Home2020January

In 2001, I was in my office at work and watched in horror with my colleagues as the second plane hit the towers and our world changed forever. Even hundreds of miles away, it was a devastating catastrophe. Just two short years later, in August of 2003, I was living just west of Cleveland when the Northeast blackout of August 2003 happened.

I was lucky enough to get to the store for ice and batteries before it closed. A security guard at the door stopped me to tell me I had to wait until the previous customer came out before I could go in. They were only letting one customer in at a time. A line of people started to form behind me.

When it was my turn, the guard waved me inside. The lights were out but it was daylight so there was enough light from the windows to see by. The cashier followed me as I got the things I needed and headed for the checkout. She added my items on a battery powered calculator and gave me the total.

This book could have been called The Replacement for The US Healthcare System. Details here

I paid in cash, grateful I had just gotten paid and had cash on me because with the power out, they weren’t accepting anything else. As I came out of the store with my purchases, I heard the guard telling people in the back of the line, now stretched down the sidewalk, that the store was closing.

The power was eventually restored. But that was it for me. I vowed I would never put myself or my children in that kind of situation again. I was going to be more prepared to hunker down for an extended power outage if it happened again. For the first time, I remember thinking “maybe those doomsday preppers aren’t so crazy after all”.

I started reading about prepping and making lists. I have to admit my first instinct was to buy a lot of stuff. But I was living paycheck to paycheck back then, working a full-time job in the next county over and just trying to make ends meet. I had to start small.

I focused on food and I bought a few extra items each time I went to the store. I kept warm clothes and boots in my car in case I broke down. I stocked up on flashlights and batteries and I tried to keep my gas tank full instead of running on fumes. My parents and extended family were all almost an hour away, I had to at least be able to drive to where they were in an emergency.

Despite my best intentions, there were so many mistakes I, like others new to prepping made along the way. As I look back now, here are the 26 things I wish I knew about prepping when I started out:

1. Prepping is an industry

There are people who are in the prepping industry to make money. These people will use scare tactics and hype to sell their products. Preparedness is a smart strategy but don’t let yourself get caught up in the hype. Focus on what you need for your situation and family. Make a plan and stick to it. Remember that even small steps can make a huge difference.

2. It’s Not ALL About Gear

When I first started prepping, my instinct was to buy a whole bunch of gear. I printed off the checklists from the various websites and I started buying the gadgets everyone said were a must have to survive. The problem was, I didn’t know how to use any of that gear. Most of it sat in the closet for over a year. If something had happened, I wouldn’t have known how to use a lot of it.

3. It’s Impossible to Plan for EVERY. SINGLE. DISASTER

No matter how good a prepper you are or how experienced you are, it’s nearly impossible to plan for every type of situation or emergency that could happen. Focus on what is likely in your own area first and foremost. Gradually build your knowledge and hands-on experience because that’s what will help you adapt to whatever situation crops up.

4. Sometimes Old Really is Better

Not everything sold by those in the prepping industry is a quality product. Some of it, especially pre-built bug out bags and first aid kits, are poor quality items stuffed together to get you to pay more. Quality gear does make things easier but only if you have the right skills and knowledge.

When looking for gear and equipment, check your local flea markets, thrift stores, yard or garage sales, and estate sales. Older products are made better, more solid, better quality than new ones and many times you get a much better bang for your buck.

5. Reducing Debt is Critical

To truly prepare for a SHTF event, you’ve got to get out from under any debt you may have. Work to pay off credit cards and save an emergency fund in cash. Start paying for everything with cash and consider taking a course, such as the one by Dave Ramsey, to help you become more financially stable.

6. Hygiene and Sanitation–It’s More Than Comfort

When I first started prepping, I didn’t understand how critical personal hygiene and sanitation practices would be in a SHTF situation. Sure, it would be more comfortable to be able to shower daily and have access to a flush toilet, but I didn’t believe it was life threatening. It didn’t take long to discover that poor hygiene and the shutdown of sanitation services are a main cause of Illness, infection, and other diseases that can then spread quickly through cities after a natural disaster or SHTF situation.

7. Chances Are You’ll Have to Run, Hike, or Fight

During a SHTF event, chances are very good that at some point, you will have to run, hike, or even fight to survive. Fitness, self-defense, and security can be life the lifesaving difference in a SHTF situation. Many people prep for years before realizing how critical it is to prioritize physical fitness and stamina starting today.

8. Companies Lie About Their Products (see #1)

Well not all of them outright lie, but many companies are not above misleading customers into purchasing poor quality products. Advertising is very much an industry designed to get you to part with your hard-earned cash. Test everything yourself, before you need to rely on it to save your life.

9. Disaster Won’t Wait till I’m Safe at Home

The greatest stockpile and security system in the world won’t help if you’re stuck at work and the kids are trapped at school. Know local school evacuation plans and have a backup meeting place that is central for everyone. Practice getting to it from any location where you could be when SHTF because disaster can strike at any time, not just when you’re safe at home.

10. Documenting Identification and Assets is Critical

Following a natural disaster or even during a SHTF event, proving who you are might be not only necessary, but critical to maintaining your freedom. In addition, knowing what you own and being able to show documentation of model numbers and serial numbers or even photos, may be critical to getting reimbursed by insurance companies or other disaster relief organizations.

11. Cabin Fever Makes People Crazy

You and your family may end up holed up in an underground bunker, your basement, or even your own home without video games or television. You could be there for days, weeks, months, or even years with very little outside contact.

Those of you with kids between the ages of four and seventeen, just let that sink in. No matter how well you and your family or group members get along, being cooped up in one place for weeks or months on end can wreak havoc. Plan for this and have board games, card games, books, and other non-electronic entertainment in your safe room or at your bug out location.

12. Bugging Out Isn’t the First Option or the Best

For new preppers, it may seem like everyone is recommending bugging out in case of emergency. But not only is bugging out not the first option, for all but a rare few, it’s not the best option either. Bugging out is extremely dangerous and should be a last resort, only when you are certain that you home is no longer safe.

13. Prepping is a Bottomless Pit

The more you learn about prepping, the more you will begin to realize that prepping can be a bottomless pit. Because it’s impossible to predict with any certainty, what the scenarios are that you may face or what can go wrong, prepping is a never ending and ongoing process. It’s not something you do and forget about. It really is a lifestyle change.

15. Canned Food Weighs a LOT–Look for Lighter Alternatives

Stockpiling cans of food or home canned food in jars is great if you’re able to hunker down and ride out a natural disaster or SHTF event. But this kind of food weights a LOT. You’ll not only need sturdy shelving to store it but you’ll need to look for lightweight food alternatives for your bug out bag in the event you need to bug out.

16. Waiting for Doomsday Can Be Depressing

The more time you spend learning about emergencies, disasters, and potential SHTF events, the easier it is to become overwhelmed and live from a place of continual fear. Don’t let prepping consume your life. Focus on likely events in your area. Constantly waiting and anticipating a doomsday event can be depressing without balance. Don’t forget to enjoy life in the present moment as you prepare for potential disasters.

17. Stockpiling Cash Won’t Save You

While it’s a great idea and a critical necessity to have cash on hand when a disaster happens, stockpiling cash isn’t the only answer. In cases where the power grid is down, cash may quickly become obsolete. Make sure that you are stockpiling physical items and learning skills so that you can use those to barter for items that you may need for your family following a SHTF event.

18. Special Needs Mean Special Planning

Every family or group is different, and your disaster planning must take into account any special needs that might impact your ability to survive during or following a SHTF or other event. There are lots of cookie cutter survival plans available, but make sure you customize your survival plan to accommodate any mobility restrictions, special dietary needs, or medical needs of your family.

19. For Most, Survival Takes a Village or at least a Group

There are many different types of preppers out there. You’ll read a lot of advice from individuals who believe that bugging out to the wilderness alone is the best policy. A few very experienced individuals could actually survive using this lone wolf strategy. But for most people, surviving long-term will mean relying on extended family members, a community, or other trusted survival groups.

20. Talking Too Much Really Can Kill You

Getting prepared is something to be proud of and can provide a sense of relief to know that when SHTF, you’ll be ready. You may be tempted to share your knowledge and new-found lifestyle with other people you know. Choose the people you share information with carefully because talking too much really can kill you if you’re not careful.

When SHTF, that neighbor or cashier at the store you told casually about your stockpile may just decide it’s worth coming to your house to get food and water instead of fighting the hordes of people at the local store.

21. You’ll Need a Plan B, C, and D

No matter how prepared you think you are, there are things that can go wrong in a bug out situation or even during a bug in situation. Your stockpile could be confiscated, your bug out route could be blocked, or someone could find your hidden cache, etc. Know in advance what these things could be and create backup plans so that you can adapt quickly to obstacles and pitfalls.

22. Solar Power Isn’t Just About Lights

When it comes to planning for power during a grid down situation, most people think first about lighting. But solar power can come in handy for a wide range of activities after a SHTF situation including alternative ways to cook, heat, and even stay warm. Make sure your solar power system is designed with all of these activities in mind, so it will be adequate enough to sustain your family for the long-term.

23. You Really Are Going to Use Those School Subjects

One of the most common complaints about our education system is that it teaches things that we won’t use in everyday life. But when you begin to prep, you’ll realize that many of those things you learned in school really will come in handy including:

  • Geography
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Home economics
  • Shop class
  • Defensive driving
  • Health Education
  • Gym or Physical Education

24. Practice Might Not Make You Perfect but It Will Make You Faster

One of the things that is important to realize about disaster situations is that many times it’s acting quickly that can give you an edge over others and in some cases, save your life. This is why you’ll hear some people emphasizing that you get hands-on practice using the skills that you are learning or running evacuation or bug out drills. The first instinct for most people is to panic, emotions will run high, and everyone in your group may not be thinking clearly when disaster hits.

There are also places to avoid going when SHTF so you don’t become a target or get caught up in a horde of desperate or violent people. The more you’ve planned out and actually practiced what to do in specific situations, the more likely it is that your group will act on instinct and be able to take action quickly.

25. A Plan and a Budget Helps Keep You Sane

The prepping lifestyle is never-ending, and it can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to lose focus or get taken in by the latest “prepping trend”. If you have an overall plan and a budget for your prepping, it can help you stay focused and keep your sanity.

Unfortunately, there’s just no one size fits all way to prepare for emergencies, disasters, or a SHTF event. And even when you do plan, you can be almost certain that something or maybe several things won’t go as planned.

But prepping is a great strategy that can certainly give you an edge in a bad situation. It’s definitely worth it. As a much more experienced prepper now than I was several years ago, I hope some of these 25 things I wish I knew about prepping when I started will help you avoid some of these and other common mistakes preppers make.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

In 2001, I was in my office at work and watched in horror with my colleagues as the second plane hit the towers and our world changed forever. Even hundreds

There are many reasons to check for gold on your property. If you live in a gold mining area you might be sitting on top of the mother lode. However, most people find gold in the form of buried treasure.

During the civil war, Southerners would bury their household silver, gold, and other valuables when the Northern army came near. I know a man who still buries his extra cash in jars in the backyard. I don’t envy the family when his day comes. They’ll definitely need a metal detector.

If you own gold, you know that storing it can be a problem. It can be difficult to find a secure spot that won’t be found by thieves or family members. Even a safe is not secure if you are forced to open it.

For this reason, many people – in the past, and even today – have resorted to burying their gold and other valuables. Sometimes the owner fails to tell his heirs where it is hidden, or even that it exists. Every property is a potential goldmine, especially older properties.

My Own Experience with a Metal Detector

We bought my son a metal detector for his birthday a few years back. A little exploring in our front yard discovered an abandoned oil tank. It was so rusted that I am surprised it hadn’t caved in from kids playing only a foot above it.

Later, our first trip to the beach with his metal detector turned up an iPhone, a gold watch and a few quarters. Talking to others with metal detectors, we heard a number of stories about the items they had found; gold wedding rings, keys, coins, jewelry and a lot of metal trash.

One retiree claimed to hunt almost daily and was able to supplement his retirement income nicely. He enjoyed finding hidden treasure of all kinds and said that the hunting kept him moving and healthy.

What Can You Find with a Metal Detector?

You can find gold, silver, tin, aluminum, steel, and any other metal. Did you bury your money in a jar and can’t remember where it is? You can find that jar lid and any other junk metal or treasure with a basic metal detector. Some of the more expensive detectors are tuned to detect only gold or possibly silver. This keeps you from having to sort through a lot of bottle caps, but it can also cause you to miss other valuables.

If you’ve buried your emergency food supply in the backyard I can find it, as long as there are some canned goods or other metal included. This is a good point to remember if you are considering burying your cache.

Better metal detectors can find metal that is buried up to four feet deep, so dig your hole deeper or stash only non-metal items. Another way to foil a hunter with a detector is to bury your metal valuables or food deeper, cover it with a foot or more or soil, then bury some decoy metal on top of your cache. If you are lucky, they will find the decoy and move to another spot.

What Features Do You Need?

There is a wide variety and price range of metal detectors available on the market. What do you really need to find gold or other valuables on your property? We purchased a basic-model metal detector for our son and it did everything we needed.

For me, easy tuning, the ability to discriminate between target metals and background minerals, and a solid rugged build would be the most important features.

There is a learning curve with most metal detectors. You need to learn to tune the detector to pick up the types of metal you are looking for and tune out background noise. It takes a little practice to be able to do this quickly and recognize the signals for various metals.

For a beginner, an inexpensive model can be purchased for under $100. You can spend much more, but I recommend a basic model until you learn whether treasure hunting is for you.

As a prepper, you are probably aware of the importance of having some gold and silver in your investment portfolio. Preppers prefer to own physical gold for obvious reasons, but you don’t need a lot of money to get started in gold.

One way to build up your gold stores is to regularly use a metal detector as we have discussed here. You may have days where you find nothing, but the days where you find lost coins, jewelry or a hidden stash will make them all worthwhile. Over time you will build up a collection of gold items to provide your family with a little security when things get tough.

There are many reasons to check for gold on your property. If you live in a gold mining area you might be sitting on top of the mother lode. However,

In a survival situation, due to the increased time you will spend outside in the woods foraging for edible plants, hunting, trapping, and possibly living outside, you will have bites of various kinds fairly often. These will primarily be from insects such as ticks, fleas, spiders, mosquitoes, wasps, bees, and others.

