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Humanity has survived in some pretty frigid extremes, even before the advent of our sleek ski suits and long underwear. Even so, it doesn’t take all that much cold to start affecting our moods, physical capabilities, and eventually making us sick or endangering our lives. Whether bedding down in a sturdy home, on the move, or making a temporary camp for the snowy season, there are a lot of lessons we can take from history to keep us safer and more comfortable.

Tipi & Longhouse Fires

From the Vikings who dealt with some pretty gnarly conditions to the Native Americans on the East Coast, longhouses have been common throughout history. The general types share a few common traits. There’s a fire pit in the center, or several dotted in between, with sleeping or seating areas down the sides. The construction differs somewhat, with Vikings going for very solid, deep, permanent longhouses and only turning to higher floors and loftier ceilings later in history.

 

The First Nations and Native tribes who built winter longhouses typically built them with higher ceilings, which served the dual purpose of increasing space for storage and drying winter fish and game as well as allowing smoke to rise higher and out of faces. The higher ceilings also allowed them to vent smoke without as many drafts making it the floor.

The migratory Indians of the plains also turned to height to allow smoke to rise – yes, the large tipis of the Sioux and Lakota had fires inside them.

Tipis of original construction were seriously tall, and built with flaps that could be opened and closed near the tops. Natives could control openings to allow for ventilation but minimize drafts reaching the ground level. It took only a small fire to warm the conical space, with the shape helping to minimize rising heat loss. The shape also helped with resilience to the harsh winds of the Great Plains, and to shed snow and icy build-up when in winter camps.

We might not be able to build permanent homes to take advantage of every aspect of history, but we can apply some of the same facets, especially remembering that we need ventilation space – but it doesn’t have to be empty, wasted space. We will likely construct smaller shelters on the move, especially if we’re by ourselves, but the benefits of lessened heat loss, small space to warm, and buffering and withstanding winds and heavy snow or ice can make both a tipi shaped shelter or a geodome shape a good one to be familiar with.

 

Switch Sheets

Those Vikings and natives in their longhouses had another trick up their sleeve, just like everyone else in cold climates, ancient Samurai to modern Mongols: furs. When winter chilled bones, bedding was switched out so folks piled into thick, dense furs.

We might not be big into furs now, but we can still apply that. One, it was dense furs below as well as above. Throwing a comforter or blanket down over a mattress or the bottom sheet can be a fine way to buy a few degrees of warmth in winter. Likewise, instead of a sheet near the body, even a flannel sheet, the next time toes are cold, think about remaking the bed with a fuzzy flannel or fleece blanket between you and the quilt or comforter instead. Sheets are far easier and faster to wash and dry, but when it’s a difference of trying to sleep through tensed muscles or huddled together instead of stretching out and relaxing in comfort, it just might be worth it.

Backpacking in cool weather, I regularly carried a lightweight but fuzzy flannel blanket to line my bags with instead of my usual sheet. Even though my bags would have done the job, most likely and almost anywhere, the blanket also had a warm-and-fuzzy morale boost.

Caves & Construction

If we do have a chance to build from scratch, we might take note of the number of ancient and more modern folks who have survived winters by bunking down into caves. Deep places in the earth hold a more constant temperature. It may not be warm – an advantage in summer – but insulation can definitely be an aid over the lightweight and thin stick construction of today or single-layer bricks.

 

Erecting wraparound porches with or without screens, pulling drywall to pack in insulation, planting evergreen shrubs, or attaching greenhouses can all be ways to increase the “thickness” of our construction and help regulate the temperature inside our home.

Tapestries

Stone is not without its faults, even thick stone. Tapestries were originally conceived in the Middle Ages for a far different purpose than movable art. Originally, they weren’t ornate at all. In some cases they were plain straw mats or even animal skins. Humble or elaborate, they helped buffer residents from the cold and damp that seeped around stone and earthen walls.

We don’t have to have stone to benefit from the same. If we’re in a serious disaster, buffering our walls with blankets, quilts and comforters can provide us with the same insulated benefits. Especially if we have modern construction of planks, OSB, siding, and drywall, we might be served very well to invest in tarps and nails to line walls, and hunt up free and low-cost bedding and tablecloths at thrift stores, yard sales, and freebie websites.

Rushes for Floors

Another form of insulating used in early times on both sides of the Atlantic were rushes or straw laid across floors. Historians may have gotten it wrong though, and beyond the very earliest days, those rushes may have been woven into mats instead of strewn loose.

If you bring a bunch of dry grass into my house, I may have to hurt you. However, we can gain the same benefits layering carpets and rugs and runners.

