of my favorite ways to see a shopping cart used.

A lot of these images share common traits and those are a source of heat which is usually wood or charcoal, a fire containment device to hold the combustibles and a grilling surface. You can see the resourceful use of the shopping cart in this case.

Simple bricks perform double duty as fire containment and rest for the pan.

If you have a cooking pan like a cast iron grill, you can forgo the shopping cart and simply use bricks to rest your pan on.

Surplus shelving also works in a pinch.

There are lots of options for a grilling surface and you can see what looks like a simple cookie sheet in this photo that is suspended over stainless steel shelving. Another resourceful use of materials and you can see the grill has been placed on sticks. Yet another great use for that survival knife. The cooler of beer is a welcome plus too if you have it and makes those beer brats taste even better.

Who needs bricks when you have rocks?

Need to grill that fresh fish you caught but you don’t have a frying pan or bricks? No worries! This man has grabbed what looks like a grill screen and placed it over some rocks that are surrounding his fire. The spatula is a plus but a knife or even a good stick works in a pinch.

Convert that seldom used fire-pit to Grill master.

Many of us have one of those fire pits that we purchase with the idea of sitting on the back porch with a fire blazing away as we all gather around with marshmallows or our favorite adult beverage. Yes, I have one but I can probably count on one hand the number of times we have actually used this in the last two years. At any rate, if I needed to, this makes a great grilling surface as well. You can use charcoal or I would probably use wood, throw that oven grate over the top and start cooking your hot dogs. Adult beverages optional.

Don’t have a grill? Use aluminum baking pans instead.

You can also use those disposable aluminum baking pans to keep your charcoals in. I don’t know how many uses you could get out of this method and you would want to ensure the bottom is well insulated (nice use of cinder blocks here) but the concept is the same.

50 gallon drum slow cooker.

This person probably had a little more time to set up their grill, but with the right equipment (cutting torch or a lot of time with a hacksaw) you could convert those old 50 gallon barrels you have lying around your yard into a perfect grill. Grab some of that unused fencing from the garden and you are all set to cook up those steaks that will go bad now that the power is out.

Forget a grill, we have a wheel-barrel.

This guy looks like he knows how to party! And he is creative too. Now if you don’t like where your grill is positioned (like maybe too close to the dog house), you can simply move it. What a great use of his wheel-barrel to contain the fire and hold the grill surface too. Bonus is that he can roll the ashes over to the garden when he is finished!

Creative support options.

This guy isn’t going to let one missing leg get in the way of his having some good eating and when he is done, the coffee water will be ready for a nice hot cup! Notice the metal sheeting used to place the coals or wood on as opposed to having them directly on the ground. I believe he is soaking the ground with water first.

So, do you have any creative makeshift grill ideas that you have used before?


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

I was inspired to write this post while watching my favorite TV show, the Walking Dead. My wife and I only watch one TV show and this one, while I