There will also most likely be animal bites from domestic animals gone feral, like packs of dogs, coyote-dog mixes, wild cats, as well as wild animals such as foxes, bats, and snakes. Unfortunately in such a scenario the chance of getting a human bite also is increased significantly.

All of these bites have the potential to develop into very serious infections and in some cases can be fatal (think rabies). Being a Prepper involves being proactive as much as humanly possible, to minimize any future threats to you, your group’s, or your family’ survival.

This book teaches you What To Do When Your Doctor Is Not Around. Details HERE

One thing you can do right now is to make sure every one of your family members is properly immunized with a tetanus vaccine. No matter what your thoughts are about vaccines, tetanus is one that is indispensable. A tetanus vaccine is given every ten years with a booster every ten years until you are sixty-five years old.

Now is the time to get your tetanus vaccine; do not wait. In a post collapse situation all vaccines will most likely be totally unavailable. Almost all vaccines have to be refrigerated and will spoil and new production is unlikely.

Why do you need a tetanus vaccine?

The bacteria that causes tetanus is ubiquitous (this means it is everywhere) and comes from the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Clostridium t. This a normal inhabitant of soil and this explains why it is everywhere. Clostridium tetani enters the body through open wounds, bites, etc. Once in the body it produces a toxin (poison) called Tetanospasmin which is a neurotoxin (a toxin that damages the nervous system). This results in such violent muscle spasms that it can cause your jaw to lock closed in a violent clenching of your facial muscles, hence the common name of lockjaw. The spasms are so violent they can break bone, teeth, tear muscle, and before the advent of the tetanus vaccine was frequently fatal.

In a survival situation you will not be able to treat this and it will be fatal, and a miserable death at that.

That is why I am strongly encouraging you and your family or survival group to be proactive and get your tetanus boosters now, not tomorrow. If you are uncertain as to the date of your previous tetanus vaccine then get one now, it will not hurt you if it is too soon.

General Principles for All Bites and Stings

There are certain principles that will help concerning any type of bite you might encounter.

  • All bites should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water if available or hydrogen peroxide.
  • If no soap is available, flush out any open bite with copious amounts of water.
  • A mix of one part Betadine to nine parts water can also be made and used to flush out any bite or wound.e application of an activated charcoal poultice to any sting or bite as soon as possible will help immensely. Activated charcoal is always helpful due to its incredible surface area and its ability to absorb toxins and substances of all types on its surface.
  • These poultices should be changed often, preventing them from drying out.
  • In an open animal bite with a macerated or chewed up surface the activated charcoal should be generously applied to the inside of the wound and a poultice over it. This will insure contact of the charcoal with all areas of the wound in order to better absorb the various toxins as well as the microorganisms from the animal’s mouth.
  • There is no downside to the use of activated charcoal; it is completely inert and cannot harm you in any way.
  • It does make a mess, but under these circumstances who really cares.

In the case of any allergic reactions, as a survival medic you will need to access the patient and determine the severity of the reaction. If a patient develops systemic (whole body) symptoms after a sting or a bite then this should be a clue that you may have to intervene to interrupt this allergic cascade before it becomes potentially life threatening.

Systemic symptoms such as lethargy (tired and listless behavior), severe swelling at the site of the bite, near it, or in the face and throat, rapid heartbeat, feeling faint, wheezing and difficulty breathing, generalized itching, etc. should all be treated as a medical emergency. If you have an EpiPen this is the time to immediately give it. Also give the patient an antihistamine such as Benadryl. The dose of Benadryl should be 25 mg every four hours as needed for a mild reaction or 50 mg every four hours for a severe reaction.

Limit the blood flow to the area of any bite. If it is on an arm or leg you should keep the limb elevated and if severe apply intermittent tourniquets, for no more than ten minutes at a time. After ten minutes loosen the tourniquet to avoid permanent damage to the areas “downstream” from it. Ice or any cold substance should be applied directly to the site to help decrease blood flow and also to decrease swelling.

There are many things in the Prepper world that we prepare for that are unlikely to happen; this is NOT one of those occurrences. The odds of you or one of your family or survival group members getting bit is very likely.


This is just an excerpt from Dr. Ralph La Guardia’s The Doomsday Book of Medicine.

You can discover more about this book here.

In a survival situation, due to the increased time you will spend outside in the woods foraging for edible plants, hunting, trapping, and possibly living outside, you will have bites

Booby traps are devices set up with the intent to surprise, harm, or even kill an unknowing victim. They are triggered by the presence or unwitting actions of another.

Booby traps have been used since ancient times. Cave drawings indicate even prehistoric humans used them as a means of capturing prey, such as in “pitfalls” where a large hole is dug and spikes placed inside. The hole is then covered.

Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare. Also known as PSYWAR, psychological warfare is by definition, something that is done to either deceive, manipulate or otherwise influence an opponent and to incite hopelessness, fear, despair, and loss of morale. Used extensively in WWII and Vietnam, booby trap effects have caused many surviving soldiers long-term pain and trauma. They can also be an effective early warning system. However, they can also cause civilian casualties, be inadvertently set off by friendlies or neutral people within the vicinity, and sometimes even by animals or natural events. They are also dangerous to set up if using any explosive materials. Caution should be used. One way to hopefully limit unnecessary injury would be to secure the perimeter with non-lethal alert devices. Hopefully once someone has realized they are approaching traps, they will turn around. If they continue, then chances are they are either hostile or being driven that direction by hostile forces.

4 SENTRY ALARM MINES .22 Cal trip wire alarms MULTICAM PREPPER PACK

Booby traps come in two main categories: anti-tank, and anti-personnel. We will start with the former.

Automatic roadblocks work much in the same way as a regular trip wire except that they designed in ways that impede traffic and damage vehicles. The end of a strong wire is attached to a secure point on one side of the road. Perhaps looped around a large tree. On the other side it is attached to something to be pulled into the road. A common option is to attach an anchor to another tree and chop it almost to the point of falling. The cord must be taut and high enough that a vehicle will pull it in the correct direction and not run over it. The cut tree is pulled down into the road, damaging the vehicle and effectively creating a roadblock. This method was employed by the Japanese when fighting the Allied Forces in the Philippines. It can be effective as a standalone device to slow the opposition, or as the onset of an ambush.

Another tripwire mechanism that can be adjusted to block a road, is a simple explosive charge set next to a makeshift retaining wall on a hill or cliff. Rocks, stones, branches, and debris are piled behind the obstruction. It may be necessary to route the wire through small anchors to adjust for the angle of the hill. Once armed and triggered, a small avalanche plummets onto the road, injuring and blocking enemy forces.

Homemade booby trap found in the woods of Provo Canyon.

Caltrops have been used since Medieval times, possibly earlier, as a way to impede incoming troops and damage cavalry and have since evolved into an effective way to combat automobiles. A metal worker can create them quite easily out of small hollow pipes that are bent and welded together. This option allows for more rapid air escape and therefore faster deflation and blowout of the tire; theoretically, any metal strong enough and sharp enough to withstand the weight of the vehicle can be used as long as it is fashioned in such a way that one blade is always pointing up.

Even vehicles themselves have been used as booby traps. A charge can be detonated by opening the door or turning on the ignition (which seems to be popular in the movies). Bombs can also be detonated by impact, where the cars themselves were used as roadblocks. If an armored vehicle attempts to simply pummel through and push the vehicles aside, they explode.

Now we get to the category where most preppers are focusing their efforts. Home invasion protection and anti-personnel defensive booby traps.

The most common booby trap as far as prepping is concerned is probably the tripwire.

The most common booby trap as far as prepping is concerned is probably the tripwire. Easy to set up with nothing more than a piece of string and a personal panic alarm. It is easily improvised and can detonate explosives, fire weapons, or activate spotlights for early detection.

Pressure plates can be simple DIY projects or can be purchased prefabricated. Again, these can be improvised to either turn on lights, sound an air-horn, or detonate explosives. I personally would not attach explosives to these as they are usually placed quite close to your residence as a final warning someone has made it to your door. Some can be quite sensitive and can easily be activated by a dog or other fair-sized animal. If you are placing them further away from your home, or do not care about a potential house fire, explosives could be used. One additional and interesting use for these is their ability to be an automatic door opener, if you want a secret entrance and hide it well.

Mobility Denial System (MDS) is a deterring slime that can come in handy (if you can get your hands on any) It is a last line of defense as it will create an impassable surface directly around your home for 6-12 hours. It was invented for the Marine Corps and police riot protection. It is not readily available, however, if you were to put your mind to it, you could up with something along the same lines. You want to deter any hostile party, by any means necessary, before they ever get that close to you, and preferably either drive them back or keep them at bay until you can retaliate.

Spike booby trap used during Vietnam.

Spikes. They can be as simple as large nails in boards turned upwards around your yard in the tall grass. They could be placed over a hole so that when stepped on with any force, the person’s foot snaps the board, goes into the hole and the nails impale their ankles. In times of war, they were often coated with toxic material or feces to promote infection. Some people attach them to stones or logs to create pendulum contraptions that are triggered by a tripwire. Personally I find this a foolish waste of time. A well-trained individual can evade such a device. It would probably take less time to dig small trenches, which might at least sprain some ankles, but to each their own. Spikes on boards can also be weighted and submerged into creek beds and ponds.

Razor wire and barbed wire is another option for underwater depending on how long it stays there. It can also be used similarly to tripwire in heavily vegetative areas where it can be concealed. I’d recommend a matte finish, camouflaged to blend in. In can be used along top fencing, around windows etc… Anywhere you would want to deter someone, perhaps diverting them into even more unfavorable habitat where you have a greater advantage.

Bullets can be set inside a small section of bamboo, atop a firing pin, and buried until just the tip is exposed. If stepped on with any amount of force the bullet explodes.

Hand Grenades. If you can acquire them, all you need is a tin can and a piece of string and duct time and you can secure any door. This is dangerous for the person loading them but was widely used in WWII and Vietnam. Tie a string around the grenade under the handle. Depress the trigger handle and pull the pin. Quickly and carefully slide it into the tin can. Secure the can somewhere with tape or wedge it tightly. Attach the string to a door handle or use as a tripwire. When the door is open or trap is triggered, the grenade dislodges from the can and detonates.

Remember that booby traps are just one element in the line of defense. Their primary purpose is to slow down the enemy, instill fear, reduce morale, and possibly to injure, maim, or kill. The time these traps may buy you can be greatly varied. Use it wisely and remember, offense and defense are opposite sides of the same coin. You need both or you are broke.

Recognizing the extreme injustice of recent liability suits awarding home invaders large sums for getting injured while burglarizing a house, it could be considered foolish to construct booby traps unnecessarily, regardless of intention or the degree of danger. That being said, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t use them or wish they had them to use when put into a potentially deadly situation.

Stay safe, and happy prepping!

Booby traps are devices set up with the intent to surprise, harm, or even kill an unknowing victim. They are triggered by the presence or unwitting actions of another. Booby traps

Dogs and cats are a vital part of the homestead or when your prepper nightmare come true. Whether you plan to bug out or bug in, your pet may play an important role as a protector for you family, or a great alarm system, in addition to being loving companions.

They provide much needed pest control, if you’ve got a good mouser on your hands. A dog can provide great livestock protection, and help with hunting and tracking. They can also help keep rabbits, moles and other small game away from your garden.

Feeding your pets from a prepping prospective, or just trying to find a free way to feed your animals presents some questions.

How do you know what your animals need? How do you acquire their food? What’s safe for them? And what does all this knowledge actually look like in your pet’s food bowl?

Check it out.

Want to learn how to grow nutrient dense foods that will nourish your mind and body? Discover more here.

Dietary Needs of Dogs and Cats

You may think dogs are the most carnivorous of the two, but in fact, felines need more protein in their diet than canines. Carbohydrates however, are not a necessary addition in your cat’s diet. Cats are carnivores first and foremost. Healthy, adult Cats may only need 5-10% carbs, usually obtained through ingesting animal protein, for reference, a mouse carcass is about 3% carbohydrates. They need 30-50% fat, and 50-60% protein. Of course, your cats’ specific need vary based on their life stages and activity level.

There is some debate on what exactly is the perfect ratio of protein, fats, and carbs for canines. Part of that is because there are so many different breeds with varying sizes and body types. Also, because there are still ongoing discussions about whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores. Nevertheless, dog food companies create “well balanced” food for canines by the thousands of pounds for us to buy and feed to our furry family members.

Here’s what we do know and some general guidelines to abide by. An adult dog may only need 18-25% protein in their diet. Athletic dogs, like sled dogs, puppies, or working dog in a bug out situation, may need more protein. A dog’s diet can contain 30-70% carbohydrates, and 10-15% fat. These percentages will change throughout your dog’s lifespan and with different activity levels.

Make sure the meals you make for your pet meet its individual and breed specific needs. It is important to make sure cats get enough of their food from animal products. There are many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids that cats can only get from animal proteins. In contrast, dogs have the ability make up for some of these needs by converting pre-vitamins into the vitamins they need. A dog can thrive with high levels of carbohydrates where cats lack the enzymes to break them down and absorb their nutrients.

Another important factor to consider is your animals water intake. Even if you’re feeding them a perfectly balanced diet, without proper water consumption your pets body won’t be able to carry important nutrients into cells of the body. Water also helps the body maintain a normal body temperature. Without it, organs will begin to fail and the body will start to shut down.

Cats naturally have a low thirst drive, and even if they’re supplied with a fancy water fountain, they don’t make that deficit up by themselves. Store bought kibble usually contains only 5-10% water, by making your own food at home you can take control of some of that water consumption by adding it to their food.

​Want to learn about essential health practices, the right way to take vitamins, and why they currently aren’t working for you? Details HERE.

Food/Herbs to Avoid

Not everything in your garden is safe for everyone on the homestead. Feeding toxic foods on the homestead could be a costly mistake, even worse if you’re relying on your dog after the end of the world as we know it. Here are just some of the things commonly found on the homestead or in a bug out bag that are hazardous to your pet:

  • Coffee and caffeine can cause gastric upset and if enough is consumed can cause seizures or death.
  • Garlic, Onions and Chives can cause gastro intestinal irritation. Onions are the most toxic to cats.
  • Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure for unknown reasons.
  • Milk and Dairy can cause digestive upset because pets can’t break down the lactose in those foods.
  • Nuts have high levels of fats that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Just 6 macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs.
  • Yeast dough can cause gas in the digestive system, this could cause bloat or gastric torsion (stomach twisting) which may need surgery and is life threatening. In addition, the yeast can make ethanol as a biproduct which is the same as giving them alcohol.
  • Alcohol can cause an array of problems, the worst of which are coma or death.

So, you have an idea of what providing a diet for your dog or cat can take, and what foods you may encounter that aren’t safe for them. That presents the question – Where do you get the food? As homesteaders, you probably don’t want to come up with the cash for this. How can you provide this food directly from your homestead or after the dust settles?

Look at these options:

Trading Goods/Services

Do you regularly grow too many tomatoes, have too much goat’s milk, extra wool or like me, too many eggs? Do your neighbors raise cattle while you raise goats or sheep? Make a fair meat trade to create some variety in your pet’s diet. I regularly trade my extra eggs for a basket of veggies, or groom my neighbor’s dogs in exchange for help around my homestead.

Maybe you make amazing quilts or pottery, or you even have teaching or barber skills. Get to know the owners of your local feed store, they may be willing to make a trade if you have something they need. Without the exchange of money, both parties leave feeling like they got a great deal.

The point is, if you have a skill or a good to trade for dog or cat food, DO IT! Bartering is a great way to acquire the things you need on the homestead, and will surely be an integral part of the post-apocalyptic world. Brush up on these skills and make the connections you can trust now and that you’ll need later.

Food Scraps

Maybe there’s no one you know who has extra dog food kibble, what about what you or your neighbors do have, that your grow or raise for yourself and your family. There are always extra’s when processing livestock. The extra parts your neighbors throw out, the heart, tongue, eyes, brain, and other organs, all the stuff that your kids cringe at eating. Have that meat ground or chopped, better yet do it yourself. It’ll be a great free protein to add to your pet’s diet.

Growing some safe extra’s in the garden or foraging for some wild edibles on your way to your bug out location is also a great way to nourish your pet.

Check out some of the things they can indulge on that you probably have on your homestead or can find nearby.

  • Apples, pears and oranges are a great source of vitamins A and C, also Fiber. Make sure to take the core and seeds out first. And peel the orange as it is poisonous.
  • Blueberries, cranberries and strawberries are vitamin rich.
  • Bell peppers help boost the immune system.
  • Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber.
  • Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin offer water, fiber and nutrients.
  • Watermelon is high in water so is great for keeping your pet hydrated.
  • Eggs can be given in moderation for added protein.
  • Bones are an important source of calcium which is a must have in a dog and cats diet. They can be ground into the meat to prevent choking and splintering hazards.

The list goes on, just make sure what you’re giving your pet, either straight from the land or from your plate, hasn’t been modified with added sugars or salt that can be unhealthy for your pet.

Hunting

If you’re a skilled hunter or fisherman raking in extra for your animals means fresh dinners for everyone! Your cat will love extra salmon or whatever fish you can get locally. Just keep an eye out that you’re not feeding them fish that’s too high in mercury. Use it sparingly.

If you’re prepping for the inevitable collapse, you may want to think about making a hunting dog earn their keep. If your beagle wants to have rabbit tonight, he can help track them down and spook them out. Your bird dog will play a vital role in making sure no kill goes unfound. You may allow them to track and hunt their food on their own.

 

Plenty of barn cats fend for themselves by doing their job and can help keep the homestead barn a mouse and snake free place. This may wind up saving your precious eggs from thieves in the night, and keep predators away from your hens.

The Raw Dog and Cat Food Diet

Everyone has their opinions on whether feeding animals raw diets is safe. If you’re allowing your cat or dog to hunt on their own, you’ve already made the decision to allow some of these dangers around your home. If you plan to provide each ingredient for your pet’s food you may want to weigh your options with feeding raw or cooked meals.

Raw meaty bones are controversial even with pro-raw dieters. Some say no whole bone is a safe option for dogs. Others believe that if you’re giving a large meaty beef bone, preferably after a meal, there can be great advantages. Steer clear of poultry and pork bones as they can splinter too easily.

A bone can be a great after dinner treat as long as its longer than the length of the muzzle, and you supervise your dog to make sure no chunks of bone are breaking off. Refrigerate the bone between uses, as it probably still has traces of meat on it, and discard it after a few days of use.

There are both advantages and dangers and associated with the Raw diet. You should always ask your trusted veterinarian their opinion with regards to your pet’s ideal diet. Ask them about what a raw food diet should look like for your pet’s specific needs. They may suggest adding supplements like calcium if you don’t plan to use bones, fish oils for omega 3s and fatty acids, or cod fish oil for DHA.

Like any new food, start out slow to allow your pets body time to adjust. Remember it’s not all or nothing, half raw, half cooked is always an option if raw meat isn’t for you.

Some advantages to the raw diet include:

  • Avoiding Pet Food Recalls – Food recalls that have been recently circulating the mainstream media. When a recall occurs, your pet may have already been exposed to something harmful. Homemade and locally sourced food limits this danger.
  • Oral Health – Better oral health is associated with the raw diet because it requires your pet to tear and chomp on raw meat and bones, creating a flossing and scrubbing action that keeps teeth and gums clean.
  • Weight Maintenance- Because of the higher amount of protein in the raw food diet, a lot of pets lose fat and maintain muscle mass.
  • Muscle Strength – Because of all the work put into chewing and tearing meat from bones, your pets neck, jaws, shoulders and back muscles may strengthen.
  • Better Digestion and Improved stool quality are also associated with the raw diet.
  • Organic Options- Depending on where you get your products, the diet you provide can be free of pesticides and harmful chemicals. Not to mention added hormones you could find in beef and poultry products.

Disadvantages of the raw diet are:

  • Some dog cannot process raw foods due to their level of activity. If your dog is less active, you should feed them less meat.
  • Risk of infectious diseases- Salmonella and E. coli are just some of the infectious diseases that you and your pet could come into contact with while ingesting the raw diet. There is also a risk of shedding these diseases to other pets or people once infected.
  • Nutritional Risks – By not adding enough variety, starting puppies out on a raw diet to early, or making sure you pet is getting the nutrients it needs from animal protein you could risk a nutrient deficiency occurring.
  • Some view the risks of allowing a pet to have meaty bones too great to enjoy the benefits like improved oral health and better breath.

Whether you’re planning to keep your pets with you when SHTF or you’re planning to take the next step in self-sufficient homesteading, learning what your canine or feline friends needs out of their diet and avoiding harmful or toxic products is the first step in providing homemade pet food. Deciding where and how you’ll source your ingredients is essential to creating the raw pet food diet or cooked from scratch recipe’s your pets will love.

Does all this information make your head spin? Do you want to know what to include in your pet’s bowl? Check out some tried and true recipes to get some ideas about what a complete meal looks like and what your pet might enjoy for dinner.

Cat Friendly Recipes

Rice and Chicken recipe

Ingredients

½ pound pulled chicken

1 large hard-boiled egg

¼ cup rice

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Finely chop the boiled egg. Place all ingredients into a saucepan, bring to the boil. When the stock is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid cooks down. The rice will absorb most of the liquid. Remove cat food mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Blend the mixture in a food processor or use an emulsion blender until all the ingredients are well blended and serve.

Beef and Oats Recipe:

1-pound ground beef

1 cup rolled oats

2-3 spinach leaves

3 cups water

1 hard-boiled egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Boil the rolled oats in water until they become very soft and begin to absorb the water. Next, Boil an egg. When it’s cool enough, remove the eggshell and the chop the egg. Add egg into the oats. Chop spinach. If you don’t want it raw, in a fry pan, add the oil and beef and cook thoroughly. Add the beef into the oat and egg mixture and stir in spinach. Finally, mix the ingredients together well.

Dog recipes:

Ground Turkey and veggies:

Ingredients

3 pounds ground or shredded turkey

1 zucchini

1 ½ cups brown rice

3 cups baby spinach

2 carrots

½ cup peas

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

In a large saucepan with 3 cups water, cook rice. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Next add ground turkey and cook until browned. Leftover pulled turkey would work great also. Chop or shred carrots, zucchini and spinach. Finally, stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, and let cool completely.

Beef Stew Recipe:

Ingredients

1 pound of beef chunks

½ cup of flour

½ cup of green beans

1 small sweet potato

½ cup of carrots, diced

½ cup of water or organic vegetable oil,

1 tablespoon of oil of choice for frying

Directions

Bake a sweet potato until its tender, it still needs to be a little firm. Cut stew pieces into desired size chunks based on the size of your dog. Cook the beef chunks in cooking oil until cooked through. Remove the beef chunks from the pan, but don’t forget to save the juices for later.

Cut the sweet potato into small pieces. On low, heat up the leftover beef drippings. Add flour a little at a time to create a thick gravy, keep whisking. Add as much water or oil as needed to the gravy. Add the beef, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat. Let simmer until carrots are cooked through.

Treats:

There’s always room for treats in our house! Some raw veggies, like carrots, peas, and green beans make great treats for your dogs. Your cat may enjoy something steamed like, asparagus, broccoli or celery. If you want to spoil them with a more complex treat option, check out these recipe’s below:

Bacon Biscuits

This is a great way to give your pets a little taste of yummy bacon, without ruining their waistline.

Ingredients:

1/2-lb pastured bacon

3 cups whole grain flour

1 egg

1 cup water or stock

Directions:

Cook the bacon in a pan or bake it in the oven until crispy. Chop the bacon into desired size pieces. Add in all other ingredients. You can add more flour or whichever liquid you chose if needed to make this a semi-hard dough. Add balls of dough to a cookie sheet. You can make large or small biscuits depending on the size of your dog. Flatten to desired thickness, and bake until done.

Dried Liver Treats

These are super lean and healthy for both cats and dogs. First pan fry beef liver in olive oil over low heat until cooked through. Let it cool enough so you can handle it, and slice it to desired thickness. Smaller for cats, bigger for your large breed dog. Spread cooked slices on a baking sheet and slow bake in the oven at 200 degrees F. Turn the slices over after two to three hours until they are dry and crispy.

Catnip Toy

Grab an old sock that you don’t use anymore (a child’s sock works great) or if your crafty you can knit your own little mouse or ball. Just add in a handful of dried catnip, and knot the ankle for hours of free feline intoxication. To make your own dried catnip, just hang a small bunch upside down in a window until dry. Crumble off the leaves in a bag or jar to keep.

What’s your pet’s favorite food? Let us know in the comments section below.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Dogs and cats are a vital part of the homestead or when your prepper nightmare come true. Whether you plan to bug out or bug in, your pet may play

When we work our way toward a goal of self-sufficiency, a lot of times producing and preserving food comes up. There are lots of methods, and there are thankfully things like dry meats, grains and legumes, and fruits and veggies that can go straight into cellars and other cold storage. However, for most of us, canning eventually rears its head. How many canning jars we’ll need depends on whether we’re growing, foraging, fishing, hunting and raising livestock with an aim for total self-sufficiency in a societal breakdown or just some supplementary uses, and what we choose to grow or raise. Either way, we need a pretty big pile of jars (and lids). That’s a big commitment to storage space.

There are several types of canning jar lids that are reusable. That’s an area where everybody can make their own call based on what they prefer. Many of us are going to choose disposables. For every jar we get, we should make sure we have at least a couple of backup lids each.

So how many canning jars do we need? That depends on our plans. Small livestock could potentially be harvested and consumed, but if there’s no working freezer and we’re out of canning jars, taking advantage of migratory birds and preserving beefs and deer is going to be limited to smoking and drying or using up enormous amounts of our stored salts.

When the Granny Miller website was still up and running, the chart below was posted.

VegetableRequirementsChart

You are going to need a butt load of canning jars….

Get More Canning Jars … and Lids

It has flaws but it’s handy in many ways – starting point for row yields, estimating seed and start needs. In this case, it’s canning yields. For two cups of veggies a day for four people, her suggestions would require 800-1200 jars. That’s a lot of jars. That’s not a lot of calories, and most of the veggies won’t leave somebody feeling full for very long. It doesn’t account for cellar potatoes or squashes, grains, or dry legumes, of course. It also doesn’t include any jellies or a lot of never-canned fresh food like lettuces (diet food).

800 jars is a mighty pile alone: 67 flats. In quarts, that’s nearly 700# of storage on its own. It’s eight five-foot stacks taking up a bit over a one-foot square somewhere, or sixteen 2-3’ stacks we could run as a counter in a shed or bedroom if we’re inclined (my pick). We’re looking at devoting a fair amount of space to canning jars if we’re planning to delve in big time and live off our land during a crisis.

Others have also taken a stab at suggesting canning jars for self-sufficiency and preparedness, or jars-per-garden ratios, like the old Victory Garden guides and the “How Many Canning Jars” post (take this with a grain of salt: same totals for an individual as a couple, but the initial per-day breakdown is handy).

And again, to be able to can it all over again, we need spare lids.

canning-jars-breanne

Storage Space for your canning jars

Unless we’re already self-sufficient, it’s unlikely we’re using 800-1200 or more than 2K canning jars each season. That creates a lot of dead space. Jars can be stored outside in extreme temperatures, but it’s still dead space.

Happily, it doesn’t have to be wasted space. We can use our non-canning jars for some of our storage.

Water immediately spring to my mind, since few of us really have enough water storage for a comfortable buffer between a contaminated well or loss of utilities and a backup plan, but that would require actually canning them to seal it – which renders the first batch of lids “used” before a crisis even starts. There are other options, though.

Everyday Life

A lot of my dehydrated produce and herbs ends up in various quart and pint jars. I also keep in instant milk and sour cream powder. The canning jars make a far more bug-resistant storage vessel than Mylar bags or pasteboard boxes, in volumes that I can easily move through. Oxygen absorbers inside the jars keep them nice and fresh in the meantime.

009

Canning jars can be used with and without oxygen absorbers to store temporary and long-term dry foods like nuts, beans & grains, powdered mixes, and dehydrated produce.

We’re a hash brown family – any time, any day, grated potatoes make us happy. Cheesy grated potatoes make us even happier. Since I rarely make one box of instant mac-and-cheese, I tend to cheat a little. They think it’s ‘cause I love them. I’m really using evaporated milk and grating cheese so that I can stash 1-2 packets of cheese powder. That way I can use it for cheesy hash browns on a night or morning I don’t feel like cooking or am rushed.

Not only are there whole canning jar flats of my own and commercially purchased bulk hash browns in my “shop first” closet, there’s an additional flat where all my collected mac-and-cheese packets live. (Yes, we’re that lazy and that addicted to artificial colors and flavors, and we eat that much mac-and-cheese.) When I empty the jar in the pantry, I just pop in and grab more instant cheese flavoring. I do the same thing with those hideous Hamburger Helper cheese toppings.

I also use canning jars to take or send some of the tasty boxed noodles with cheese and cream sauces camping and hiking. A pint fits 2-3 packages much more compactly and with less breakage and more water resistance than their original boxes. That started as a storage supply trick, but it was just so darn handy that now some of our buddies do it just for camping.

filling-canning-jars

Salsa from all your tomatoes and peppers is a great canning idea. Make sure you stock up on chips too.

Canning Jars for Non-Food Storage in Daily Life

Canning jars are allowed for some of our shop-type and office-type detritus, but even though I will boil them all (I know – new rules), I still just mentally can’t deal with some things going in canning jars I will ever want for foods. Too, I don’t want them rolling around and screws and nails gouging the glass and providing a haven for grungies or chemicals.

Image: Canning jars can be used for non-food storage – just be aware of what’s going into them to avoid scratches and harmful chemicals.

Still, I do use them for banana clips, paperclips, sticky pads and flagging stickers, various tiny glue tubes, ear plugs, some sewing supplies, sugar and stirrers when I travel, some drawing-craft supplies, and some animal supplies like Cutter for fleas, the caches of Heartguard, and various dewormers.

I also keep some homemade cloth *bleach* wipes (dish detergent wipes and Windex wipes) in canning jars on my counter, and have trained my family that it’s totally normal to have a canning jar sitting in its lid and rim in the “dump the pockets” alcove and the laundry room. It’s just easier for me to haul the coins to the bank in a reasonable-sized jar with a fitting lid.

Image: I’m not the only one who keeps canning jars available for dumping coins from pockets.

There are all kinds of ways to use canning jars in our daily life. Some of them cross over into preparedness like my cheese sauce packets. Some of them are solely for daily life, like dehydrated peppers in my fridge and coins on my dryer.

30694_strawberry_blueberry_crisp_jar

Whole meals can be canned, in this case dessert!

Salty & Crunchy Snacks can be stored in canning jars

Besides popcorn and banana chips, when we talk about feel-goods for storage, salty and crunchy foods don’t really get a lot of play. Maybe it’s because so many of those items get trashed in storage in bags, have relatively short shelf lives, and are expensive from MRE Depot and Thrive.

That’s the perfect kind of thing for canning jars.

Oxygen absorbers help extend the shelf life of our foods way past the original best-by or expiration date, and the solid walls of the jars keep delicate items safe from being crushed in the vacuum or by other bags. Portable? Not so much, maybe a few jars. But sanity saving in an outage, personal financial reversal, or serious crisis? Almost assuredly.

Think about the mood boost inside a household if you got a $5 packet of O2-absorbers, then took $13, $25 or $50+ dollars to Walmart and the dollar store, and picked up a weekly or monthly something special, something that isn’t another spoon meal like pudding or having peaches instead of berries in oatmeal.

There are also items that we only crave once in a while, but when we crave them, we’re insatiable until we get them. For some of us, those things are crunchies, be they salty or sweet.

Some of the things that can be stored for years in canning jars with oxygen absorbers are:

  • Goldfish & Chez-Its in their many wondrous flavors
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Pretzels (small rods and twists)
  • Tortilla chips (quarts or larger; don’t be silly here)
  • Corn chips
  • Graham cracker blocks
  • Cold cereal
  • Rice Krispies & Chex (yes, they rate their own listing)
  • Cookies (Crisp, dry cookies; not soft ones)
    *Think generics

Depending on the size of the cookies, it may take a couple of quarts and have some “wasted” air space inside per serving, or maybe it’s planned for just a couple of cookies with an evening lemonade or afternoon cup of tea. It depends on family size and cravings, but we don’t want a single cookie almost ever – it just points out that we don’t get cookies much. One exception would be the types of cookies we stick in the side of a bowl of pudding almost as a garnish, something just there as an extra special treat and a little crunchy finger food.

Portion Control

Another really nice aspect of storing our treats in canning jars is the portion control. It’s harder to decide not to eat a whole bag of chips, M&Ms, or cookies, or not make a whole box of Rice Krispy treats when it’s right there. It’s easier if we’ve reached into a specially marked tote or trunk or dark corner of the basement and only brought out a jar or two of whatever our vice is.

I can also shake the stuffing out of cake mixes and divide them between jars, scan the directions, stick those inside with the mix, with the note that it’s half or a third of the total – whichever divides best for the oil and eggs. I don’t usually need a whole cake mix, not really. In a crisis, a single-layer round pan or square pan or a bread loaf pan that’s been split for filling will be a mood boost as it is. When it’s just two or three of us, that’s already more than sufficient for multiple servings. I already split a baking mix when I do dessert for us a lot of the time, or I’ll freeze one layer or one bread loaf pan to turn into biscotti or triffle another time.

In an emergency, I don’t really want leftovers. Even more than now, I don’t want resentments about who got extras and who didn’t, and I don’t want bugs. Better if I can make the right number of cupcakes or a smaller pan of brownies. Canning jars let me do that.

Bonus: Even though they’re clunky and heavy, storing cake mixes in canning jars actually saves a lot of wasted air space in our cache. The jars are also a lot more water and pest resistant than boxes and cellophane.

Portion control with canning jars goes for just about anything, not just baking mixes. I do it with Chex cereal in daily life so I can open a reasonable amount of Chex Mix and not grab a handful from a big cookie jar every time I wander through the kitchen.

Large and small marshmallows for toasting, s’mores, rocky road, or cocoa are common ones in our storage. It’s one of the ways I mentally allot out feel-goods like chocolate chips to add to pancakes or bannock on a monthly basis in a disaster.

That budgeting applies to all phases of prepping storage. One jar of Milky Bones and one of chewies a week, then doggies get no more, or we stand a chance of running through all of them in three months. One jar of Kleenex, then use hankies. One jar of special-treat drink mix packets and extra tea a month, and then it’s just the daily plan for juices and caffeine. One jar of tampons, and then wear the moon cups or cloth pads. One jar of instant seasoning packets, then do it from scratch.

Image: Portion control and “budgeting” using canning jars extends to feel-good consumables and things like custom photo puzzles and miniature, party favor sized toys, games, & crafts.

I even use jars to hold some of the feel-good consumables for holidays and birthdays, and special-treat gimmicks like mini activity books and Oriental Trading Co. craft kits. Some things I store are:

  • sponge-pill animals
  • miniature Farkle & Piggy games
  • marbles, jacks
  • keychain games & puzzles
  • cutesy soaps, lotions, mini body wash
  • custom photo puzzles

By portioning them into jars, I’m not as tempted to give them too often or grab too many at once the way I am with the ones in storage totes.

Canning Jars for Storage

Since we’ll need so many of them in a crisis or to truly go off grid, and since it’s one of the rare household goods items that really doesn’t exist in enough quantity in stores to make for a reasonable resupply once everyone has died off, canning jars and lids are something we should go ahead and lay on – in quantity.

Image: Most stores don’t carry enough canning jars and lids for even one family’s meat or vegetable needs for 3-9 months, so they’re something to stock up on ahead of a disaster – they’re not like hammers and underwear that should still be available well after a major life-ending collapse.

That requires a lot of space, but we can make use of some of the “dead” space with other parts of our storage. Doing so is sometimes even more space efficient than original packaging, even with the density of jars.

Small oxygen absorbers (20cc, 50cc, 100cc) work well to seal jars to the same level that the factory cleaning does when we get them new. By that, I mean that it forms a vacuum. The seal is air-tight and more than sufficient for keeping out moisture. However, it’s not creating so much pressure that it deforms the lids. That means it’s safe to use a lid I’ve vacuum sealed with an O2 absorber for pressure or water bath canning later.

They’re not the lightest things on earth, so we have to make sure we’re using pretty sturdy shelving. Stacking them works, but make sure they’re stacked level or upper boxes like to slide forward and take out the next couple in line with them when they go.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

When we work our way toward a goal of self-sufficiency, a lot of times producing and preserving food comes up. There are lots of methods, and there are thankfully things

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you’re made of. Your body is your most precious thing so take care of it! Did you know that what you eat impacts not only your physical health but also your mood and your mental health?

Cancer and depression are at an all-time peak in history and we can certainly say that processed food has something to do with it.

We have put together a deadly combo list, if you consume all of these regularly, you need to start making changes to your diet asap.

Some of these foods lead to obesity high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

 

Soda

Soda companies say their drinks contains nutrients and vitamins but you shouldn’t really trust this. Soda is bad for you, it contains so much sugar that it’s a ticket to diabetes if you are consuming it everyday. All it contains is a bunch of sugar, food dyes and preservatives.

Soda mess up everything in your body, from your skin, blood sugar levels, to your hormones and mood. Research has shown that drinking soda is tied to early menstruation and poor semen quality. A recent study also revealed that drinking soda frequently was linked with a 20 percent reduction in the average monthly probability of conception for both men and women.

What is so bad in soda? Sugar, colourants and aspartame! Aspartame is not good for the human body and should be avoided. It has been linked to infertility and birth defects through DNA damage and endocrine disruption, which leads to hormonal imbalance.

Canned Foods

Canned food is handy and a good alternative to fresh food when you don’t have the time to cook but you should try and eat fresh food as much as you can. Here are the reasons why:
– Canned food is a hidden source of sugar and contains preservatives
– It contains trace amounts of Bisphenol A (BPA). Even at low doses, BPA has been implicated in various human cancers and developmental disorders.
– You might be ingesting aluminium. The way it works is that the food is put into an aluminum can, the can is then sealed and then heated to cook the food, to supposedly retain the food freshness. Well, it will certainly also retain the aluminum free radicals released during the heating process and contaminating the food. Over a period of time, aluminum accumulation in body can cause memory problem like Alzheimer’s.

 

Try and eat fresh food as much as you can! The risk of developing many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, nervous system disorder and Alzheimer’s goes down by consuming fresh foods that do not have any packaging.

Sugar

 

You have probably heard that sugar is addictive, and it’s true.

Eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot. Because whole foods like fruits and veggies don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure. Similar to drugs don’t you think?

Sugar also ages your skin faster, damages your liver making it resistant to insulin and have other bad effects. It’s basically messing up your body so make sure you start putting honey in your tea and coffee rather than sugar. Also eat fresh food as much as possible, all processed food and ready-to-eat meals contain sugar.

Lunch Meats

 

Lunch meats, also known as cold cuts, luncheon meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, cold meats and deli meats are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot in sandwiches. They can be bought pre-sliced in vacuum packs at a supermarket or grocery store.

This kind of meat is full of nitrates, sodium, preservatives, and additives. Also you’re not always sure where the meat was sourced and what else has been added to it …All these substances can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even behavioral problems and learning difficulties in children.

We strongly recommend you to avoid these foods. It’s better to pay a little more money to buy quality meat from your butcher, even if it means you will eat meat less often. As a matter of facts, guys, you actually don’t need to eat meat everyday, that’s what companies specialised in mass-production want you to believe!

Vegetable Oils

 

Vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed and soybean oils, are rich in a type of fat known as linoleic acid. That acid can lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol when it replaces saturated fats in the diet.

However, be careful about the quality of the oil you’re picking. Some of these oils are GMO and we have no idea yet what long-term effects these products can have.

Also, even though a small amount of these oils is good for us, they are incredibly fat and the amount needs to be really small. You shouldn’t consume more than 12 grams of linoleic acid per day for women between the ages of 19 and 50, and 17 grams for men of the same age. The amount drops slightly over the age of 51.

A tablespoon of oil has 120 calories, and contains 10 grams of linoleic acid, so too much in the diet can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Margarine

 

Margarine is made of vegetable oils (like canola, olive, soybean and safflower), water, salt, emulsifiers, butter flavoring, and yellow, buttery coloring. Not very natural is it? It’s highly processed so that oils remain solid at room temperature. Margarine in stick form is generally hydrogenated to keep its shape and extend its shelf life, and that’s what turns some of the oils into trans fats.

Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids or TFA, are a type of fat found in small amounts in a wide variety of foods. They are considered a ‘bad’ fat because, like saturated fats, they can increase levels of LDL-cholesterol in the blood.

Trans-fat free margarine does exist, but it does often contains palm oil which is also super bad for you, so if you were looking in that direction for diet reasons, you may consider going for butter.

What do we need margarine for anyway? There are way healthier alternatives for cooking like butter, olive oil and avocado oil.

Chips

 

People consumed three times as many chips in 2014 than in 1974, including frozen chips bought in the supermarket, according to a National Food Survey.

A recent survey revealed that eating chips more than twice a week can double your risk of dying. Researchers tracked 4440 people aged between 45 and 79 over an eight-years period, during which time 236 of them died. Looking closely at the participants’ potato-eating habits, researchers identified a marked increase in mortality risk among those who regularly consumed fried potatoes.

It’s important that you eat chips that have been cooked in a healthy way, we mean by that in good oil that hasn’t been reheated. Be careful where you choose to eat. If chips are prepped in good oil that hasn’t been reheated, cooked for not-too-long and naked of mayo and ketchup, it’s okay to have them from time to time.

Bottled Salad Dressings

 

Bottled salad dressings are full of sugar, artificial colours, and high fructose corn syrup. Those dressings are chemicals and what we, human, need is to eat products from the earth and not processed food. Anyway, they don’t even taste that nice.

Drop the bottled salad dressings, and use lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar along with some olive oil for a healthy salad dressing. It’s so much tastier and it only takes two minutes to make your own dressing.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, neotame, acesulfame potassium, etc. might contain fewer calories, but they can still increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.

Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951, make sure you check what products contains it (soda does).

Aspartame acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much of it kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. They basically “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death. That’s the kind of effects it generates when consumed too much: Headaches/migraines. Fatigue, Anxiety attacks, nausea, sleep problems, depression, abdominal pains, vision problems, asthma/chest tightness.

Artificial sweeteners aren’t in any case an healthy alternative to sugar, honey is probably the best option.

Alcohol

 

We’re sorry to break this to you, and we know opinions on the topic are controverted but alcohol has no health benefits. It’s extremely high in calories, can cause dehydration, liver damage, weight gain, depression, and skin problems. Not to mention the bad decisions you make when under the influence.

Alcohol limit consumption is 14 units a week (1 unit being one small drink). Over that, it is a fact that alcohol is harmful for you.
It’s also a cancer risk factor. We understand that life is stressful but for your own sake, when you had a bad day, go to the gym and let go.

Refined flour

If you’ve ever been to a bakery or had a bowl of pasta, you’ve consumed white flour. White flour is a highly refined substance that is used in a variety of processed foods and baked goods because it is light, airy and cheap. Unfortunately, refined white flour is completely stripped of its nutrient value, with means no vitamins, minerals, or fats to speak of.

Vitamins and minerals in our food normally aid the workers (enzymes) of our bodies. When we remove these nutrients from what we consume, we must get them from somewhere else in order to properly metabolize food. Our tissues become the reluctant donors, and this eventually leads to a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, which eventually leads to a health condition.

 

Some of the most popular foods that contain white, refined flour are:

Bread, Pasta, Cookies, Cakes, Pretzels, Chips, Muffins, Crackers, Cereals, Pizza Crust, Pie Crust, Doughnuts

Some healthy flours you can chose instead are almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour (especially good for people with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity), teff flour (an ancient grain, healthier than modern wheat), quinoa flour.

Potatoes

 

We read a lot about the benefits of potatoes, but not so much on the downsides. Potatoes can cause weight gain, depending on the way they are cooked and how often you consume them.

If your potatoes are deep fried, you can expect them to have way more calories than if they’re baked. Another problem with eating potatoes in fried form is that it can be easy to get carried away with them and this is not great for your waistline! Potatoes are also High Glycaemic Foods, which means they can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. When choosing potatoes, you need to watch out for the green colour as this means they probably contain solanine, which is toxic for humans. If you see a green potato in your pack, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so throw this away. Healthier options of potatoes are sweet potatoes, which have less calories and are overall healthier for your body.

Cow’s Milk

If you drink a lot of cow’s milk, it might be time to think again as it could be doing more damage than good. Cow’s milk contains lactose; a sugar which can be difficult to digest. If you are lactose intolerant, which many are, the potential effects of this on the body include nausea, bloating, cramps and many other nasty ailments which can affect day to day life. If you drink a glass of milk and end up with problems with your stomach, you can assume you are lactose intolerant. It is also thought that cow’s milk could be responsible for causing acne and migraines. If you enjoy milk, it is not to say that you can’t consume any, but it is best to avoid in large quantities, or switch to an alternative, such as almond milk, rice milk or coconut milk. Luckily, there are lots of other (tasty!) options out there.

Agave Syrup

We all know that sugar is bad for us, but if you thought about replacing sugar with agave syrup, think again! If possible, this is even worse for you. The reason it is so unhealthy is that it is full of fructose, which can cause weight gain, insulin resistance and even fatty liver disease. Agave syrup is often sold as a healthier replacement for sugar, but it is no such thing and should be avoided at all costs. If you need your dose of agave syrup, just make sure it’s in small quantities, as otherwise it may be damaging for your health. It would be better to replace sugar with a sweetener, if you really need something extra in your tea or coffee! Nothing would be even better; it takes a while, but you get used to it.

Fruit Juice from Concentrate

It may seem like choosing fruit juice from concentrate is just as healthy, if not healthier than drinking water, but this is untrue. The problem with fruit juice from concentrate is that water is removed through several processes; evaporation, filtration and extraction. This means that the fruit nutritional value is much less than you might expect and there are additives used to give it more colour. In short, it might look like it’s bursting with goodness, but it has little nutritional value and additivities which aren’t too great for the body. Stomach ulcers can result from drinking a lot of fruit juice from concentrate and potentially, acid reflux. It’s a healthier option than soda drinks, but it would be much better to drink fresh fruit or water. The nutrients you get from fresh fruit are much higher than fruit juice from concentrate. If you can squeeze the fruits yourself, all the better!

Sports Drinks

 

Sports drinks are often sold in a way to entice you to drink them after a workout, they seem to be full of vitamins and minerals to help you recover after a workout. Unfortunately, this is not the case and sports drinks are not as healthy as they may appear to be.

The reason is that sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. Not as much as soda drinks but not far off it. They also contain artificial flavours and often food colourings. The sugar in the sports drink will spike your insulin, giving you a burst of energy but will cause you to slump straight after. Sports drinks are not good for your insulin or your human growth hormone production. The sodium levels are also often too high in sports drinks, so generally speaking, it is best to avoid these drinks. Nothing can really beat water after a workout, it will hydrate you, without any added sugars or other additives.

Ready Meals

Ready meals may seem like a convenient choice when time is not on your side, but they lack the nutrients you get from preparing and cooking your own meal. Like takeaways, ready meals also have a very high sugar and salt content. The portions may be smaller than a takeaway, but they are so small that they probably won’t fill you up, so you’ll just feel like snacking again soon after. Ready meals also tend to be packed full of chemicals and contain fake vitamins and minerals. Ready meals may seem like a simple option, but they are not worth the money and there are many quick, simple recipes you can cook from scratch.

Raw Cashews

Cashews are well known to be a good addition to your diet, as they contain lots of the good stuff, including protein, fibre and iron. It is important to stick to small quantities though, as they are quite high in calories. Cashews taste great but you want to avoid eating raw cashews. Raw cashews are rarely found in supermarkets but if you find them anywhere, it is safer to avoid them. Cashews in this form are highly poisonous as they contain urushiol, a toxin which is also present in poison ivy and poison oak. The potential side effects include itching of the skin and rashes etc. It may have more serious consequences depending on your reaction. It is safe to eat cashews you find in shops, as these have been roasted to destroy the toxins. However, if you find raw cashews anywhere, it is better to avoid at all costs, as you never know how your body might react.

Kidney and Lima Beans

Kidney and lima beans are fine to eat if they are cooked but you should never eat these beans raw. The reason for this is that raw kidney beans contain lectins which, in undercooked foods, are toxic. Raw lima beans have linamarin and this can turn into hydrogen cyanide, which is also toxic. If you eat raw kidney or lima beans, you could end up very sick. In high quantities, it could even be fatal. It is best to avoid eating beans in raw form, if you cook and drain the beans, they offer a lot of nutritional benefits. Beans are the types of food which you would think would be safe to eat raw but if you are about to tuck into a tin of raw beans, think again – unless you want to end up with nausea, diarrhoea and sickness. Boil for around ten minutes to get rid of all the nasty toxins.

Nutmeg

This delightful spice used as an addition to coffee and other treats, especially during the festive period is not as innocent as it may seem. It may be hard to believe this, but nutmeg is also a hallucinogenic drug, if consumed in large quantities. The powerful drug is like taking a dose of LSD, with effects lasting as long as 12 hours. The side effects after this include a dry mouth and panic attacks and symptoms similar to a hangover, lasting as long as two days. A large dose would be difficult to eat as nutmeg is not soluble and is not designed to be consumed in this way. Nutmeg of course, in small doses, sprinkled over food etc is perfectly fine but avoid in large doses. You would really need to be seeking to eat a high dose though, as it won’t be very enjoyable chocking down large quantities of nutmeg.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is a sweetener which is made from corn starch and can be found in a range of foods, including soda, candy, frozen foods and even salad dressing. You may even find it in your breakfast cereal, granola bars or ice cream. It is often sold as a healthy option, but it is far from it. There are many more foods which contain high fructose corn syrup, so it is worth checking the label if you are concerned. It may seem like a good alternative to sugar, but, it’s just as bad for you. High fructose corn syrup may be a contributor to obesity, cancer, tooth delay, liver failure and other problems, especially if it is consumed in large quantities. It is best to avoid this altogether as it doesn’t offer any real value to your health. The foods which contain high fructose syrup, including candy and soda, should never be eaten with any regularity anyway, as they are not good for your overall health.

Rhubarb Leaves

Rhubarb is often used in pies, desserts or eaten on their own, but it is important to stick to eating just the stalk and not the leaves. Rhubarb leaves contain a chemical compound, oxalic acid which is poisonous. This is also present in other everyday foods, such as broccoli, but the quantity is much higher in rhubarb leaves, which is why it is poisonous. If you eat a high volume of rhubarb leaves, it could be lethal but even if you stick to a small amount, you can end up being sick or suffering from nausea. Other known symptoms of consuming rhubarb leaves include, burning in the mouth and throat, kidney stones, eye pain and seizures. There is not really any safe way to eat rhubarb leaves, as you don’t know what effect they may have on you due to the oxalic acid, so best to just avoid these completely.

Raw Eggs

You’ll probably heard of people who eat raw eggs, they are particularly popular with athletes. Although there are some potential benefits to eating raw eggs, including Vitamin D and omega-3’s, there are also potentially serious drawbacks. There is the potential for raw eggs to be contaminated, particularly with the hazardous bacteria, Salmonella enteritidis, usually just known as salmonella. Salmonella is basically food poison from eating contaminated food which lives in the stomach and grows. As the stomach and digestive tract are affected, the result of this is diarrhoea, cramping, nausea and other stomach problems. The ailments could potentially be even more serious than this. The likelihood of raw eggs being contaminated is small, however, it may be worth avoiding eating eggs in this way, as you can never be sure what you’re getting. Cooking your eggs is a much healthier option!

Raw Meat

If raw meat is contaminated, it can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease which can lead to several ailments, including muscle pain, headache, sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes. The symptoms may be more severe if you already have problems with your immune system. These may include blurred vision and confusion. Of course, not all raw meat is contaminated and even if it is, there is nothing to guarantee that you’ll get sick, but there is always a risk. The risks associated with eating raw meat are not as bad if the meat is fresh, however, if the meat has been left out in the air, it will start to decay, which means it will attract bacteria. Human beings are not really designed to eat raw meat, so it is highly likely that you will have an upset stomach, if you are not used to eating it. The best way to prevent this is to make sure your meat is cooked all the way through.

Raw Honey

We are often told about the benefits of honey, not so much about the downsides. Honey is filtered, which removes the particles and pollen grains, but raw honey can end up with some pollen grains and this has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Those with hay fever should be extra careful about consuming raw honey as this could cause serious reactions. Raw honey may also have the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which can cause intestinal botulism, and this can have some nasty symptoms, including lethargy, muscle weakness and in some cases, it could even be fatal. Intestinal botulism is most common in younger children, but it can affect anyone. It is advisable not to feed honey to young children under one year old. If you have allergies, it is also a good idea to avoid eating raw honey.

Bitter Raw Almonds

Almonds are a super healthy snack and we are often encouraged to add these to our diet. However, if you have ever bitten into a bitter raw almond, there is a real reason it tastes so bitter, and it’s not pretty! Almonds have a small amount of cyanide in them, but bitter almonds suggest that there is a higher quantity of cyanide than there should be. Cyanide can prevent oxygen getting around our body, if eaten in high quantities and this can cause a drop in blood pressure, respiratory failure and in some cases, it could even cause death. Almonds are great but if you taste a bitter almond, don’t be tempted to carry on and eat it, these almonds are not good and shouldn’t be consumed. Cyanide is good in small quantities which you get from normal almonds, but in large quantities, cyanide’s effects are deadly.


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

Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you're made of. Your body is your most precious thing so take care of it! Did you know that what

Kit, gear, or whatever you like to call it. The equipment we buy to survive, protect, get home, bug out etc. Some of us that have served in the military and had to use all kinds of gear for our jobs, we realized some of it was excellent and some just didn’t work for us. So we either bought or improvised our gear or kit to ensure we had what worked for us. This article will discuss more about organizing your survival kit into levels more so than the specific contents. I will discuss each level in more detail in further articles.

When it comes to buying your kit, look at what works for you. Do not go and buy the latest and greatest because of a slick marketing campaign or trend. Always find the biggest bang for your buck. A word of caution, do research and read reviews of those who used and/or tested the gear. You do not want to buy cheap gear that won’t last, but you don’t also have to buy expensive gear that does not work for you. So it is a personal choice. I don’t buy just from a single brand, I own items from various manufacturers like:

  • HSGI taco pouches
  • TAG battle belt
  • 5:11 backpacks
  • Duluth pants
  • Solomon hiking boots
  • Boker knives
  • SOG multi tools, etc.

I research the items for the specific need I will use it and in most cases look at the multipurpose use of the item. I also look for the compatibility of the brands with other brands for modularity. One note to make; be sure to check the fastex buckles on the items, not all brands use the same type of buckle and make sure they are good for the weight/tension that will be placed on them. You don’t want to be moving through the Appalachians to your bug out location and have your chest rig fail and fall apart at the wrong moment. You will need to be ready to make some field repairs once you establish security. So always have some 550 cord, heavy-duty sewing needles, 100 MPH tape and/or sturdy safety pins on hand.

 

When I plan out my survival kit or gear, I think of it in levels. Each level has a purpose and compliments the others. One level of kit has duplicate items as the others so you can resupply your lower level kits or it has more robust items that may weigh heavier and require more logistics. In each kit you need the basic sustainment items to build a fire, gather, carry and purify water, build a shelter, signal for help or link up, hunt or trap for food, fix things and basic medical needs like trauma to colds. The higher the level of kit, the more you have at your disposal.

Level 1 Kit – Think of Every Day Carry (EDC)

Level 1 should be items that you will have on your person no matter what you are doing. Some items are a good knife (folder or fixed), Flashlight, Watch, Wrist compass, Lighter, 550-cord bracelet, Multi-tool, and/or Concealed carry firearm. So imagine walking around the mall with your family, what do you have on your person that can help in a crisis? Medical items can be a CAT tourniquet on your belt or in a pocket to a bandana for an improvised tourniquet. It would be hard to always have that IFAK level of TCCC gear on your person. There are some decent “Patrol” IFAK’s out there that are slim in design.

Level 2 Kit

Should be some kind of load bearing equipment. Like a chest rig, old style LBE, or battle belt (w or w/o suspenders). It is also your get home bag, since this bag is smaller than a bug out bag and only set up to “get you home” it will have supplemental items that are similar to your chest rig. So depending on your scenario, you might only have the GHB and not your chest rig. I will discuss more on the GHB in another article.

 

On this level you can have items that will augment your level 1 kit. Enable you to carry ammunition for your rifle and/or pistol to be readily available. You will have your Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) attached. You can also add more items for redundancy (2 is 1 and 1 is none). This kit can be kept in your vehicle, place of work or at your residence.

Level 3 Kit

This kit should be a back pack of some type, about 4,000 to 6,000 cubic inches or 65 to 95 liters. This would be considered a week-long bag. A bug out bag should not only be “72 hrs.” you should have enough gear to last you 5-7 days depending on your skill sets, AOR, and proximity of your other levels of kit. This level 3 Kit is also used as your Bug out Bag, which will be discussed further in another article. Remember, Bugging Out refers to leaving your homestead to another location for an undetermined amount of time. Hopefully you have planned out your scenarios to ensure you have the mindset, skill sets, tactics and kit to make it to where you are going. This kit should be kept in your home, unless you plan on bugging out from your work location etc.

Level 4 Kit

This Kit should be several durable containers or bags that you can load into your vehicle. The containers could be pelican cases, action packers, military kit bags or other type of durable containers. They should not be too large to move by oneself. Your vehicle should be part of this level of kit. Since you can load more fuel, water and gear in and on your vehicle. Your GHB bag, that you take with you to work and trips will become a “bail out bag” if you have to retreat from your vehicle under duress. Level 4 should contain items that will aid you in moving longer distances to get to your destination. Ideally, it is located at your house to aid you if you need to bug out and move to your cabin in the Appalachians.

 

If you are departing from your house, load up your Level 3 Backpack and your level 2 GHB (now bail out bag) and/or Chest rig for additional augmentation depending on the situation. If you have to move on foot due to vehicle breakdown, then you have your Level 3 backpack, level 2 chest rig and GHB is you designed it to attach to your Level 3 BOB. But one thing to remember always make every attempt to stay with and repair your vehicle during a crisis. Your vehicle provides a lot of advantages but also has several disadvantages. It may give you a sense of security, noise, harder to hide, and mobility is restricted to where a vehicle can go.

As you can see, the levels of kit you have, augment and complement each other. Don’t forget your homestead should also have plenty of supplies. You could use this TTP and make your house your level 5. So depending on your scenario, you may not have all levels of kit with you. I normally have my Level 1 (EDC), Level 2 (GHB), and Level 4 (modified) with me whenever I drive my vehicle anywhere within my AOR. If I have to drive further like to another state or across the country, I add more items to my Level 4.

How to use your levels of kit

You should always use your kit from the highest to the lowest, Level 4 to Level 1. So you always have the critical gear on your person if you need to abandon the vehicle or your backpack. If you do use items form your level 1 or 2 use the higher levels to resupply those items. For example while I was in the military it was SOP that we drink out of our 2 QT canteens attached to our rucksacks before we drink out of our 1 QT canteens on our LBE/Chest rig. This way if we did a recon patrol without our rucksack we had full canteens or if we made contact and had to ditch/destroy our rucks we had full canteens.


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

Kit, gear, or whatever you like to call it. The equipment we buy to survive, protect, get home, bug out etc. Some of us that have served in the military

Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people.

To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to make a shelter and fire. Some people believe it’s mostly about securing their finances against market fluctuations, while others feel it’s about defending themselves and their property.

Regardless of what first comes to mind when you consider this important issue, we’re all going to have to eat after a disaster strikes. None of us will be able to survive the coming crisis without the vitamins and minerals that come from food. And that food must be packaged and stored properly if it’s going to remain nutritious for many years.

Of course, there are other factors involved in stockpiling survival food for the future. We’ll eat anything if we have to, but good-tasting food will make the situation much better, as will a significant amount of variety. The food also needs to be nourishing because a crisis will produce stress and we’ll need all the nutrients we can get to deal with that. With the electrical grid likely to be knocked out for a while following a disaster, the food we store should also be simple to prepare.

And despite how good our food tastes, how much variety we incorporate into our stockpile, how nutritious it is and how easy it is to prepare, it needs to be packaged and stored in a manner that will ensure its longevity. None of us knows how long it will be until a major emergency occurs, and none of us has any idea how long that emergency will last.

Let’s take a look at several long-term food storage components, starting with the most common mistakes people make when they begin their stockpiling process.

10 FOOD STORAGE ERRORS TO AVOID

Do you know who the biggest believers in the importance of storing food and water for emergencies are? It’s probably the victims of disasters that have occurred in this country over the past 15 years or so, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tornadoes in Oklahoma, Alabama and elsewhere, and snowstorms in the Great Lakes regions.

gettyimages-452124739-1Few people would disagree that it’s a good idea to store emergency food and water, but the folks who are most convinced are the ones who wish they had been prepared for the tragedies they experienced. Many of them are now ready to face the next crisis because they realize from first-hand experience how crucial it is to be prepared.

What some people are not quite as sure about, however, are the best types of food to stockpile, as well as the strategies for storing it in a manner that will maximize its usage once it comes time to access it. There are many mistakes made in this area, and the downside is significant. A lot of hard work can go to waste because just when emergency food is needed most, people can discover that their stored food has gone bad.

There are a number of examples regarding how this can happen. Someone could have huge amounts of grains stored, for instance, but quickly learn that too much of a good thing is not really that good. Balance and variety are essential, and not merely for your digestive system. They are also a psychological help to you and your family, especially if the emergency situation lasts for days, weeks or months.

Another very important factor is the type of containers in which you store food. If there is exposure to air and moisture, it can ruin your food storage tactics. In addition, where you keep those containers is crucial because high temperatures and light can negatively influence vitamins, proteins and fats.

Other factors include your food’s nutritional quality and how frequently you rotate it. You also want to make certain that the majority of food you store does not require refrigeration because a power outage would spoil those foods quickly. Finally, keeping some food at multiple locations is important, because your home could be destroyed in a disaster, or you might not be able to get back to it right away.

Here are 10 common food storage mistakes:

1. Ignoring the importance of nutrition in stored food. This happens more frequently than one might think. Sometimes we’re so concerned about the volume of food we store that we forget about vitamin and mineral content.

2. Using sacks or other containers that are not airtight. This is wrong for a variety of reasons. Air and moisture will greatly decrease the shelf life of stored food. In addition, containers that are not airtight increase the chances that insects or critters might get into your food.

3. Failing to keep food containers in a dry, cool place. Moisture and heat are two of the worst enemies of stored food. The storage temperature for most food should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Failing to keep food containers out of the light. You definitely want to head to the
dark side when it comes to storing food. Light can deplete the vitamin content of food.

5. Storing too many items that need refrigeration. As mentioned, it’s very likely a crisis will include the loss of power, which means your refrigerated items will spoil quickly without a generator.

6. Failing to include enough variety. After a couple of days of eating the exact same thing, you and your family are going to want something different.

7. Failing to include at least a small percentage of “comfort” foods. In addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, comfort foods will give you and your family a big psychological lift in a crisis.

8. Failing to check expiration dates and rotate stored foods. In each container, organize food by expiration date. When an item’s expiration date is approaching, eat that food – or donate it to a shelter – and replace it with newer food.

9. Failing to keep your stockpile discreet. Advertising to others that you have a stash of survival food could make you vulnerable when a crisis hits. Keep your preparations on the down low.

10. Storing all the food in one location. This is the classic case of putting all your eggs in one basket. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, you’ll be glad you kept food and water at a secondary location.

gettyimages-151910897-1

Some folks believe that freeze-drying is the way to go with long-term food storage. While it’s effective, it’s also very expensive and strips the food of some of its vital nutrients.

Another common technique in the food storage industry is the cheaper “rapid dehydration” method that sucks all the water out quickly. But it can also pull out flavor and nutrients. Low-heat dehydration is a proven technique that keeps flavor and nutrition locked in, and that food will last just as long as freeze-drying without costing an arm and a leg.

Two main advantages to dehydrating food are that it can stay fresher longer and can be stored and transported more easily. Water in food can carry bacteria, which will make that food go bad sooner, and it also weighs down that food.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, dehydrating food would be a great way to prepare it for your stockpile. It will be more compact and easier to store as you keep it at home, and it will be lighter and more easily packed if you need to bug out. And anytime you want a quick and nutritious meal prior to a crisis situation, all you have to do is rehydrate it and eat it without having to bother looking for an expiration date.

Figure on dehydrated meat lasting only about two months, but many dehydrated fruits and vegetables will be good for a year or so. If you dehydrate herbs, they can probably last for several years.

In order to dehydrate some of your food, you can either use an oven set at a low temperature or invest in a modern, electronic dehydrator. That way, you can make food with an expiration of one month last about 12 months. You don’t want to go much beyond a year in most cases because at that point, even though the water has been removed, it’s likely the nutrients will start breaking down.

Regardless, storage is the key. Once you’ve dehydrated various foods, place them in airtight, plastic containers such as Mylar bags. You may think you’ve squeezed all of the oxygen out of a bag, but there is probably a small amount left, so use an oxygen absorber.

As far as rehydrating that food is concerned, all you have to do in most cases is place it in boiling water and stir, providing a little time for it to thicken.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTE

Yes, we will eat anything if we’re starving, but consuming foods that don’t taste good to us is a real challenge. Just when we need that food the most, tasteless food could be tough to swallow – literally and figuratively.

Make sure that the food you put into long-term storage includes top-quality ingredients. Think of the recipes that have proven to be your family’s favorites through the years, and focus on them.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION

Everybody knows it’s important to eat food that’s good for you. Well, that’s going to become even more important after the stuff hits the fan. Being able to perform at peak capacity under pressure will be essential when we’re dealing with a crisis, and eating healthy food will go a long toward accomplishing that goal.

Be certain that your survival food is jam-packed with nutritional value, preferably food that takes 100 percent non-GMO fruits and vegetables as
its starting point and ideally food that is grown, harvested and made from scratch here in America.
gettyimages-465990069-1

THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIETY

Have you ever noticed that many foods taste great if you haven’t had them for a while, but not quite as good if you ate them recently and definitely not as good if you ate them yesterday? Our taste buds – not to mention our minds – react differently to foods based on how long it’s been since we’ve eaten them.

Variety in survival food is extremely important… for taste, for nutritional value and for the psychological effect. Make sure you stockpile a nice variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks and desserts. These foods might include oatmeal, powdered milk, soups, stews, rice, pastas, potatoes, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PACKAGING

Another key factor to consider with long-term food storage is packaging. There’s not much point in stockpiling survival food if your food isn’t going to survive. It needs to stay good for a long time.

It’s vital to keep air and moisture out and to have a durable package that can take a few bumps over the years without bursting. The best way to ensure that result is to use space-age Mylar packaging that gets placed inside airtight containers, so look for sealed Mylar pouches with less than 2 percent oxygen content.

Mylar is what NASA uses in spacesuits to protect astronauts from solar-thermal radiation. So, you know your food will be protected against all the elements Mother Nature could throw at it. This barrier against air, moisture and light – the three things that will destroy food over time – is possible even with re-sealable pouches.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLICITY

Now, none of that time-consuming packaging process makes any sense if it doesn’t contain great-tasting, nutritious food capable of lasting a long time and that is simple for you to prepare. A majority of your stockpiled survival food should require only boiling water, simmering and serving.

WHAT ABOUT CANNED FOOD?

Some survival websites will tell you that canned food is very good for long-term storage, while others will tell you it’s not. Although it can have some drawbacks – weight and portability, for example – canned food is probably better than many people think… especially if you’re hunkered down and don’t have to lug it around.

While you would not want to live exclusively on canned foods, they have their place, especially when one is on a tight budget. Many folks are living paycheck to paycheck during these rough economic times. They barely have enough money to feed themselves and their families, let alone stock up on foods that can sometimes be expensive.

As a more economical option for part of your emergency food supply, put together a stockpile of canned foods. Many of the same foods that people eat on a regular basis are available in canned form, including vegetables, soups, meats, fish, stews, beans, pasta and many more. Canned foods can be nutritious and rich in protein, which people will need for keeping up their strength when they’re dealing with a crisis.

Of course, there is the issue of shelf life when it comes to canned food. Cans also take up a lot of space, and they are heavy. If you have to grab your emergency food supply quickly and head out the door, cans are not your ideal choice. In addition, epoxy resins containing Bisphenol A (BPA) are frequently used as coatings on the insides of cans, which has raised some health concerns. And while it’s extremely rare, some people have contracted botulism from canned food.

But below are seven reasons why you might want to consider having at least some canned food in your survival stash:

1. Price. When you purchase items in bulk, you can save up to 75 percent by acquiring most canned foods rather than freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Even if you’re not able to buy in bulk, you will still save money with canned foods.

2. Long Lasting. Many canned foods have a shelf life of between one and several years. You should still rotate your supply occasionally and eat the food if the expiration date is getting close, but there’s peace of mind knowing that most canned foods last a long time.

3. Variety. People will eat the same thing over and over again if they’re hungry enough, but everyone appreciates having choices. You can acquire a wide variety of canned foods that should keep pretty much everybody in the family happy for a while.

4. Calories. The last thing you should be worrying about in a survival situation is weight watching. So what if some canned foods are high in calories? Focus on what will be important in that situation, not on how you’re thinking right now. You’re going to need those extra calories when you’re in survival mode.

5. Water. There’s very little water in freeze-dried and dehydrated foods (although there is usually a small amount), but most canned foods contain the water that will make preparation easier. Yes, that also makes them heavier, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re able to stay put to ride out a crisis situation.

6. Familiarity. Most families normally eat foods such as chicken, beef, ham, fish, vegetables, stews, beans and pasta, all of which are available in canned form, plus many more. In a time of crisis, familiarity will go a long way to “normalizing” what you and your fellow family members are going through.

7. Safe Storage. Bugs and rodents can sometimes infiltrate boxes and bags, but seldom do they break through a can.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Regardless what kind of food you stockpile and how you store it, do whatever you can to keep survival food (and other essentials) in more than one location. Those who have gathered large amounts of bottled water, canned food, toiletries and a host of can openers, flashlights, batteries, radios, blankets, clothing, first-aid kits and weapons need to keep a portion of those items in multiple locations.

A home is a great place to stockpile food, and that’s where many people keep their largest supplies because that’s where they and their families are most likely to be when the stuff hits the fan. And even if they’re not home at that exact moment, they will probably be in a position to return there shortly.

Homes are not only where most people keep the majority of their emergency supplies, but also where they’ve spent time and money to secure their belongings. If a breakdown in society occurs following a disaster, they want to be as prepared as possible to protect their families and possessions.

But what if their homes are destroyed or severely damaged by whatever crisis occurs? If that’s the only place where we have our emergency goods including food stockpiled – and we either can’t get to them or they’ve been destroyed by the disaster – we will have wasted a huge amount of time and money preparing for the exact scenario in which we find ourselves.

It is absolutely essential that you keep supplies in multiple locations. If you have a year’s supply of goods at home, keep six months’ worth in at least one other place. If you have six months’ worth of goods at home, store at least three months’ worth at a secondary location.

Now the question becomes, exactly where should your second and perhaps third locations be? There are several important factors to consider. For one, these other locations need to be close enough to get to, yet far enough away that they’re unlikely to be affected by the same disaster that just did a number on your home.

Just as important, these locations have to offer the same features that your home does – a cool, dry place where food and water won’t be negatively affected by sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide where those second and possibly third locations will be, but among the possibilities are a storage unit that you can rent, a root cellar or storage bunker on your property but away from your house, inside a separate building that you own in town, within a building that a trusted friend owns, or buried in a remote area where only you would think to look.

Finally, as all good preppers know, don’t advertise the fact that you have stockpiled food and water in your home and at other locations. People
will remember that, and you could have some unwelcome visitors following a disaster.

gettyimages-182380705-1

INCLUDE COMFORT FOODS IN YOUR SUPPLY

The word “comfort” sure is comforting, isn’t it? When you think of that word, you might imagine lying in a hammock on a warm summer day, or relaxing on a porch with a beverage on a pleasant evening, or sitting by the fireplace with a cup of coffee when it’s cold outside.

Yes, it’s important to keep your body healthy by eating nutritious food that will provide you with the energy you need. That will be especially true during a crisis when you might be on the move and when your stress level will be higher.

But giving your family members and yourself an emotional lift once in a while with some foods you and they love will do wonders for everyone’s state of mind. And you can’t underestimate the value of keeping attitudes upbeat at a time when depression could easily set in.

So, what is meant by comfort foods? Anything that goes down easy, tastes great, is easy to prepare and reminds you of a time when things were better. Are most of them “healthy” and “natural?” Probably not, although some are. Some are probably high in calories and carbohydrates, and some include a little too much sugar.

But if a vast majority of the foods you are consuming are nutritious, you can afford to eat a snack once in a while that may be better for your attitude than it is for your cholesterol level.

If you asked 15 different people to list their top 15 comfort foods, you’d probably get 15 different lists. But there would certainly be some overlap. Here’s one list that comes to mind.

Hard candies. Some people’s favorites are caramel and butterscotch, but you might prefer cherry, root beer, butter rum or other flavors.

Chocolate pudding. This might be the universal kid-favorite comfort food, but adults love it, too.

Popcorn. You don’t have to be watching a movie to enjoy it, but it’s difficult to watch a movie without it.

Pizza. Are you kidding? Few people don’t like pizza, despite the great debate about which is better – thin crust or deep dish.

Mac and cheese. Another item that few kids will turn down. Many children love it when mom adds hot dog slices to their mac and cheese plate.

Candy bars. Yes, there’s too much sugar. But you don’t have to live off of them. But once in a while, a Three Musketeers, Snickers or Milky Way really hits the spot.

Peanut butter. Most people use this as a spread, but have you ever put a spoonful in your mouth and just savored it?

Hot chocolate. There should be a federal law requiring parents to serve this when their kids come in from playing in the snow.

Honey-coated banana chips. Those who’ve never tried them before rave about them after finally tasting them.

Freeze-dried yogurt bites. Ditto.

Granola bars. These are almost too healthy to count as comfort foods, but they’re included because they taste great and are so easy to open and pop in your mouth.

Trail mix. Dried fruits and nuts are tasty, and many enjoy the kind of trail mix that cheats by including M&Ms and chocolate chips.

Coffee or tea. For some folks, coffee is not a comfort food; it’s an absolute necessity. For others, it could be a pleasant reminder of more normal times.

Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes. A nutritionist just rolled over in her grave, but as long as you don’t fill an entire bug-out bag with them, you’re probably OK.

WHAT ABOUT PET FOOD STORAGE?

Regardless of whether a disaster causes us and our families to hunker down or bug out, our pets are going to stay with us and receive as much care as we are capable of providing them. These furry creatures are part of the family and are treated that way.

Now, you might keep much of your family’s emergency food supply in space-age Mylar bags, which is a great idea because you may want that food to last a very long time. But most of your animals are probably not going to live another 25 years, crisis or no.

gettyimages-497894708-1

THE BAGS ARE LOADED

There’s good news for you. The bags in which your pets’ dry food are sold are perfectly capable of keeping that food fresh for a couple of years. The only thing to be concerned about here is making sure there are no rips or tears in the bags before you purchase them.

But just because you don’t need to remove your pets’ food from those bags and place it in Mylar bags doesn’t mean you can just toss the bags into the crawlspace and forget about them.

Give a mouse or another rodent access to a bag made of paper and he won’t need long to scratch his way in. Unless your goal is to keep mice happy and healthy following a crisis, this is not the way to go.

USE AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS

You need to pack your pets’ dry food bags in airtight plastic containers then place those containers in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. And once you open a bag, the oxidation process will start, so make sure to use all of its contents within six months at the most.

Also, you need to rotate this pet food periodically. If the expiration dates on the bags are difficult to read, write the date that you placed it in storage on the bag with a black Sharpie. Then use the oldest food each time, assuming it has not expired.

One note to consider here. If you feed your pets “natural” dry food, you may be giving them something that is healthier for them than “regular” pet food. But due to its lack of preservatives, natural pet food will not last as long.

CONSIDER CANS

Many people prefer dry pet food to canned food, but canned food does have the advantage of lasting longer… sometimes up to five years. The storage principle is the same here. Keep it in a cool, dry place. Although cans are much more difficult to infiltrate than bags, you should still keep them in an airtight container.

FREEZE-DRIED OPTION

Another option is freeze-dried pet food. Assuming nearly all of the moisture has been removed, it should stay good for a number of years. But the plastic packages it normally comes in are not meant for long-term storage, so transfer the food to Mylar bags and then store them in airtight containers. Toss an oxygen absorber into the container while you’re at it.

HOMEMADE NEEDS HOMEWORK

For you DIYers who make your own pet food, you’re probably doing your pets a favor by feeding them a diet that does not contain additives and preservatives. But as with store-bought “natural” dog food, you really need to do your homework before canning that food in order to figure out how long it will stay good.

CONCLUSION

Whether you build your own food stockpile or purchase a ready-made solution, the bottom line is you actually have to do it, not just talk about it. And when you do, make sure it’s stored in a manner that will ensure its value and longevity. Then and only then can you rest easy, knowing you’ve done what you could to prepare for whatever comes your way.

Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people. To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to

Bread is a truly wonderful food. It tastes good no matter what you do to it — whether you’re toasting it and slathering it with butter, or covering it in eggs and making French toast for breakfast. Heck, it’s even delicious when you’re eating it completely plain. Bread is a super versatile item in the kitchen when cooking or baking, but what you may not have realized is that even when you’re not eating it, bread can be used for so many other things around the house. There are so many weird things you can do with bread that, after reading this, you’ll want to make sure you always have a loaf in your kitchen, just in case. Basically, to quote the great Oprah Winfrey, “I love bread. I love bread.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re using white bread, multigrain bread, whole wheat, sourdough, or rye — any type will work for these life-changing hacks. Bread of all kinds can be a valuable tool when it comes to cleaning your house (seriously!), and it can actually bring certain foods back to life (more on that in a minute). Honestly, I’m not quite sure why bread hasn’t been labeled a superfood yet, because it deserves the title.

Check out these weird things you can do with bread, and prepare to see this item differently for the rest of your life.

Remove Stains

Sometimes, cleaning requires products full of chemicals and bleach that will destroy everything in its path. Other times, though, you’ll be just fine with a natural cleaner — in fact, you may even be better off. According to Country Living, bread is an excellent natural cleaner. White bread or rye bread rolled into a ball is basically an eraser that can lift stains off walls, wallpaper, kitchen cabinets, and more. The site advises dabbing gently at the surface with the rolled-up bread ball, and you’ll notice the smudges and marks disappear.

Soak Up Grease Spills

Bread doesn’t just get rid of smudges or tiny marks. It’s also incredibly helpful in soaking up annoying grease stains, which can be difficult to get rid of. Simply take a piece of bread and lay it over the stain, pressing gently until it goes away.

Treat Calluses

According to Fluster Buster, bread is a lifesaver when it comes to fixing calluses and other various foot ailments. For calluses and corns, you can soak a piece of bread in apple cider vinegar, then place it on the callus. Tape the bread in place, cover it in plastic wrap, and let it sit overnight.

For boils, you can soak a piece of bread in some milk, then apply it to the affected area, tape it in place, and allow it to dry overnight — it will drain out the liquid.

Prevent Vegetables From Smelling Weird

You know how some vegetables get super smelly when you cook them? (I’m looking at you, broccoli and cauliflower.) You can eliminate that odor with bread. Simply place a piece of bread on top of the vegetables in the pot to get rid of the stinky smell.

Revive Stale Marshmallows

Marshmallows are delicious — until they get stale and hard. But if that happens, don’t toss the bag just yet. According to Food and Wine, you can put a squishy piece of bread in a plastic bag with the marshmallows, seal it, and give them a few days to sit. They should become fluffy again, just like magic.

Remove Splinters

Removing splinters with tweezers can be painful. Using bread, you can make a poultice that gets the job done. According to Genius Kitchen, you can fold a handkerchief along the diagonal, place the bread on the handkerchief, pour boiling water over the bread (don’t let it get dripping wet), and then let it cool slightly. Place it over the splinter. Tie the ends of the handkerchief around the part of your body where the splinter is, elevate that body part if possible, and keep the bread on there as long as you can. You can repeat if necessary, until the splinter is close to the surface of your skin and easily removable with tweezers.

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, you can also soak bread in cool milk, press out the milk, and apply the bread to the affected area, then tape it there, and let sit for a few hours or overnight. After, the splinter will have risen close to the surface of your skin, or (if it’s not that deep of a splinter), it may be removed from your skin completely. Easy peasy!

Clean Old Paintings

If you have old paintings in your house, you’ll notice that they might get full of smudges, dust, or dirt. The best way to clean them is actually with bread. According to The Brick House, you can rub the soft spot of white bread all over the painting. Be gentle, and just run the bread over the surface. It kind of works like a sponge to pull off grime and dust.

Make Bread Art

If you really want to get creative, look into bread art. There are basically a million different ways to mold bread into something aesthetically pleasing. You might not want to eat it when you’re done, but you will want to put it on display for everyone to see!

Cut Onions Without Crying

No one enjoys cutting onions because of how much they burn your eyes, leaving you teary. Apparently though, bread can help. If you put a piece of bread in your mouth while cutting, it will absorb the sulfates that cause the tears.

The Farmer’s Almanac also suggests spearing a piece of stale bread with your knife and sliding it up to the end of the blade near the handle to absorb the sulfates.

10 Fix Burnt Rice

Burning rice happens to the best of us. Unfortunately, it’s not very tasty… at all. But bread can make things better! The Healthy Home Economist recommends putting a slice of bread on top of the rice, covering it, and letting it finish cooking. Use a regular slice of bread instead of crust. The bread will absorb any burnt taste that might be there.

11 Pick Up Broken Glass

Picking up tiny pieces of broken glass can be made easier with a piece of bread. Simply press it gently on the area, and it will snatch up all the teensy pieces.

12 Clean A Coffee Grinder

To clean out a coffee grinder, The Farmer’s Almanacrecommends pinching off three or four small pieces of stale bread, grinding them in your grinder, dumping the crumbs, and then wiping the inside of the grinder clean. Voila!

13 Keep Cake Fresh

Once a cake is cut, it can get stale quickly. To keep it fresh, simply put a piece of bread against the cut part and leave it there.

14 Skim The Fat Off Soup

If you notice a lot of fat on the top of your soup, you can easily get rid of it by skimming a piece of bread along the top. It absorbs the oil and grease quickly in a mess-free way.

Honestly, I’m beginning to feel like there’s no problem in life that bread can’t fix.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Bread is a truly wonderful food. It tastes good no matter what you do to it — whether you’re toasting it and slathering it with butter, or covering it in

When disaster strikes, will you be ready? Will you be organized, calm, and ready to adapt to whatever the situation brings? Sometimes we have some warning, and sometimes things happen out of the blue. There is one simple secret that will allow you to sail through nearly any crisis. It doesn’t cost a lot of money or take up an entire roomful of storage space: acceptance.

You can’t take the actions that could save your life until you have accepted the fact that something bad enough has happened that those actions need to be taken.

The more time you spend denying that this  – whatever “this” is – could ever happen to you, happen in your hometown, or occur at all, the less time you have to take definitive action. In fact, your willingness to accept that disaster could strike before it ever does puts you even further ahead, because you’ll be ready for immediate action without wasting valuable time wrapping your brain around it.

I’m not the only person who thinks that acceptance is important. Selco wrote that when the SHTF in Bosnia, most people missed the fact that it was all going down until it was too late to take steps to protect themselves.

You may miss the signs. I did.

I have seen all the signs above, and I failed to run. I ended up right in the middle of SHTF.

It is not only important to see and recognize signs. It is important to believe that it can actually happen. Because after I saw all the signs, I just said to myself, “Oh, it cannot happen here. Somebody somehow is gonna solve everything.”

It is very hard to trust in something that you did not experience before. Only now do I believe that a lot of horrible things are possible. (source)

He wrote in another article that because he didn’t accept how bad things were getting, he did not loot as much as he should have when society broke down. He didn’t accept the fact that new rules were in play.

Please understand that when I talk about acceptance, I’m not telling you to just sit there and accept your fate. I’m advising you to avoid your brain’s way to protect itself through denial because that will slow you down.

We watched denial at work firsthand during the King Fire.

A few years back, we hovered on the edge of evacuation for 12 days due to the King Fire, a forest fire that nearly reached 100,000 acres. We got up on a sunny Saturday morning,  never realizing that would be the day an angry man would punctuate a domestic dispute by setting fire to a tree in the other person’s yard. Certainly, no one expected that one act of anger to set off a fire that would exceed the size of the city of Atlanta.

However, he did set that fire, and it came as close as 2 miles to our home over the almost-two-weeks that we watched with bated breath.

During the fire, I joined a number of local groups online so that I could get the most up-to-the-minute information, and during this time, I took lots of notes of my observations. The thing that was very clear is that those who were at least somewhat prepared handled the situation far better than those who simply couldn’t accept that this threat was actually happening to them.

As someone who has studied preparedness for many years, I witnessed firsthand the classic exemplar of human behavior during a disaster. Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, wrote an article called The Anatomy of a Breakdown. In the article, she pointed out that in the event of a disaster, society devolves in a predictable pattern with four distinct phases. Her observations were accurate during our experience. As we watched the events unfold, some people changed dramatically.

What helps you to be calm during a crisis?

The difference between the people who crumbled, becoming easily offended, snarling, and hysterical, and the people who were generous, calm, and effective? Their levels of preparedness, both mental and physical. Because they were prepared, they had already

Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you. Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan. Only by taking that first step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.

1.) Accept

2.) Plan

3.) Act

No matter what situation you find yourself in, these steps will nearly always see you through. (Here’s an article about that process.)

Here’s how it all went down.

During our own experience, here are the things I witnessed. They could apply to any type of disaster, natural or otherwise. Notice how acceptance plays a starring role in many of them.

Bug out bags are absolutely the first prep you should make. If you’re just getting started, do this one thing. You can do it without spending a penny, by just gathering up things that you already own. You may not have a top-of-the-line, ready-for-the-apocalypse bag like this one, but you’ll still be far ahead of most people. When we first learned of the fire and realized that evacuating might become necessary, I had only two things to do. I had to get documents from the safe (the documents, by the way, were already housed in a plastic folder, so I only had to grab that one thing) and pull the pet carriers out of the shed. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to roll. Had it been necessary, we could have left with only the photocopies of the documents, because those always remain in our bug-out bags. Having your bug-out bag ready means that you have accepted in advance that disaster could strike.

Any time one disaster strikes, several more are sure to follow. This is highly probable.  Some people in the fire zone not only stayed on the edge of evacuation for nearly two weeks, but they also lost power due to the fire. This greatly reduced their ability to get news and information, which is vital in a disaster situation. It leads to even more worry and stress, and while you’re dealing with the potential of your home burning down, you’re also living through a power outage lasting several days. Getting prepared for a two-week power outage is absolutely vital and can see you through most regional disasters. Also, when it finally began to rain, although it helped to quench the flames, firefighters were suddenly threatened by flash floods. These were made worse because the areas no longer had the same natural obstructions to deter the flow of water.

Unprepared people panic.  Some people panicked initially. When we got the first evacuation alert (a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle. She was rendered absolutely useless by fear. Meanwhile, my 13-year-old was fulfilling her list while I fulfilled mine and we quickly made an orderly stack of important belongings, then turned on a movie to beat the stress. Had our area actually been forced to evacuate, those who panicked would have either been the last to leave, or they would have forgotten important things as they left in a disorganized rush. It’s important to decide ahead of time who packs what, and for each person to have a list. Sit down well before disaster strikes and make an evacuation plan with your family.

Get organized.  All the lists in the world won’t help you pack quickly if you don’t know where things are. One change we’re making is that all of the items we deemed precious enough to pack and take with us will now be stored in one area so that we won’t have to look for them when seconds count. Another friend ran into the issue of dirty clothes: he actually had to evacuate with hampers of unwashed laundry. Having your home tidy and organized (and your laundry washed and put away) will help your packing go smoothly in the event of a sudden evacuation.

You can’t be prepared for everything.  Disaster situations are always fluid and they don’t go by a script. It’s vital to be adaptable to the changing situation.

Keep your vehicle full of fuel.  If you have to evacuate, lots of other people will be hitting the road too. When you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t want to be worried about your fuel gauge dropping to the empty mark, leaving you stranded in a dangerous situation.

The criminals come out, like cockroaches. Within 24 hours of the first evacuations, we learned that the local scumbags had looted some of the homes that had been left unattended. Within 48 hours, we learned that the scourge had reached the outlying areas, with these people breaking into cars that had been loaded up with the things that families had determined to be most important to them. Of course, if you’ve evacuated, there’s nothing you can do about what’s happening to your home. But before evacuation, or in the event of civil unrest, it’s vital to be prepared to defend your family and belongings. In these situations, the first responders are busy, and that’s what criminals rely on. You should consider yourself to be completely on your own, and be ready for trouble. Keep in mind that during the civil unrest in Ferguson recently, the only businesses that didn’t get looted were the ones at which the owners stood armed and ready to defend their property.

The longer the stress lasts, the worse some people behave. As continued stress is applied, the true nature of a person becomes evident. People who formerly seemed like perfectly nice individuals were on the local message forums saying terrible things to one another. They were verbally attacking others for imagined slights and taking offense at things that would normally never ruffle feathers. Some folks were launching tirades against the very people who were performing the greatest service: the admins of the webpages who worked round the clock to keep us informed. If it was this bad in a potential emergency, can you imagine how bad things will get in a truly devastating long-term scenario?

But then…some people are wonderful. Alternatively, sometimes you see the very best of human nature. The generosity of many of my neighbors cannot be overstated. They housed livestock, pets, and families full of strangers during the evacuation. People showed up at the shelter with food and comfort items for those who had been evacuated. Firemen who came from near and far to fight the blaze were constantly being treated to meals at local restaurants, as other diners surreptitiously paid their tabs. Watching the kindness and gratitude helped to restore some of my faith in human nature, after seeing the squabbling and crime. It was interesting to me that the people who gave the most generously were the ones who were the most prepared. These folks were calm and could focus on other things besides “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do!” We definitely learned who the people were that we wanted to surround ourselves with when the S really HTF.

Take steps now to be one of those calm people later.

Today, I want you to think about disasters. It’s certainly not a pleasant thought, but considering these things now – when there’s no fire bearing down on you, no hurricane heading your way, no chemical spill poisoning your water, no pandemic in the next town over – allows you to think more clearly and make a definitive plan of action. Instead of hoping it never happens to you and fearing that the actions you take will make it happen, accept that at some point, something bad will strike. And you’ll be ready.

So…

  • Check your bug out bags.
  • Organize your most precious belongings.
  • Discuss your plans with your family so that everyone knows what to expect.
  • Understand the most likely disasters in your area and know what to do if they strike.
  • Learn more about the nature of the people around you and expect all that you know to change in the blink of an eye.

When – and it’s always “when” not “if” – disaster knocks at your door, be prepared to respond immediately. Learn about what to expect from others in order to keep your family safe and on-plan. Human nature isn’t as much of a variable when you can predict their behavior.

But most of all, accept the fact that bad things can happen. Don’t wallow in denial and waste precious time that could be spent surviving.

When disaster strikes, will you be ready? Will you be organized, calm, and ready to adapt to whatever the situation brings? Sometimes we have some warning, and sometimes things happen out of

Energy bars, aka power bars, aka food bars, are small rectangular, nutritious, palatable, have a long shelf life, are simple to prepare, and are easy to carry. The recipes I have presented below make use of several common ingredients; peanut butter, wheat bran, wheat germ, protein powder, and honey. Here are five recipes for delicious, nutrient dense, calorie dense food bars.

1) Krispy Meal Replacement Bars

I miss Carnation Instant Breakfast bars. They were delicious, inexpensive and convenient. Why must companies stop making products that are so good? Dedicated foodies may start a petition to bring back discontinued favorites, but until then, take the initiative and come up with substitute recipes. Here is my version:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rice Crisp cereal
  • One packet of Carnation French Vanilla instant breakfast mix, or chocolate, or strawberry, flavor instant breakfast mix. Or mix all three flavors together. Why not?
  • ½ cup Peanut butter
  • ½ cup Milk or Dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup oat bran or wheat germ

Preparation:

Melt honey over low heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir in peanut butter. Turn the heat off, and it is time to move fast. Add in the packets of carnation instant breakfast, the oat bran, and chocolate chips, a and Rice Crisp cereal. Press into baking dish, and let it harden in the freezer.

Shelf life: These bars will remain fresh and edible for months if kept at refrigerator temperatures of around 45 degrees F. They will be edible for a week or more at room temperature, but will soften. These bars are also fragile and prone to breaking and crumbling, but will still be edible.

2) Morning Oatmeal Bars

These are very simple, no bake, delicious chewy oat bars, and are packed with nutrients. They are also calorie dense, and intended as either an emergency food, or a meal replacement bar. This recipe will provide fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, and numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

I used a five grain hot cereal mix for the bars I photographed below, but oats, wheat flakes, rye flakes, barley flakes, or any combination thereof will work. You could also get some good results using a few packets of good quality instant oatmeal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Oats or other whole grain flakes
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ½ cup Peanut butter
  • ½ cup Chocolate chips
  • ½ cup any combination of raisins, golden raisins, and/or dried cranberries

Preparation:

Heat a heavy bottomed pan over low heat. Put honey in pan and let it liquefy. Stir in the peanut butter. Stir in the chocolate. Turn the heat off. Now you will have to work fast as the mix will harden rapidly, similar to epoxy setting once it is mixed. Add the raisins, cranberries and oats, and mix together. Place onto the oiled cookie sheet. Spread it out evenly. Place the pan in the freezer for an hour or so, then remove and cut into bars or squares.

Shelf life: This will keep for months in the fridge or temperatures around 45 degrees F. They will be edible for a week or more at room temperature, but will soften.

 

3) Vanilla- Lemon Hard Tack

Some of the recipes here are not actually bar shaped, but they fit the criteria listed in the introduction. (You could call a cracker/cookie an energy disc). This is a healthier and better tasting cracker- cookie version of the infamous Civil war era hard tack biscuit.

In addition to provide an indefinite shelf life food source, the original hardtack could be hurled at the enemy to cause massive blunt force trauma, or used as a trauma plate to stop large caliber rounds, or shrapnel from artillery. I exaggerate slightly. Seriously, the original, two ingredient recipe yields a hard giant cracker. It is tasteless, and typically has to be dipped in coffee, tea or soup to make it edible. Saltines or oyster crackers are the modern descendant of hardtack. This recipe adds two other ingredients to give it a sweeter, vanilla and lemon flavor. It is still rock hard, and long lasting, but also much more nutritious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Bisquick
  • About ¼ cup of water
  • 1 packet of Carnation French Vanilla Instant breakfast mix, or Vanilla Whey Protein powder
  • 2 packets Myer’s Lemon flavored

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Oil a cookie sheet. Mix Bisquick, protein powder, and Myers Lemon EmergenC together, gradually add water until you reach a thick, doughy consistency. Go easy with the water; you will need less than you think. Oil your hands lightly, and pinch off a piece of the dough. Roll into balls and place on the oiled cookie sheet. Place in the oiled cookie sheet. Press the balls flat and Stick with a fork, making a pattern if you want to get creative. Lower the oven temperature and bake for 45 minutes at 200 degrees, or until the crackers harden and dry out.

 

 Shelf life: At least months if you keep them dry; probably longer.

 

Bonus recipe: Protein Pancakes

OK, these are not bars, but they can be folded up and eaten cold. They are also delicious of course served hot with maple syrup and butter. Use the real stuff from Vermont and Quebec, not that horrid artificial maple flavored, artificial-colored High Fructose Corn Syrup – syrup. The batter can also be baked in the oven in a skillet at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes to make a simple but nutritious cake. You could cut the cake into bars if you must.

  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 2 tbsp. flax meal
  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ
  • 2 tbsp. oat bran
  • 3 tbsp. flax oil
  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
  • Milk or water to reach desired consistency. The thinner the batter, the thinner the pancake. Try using dark beer or cider for a different taste. The carbonation in the beer will also make for a fluffier pancake if you give it a little time to rise.

Preparation:

Mix all dry ingredients, and add liquid. Whisk together thoroughly. Let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, covered with a clean dishtowel or paper towel for best results, e.g., nice fluffy pancakes. Pour spoons of batter on to a hot oiled or non-stick griddle or pan. Cook on one side until you see bubbles in the batter. Carefully flip over and finish cooking. Serve with butter and maple syrup, or add apricot or raspberry jam, and roll up.

Shelf life:  The prepared pancakes will keep for a day or two.  The best way to extend the shelf life is to store the dry ingredients in a Ziploc bag. The contents can be mixed with whatever liquid you have on hand, whether water, milk, cider or beer when you are ready to make the cakes.

Conclusion

As you may have noticed throughout, I am very critical of poor quality ingredients. It is a fallacy that if you blend enough stuff together you can make it tastes good. Use the best quality ingredients you can get and the finished product will taste best. You will not need any correcting with sweeteners or flavorings to make a recipe edible. The idea of making things from scratch is quality control, you know what you are eating, and can put together something highly nutritious.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Energy bars, aka power bars, aka food bars, are small rectangular, nutritious, palatable, have a long shelf life, are simple to prepare, and are easy to carry. The recipes I