I lived in an old farmhouse with such cold floorboards, my mother actually used to throw a quilt under a rug at the dining room table, and cover the living room floor in a comforter to get the dog beds and feet a little higher off the floor. She used another comforter or several sets of rugs under our beds, giving them just a few degrees of insulation from the cold boards – a few degrees that made a big difference.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune – we grew up pretty poor. She made the comforters herself out of thick padding and a couple of durable pieces of fabric, sometimes old curtains from hotels, and picked up carpeting from installation companies to clean, cut to size, edge and use as rugs. Like our ancestors before us, she saved clothing and scraps, and turned them into patchwork quilts – some lovely and intricate, but most just simple squares patched together.

Canopy Beds

In the olden days, the lucky and wealthy had canopy beds that helped tremendously in cold winter nights. It’s like an igloo or tipi: The curtains and the top create a smaller space to warm up, and it’s easier to keep warm. They also cut warmth-stealing drafts from the room, and help keep heat from rising all the way to the ceiling.

We can replicate aspects of the canopy bed in a lot of ways. My father really did once pitch tents atop beds during a long, severe blizzard. For a short-term disaster, we might have low enough beds and tall enough chairs to create a small space similar to a snow cave.

For a larger personal or widespread disaster, we can prepare with four, eight, or twelve poles from unwanted bamboo stands or swing sets, or pick up some lumber. Shower rods and curtain rods, more bamboo from a roadside, and tarps, freebie curtains, layers of free or cheap sheets, and we’re in business.

Stoves vs. Fireplaces

Benjamin Franklin revolutionized more than we may know. He’s responsible for the switch from fireplaces to home-heating cast iron stoves. Fireplaces tend to be drafty and require larger chimneys – chimneys not conducive to moving or taking apart for cleaning. The cast iron stove eliminates some of the cold air drafts drawn in by the fire and chimney. It also creates a huge heat sink that more effectively radiates warmth into and throughout a room.

We can replicate some of the advantages with metal grating in front of fireplaces, and fire bricks and stone that will hold and radiate heat. We can add metal pots of water in front of a fire or on a stove to increase heat retention and radiation. We can also add actual radiators to our chimneys, increasing the warmed surface areas that can in turn help warm and heat our homes.

Hoods & Caps

There are all kinds of funny hats in history, and they worked. The folks who wore – and wear – knit caps that come over the ears and big square bonnet-like hoods stayed warmer, in bed and out in the chilly world. If we anticipate a long-term or personal disaster in winter, some sleep caps and fur-lined or wool-lined hoods we can wear with anything are a very good idea.

Chamber Pots

While the wealthy eventually used them exclusively, the poorest and earliest users turned to chamber pots overnight to eliminate the need to expose themselves to the most severe cold hours, or the hassle of getting geared up to hit an outhouse or latrine. Honeypots are still a winter staple for some First Nations and Alaskan camps, where plumbing and outhouses freeze solid. In addition to the usefulness in winter, something to stand in for chamber pots (or bedpans) are worth the investment in case of illnesses.

Furry Friends

It’s not really a joke. Body heat is a wonderful thing, and nothing pumps it off like a cat. History and the modern world are full of anecdotes about cats and dogs being lap warmers, and being allowed in to share beds – especially with children in the pre-HVAC eras. Children were also packed into beds in winter to share warmth, both to be able to layer more blankets in a single space and because of the shared body heat. Explorers and hikers have spooned to survive in countless situations.

Modern Tricks for Staying Warm

Windshield reflectors (or Mylar blankets) – Place them under beds, sheets, or bedrolls, or behind you and behind a campfire to reflect heat back towards the body.

Create a smaller space – Divide rooms with curtains or panels, or hang curtains to close off entryways and large openings where there are no doors. It creates a smaller space to warm. Remember that heat rises, so as with a proper canopy bed, closing off the top is important.

 

Switch Curtains – While we’re collecting goodies for hanging, we can also collect darker, heavier fabrics to switch for the lightweight, pale summer curtains in our windows. They’ll help absorb and hold heat during the dull gray days.

Flip Fans – Ceiling fans help in summer by drawing heat up and creating a breeze. In winter, changing the rotation or in some cases flipping the blades can help push rising heat back down. It can save a few degrees on the thermostat, and the electricity or wood for heating the house or room those few degrees.

Stay Dry – Forget “wool is warmer when wet”. “Warmer” is a relative term. Wet wool will give you hypothermia, blisters, and chilled footsies just the same as leather, cotton, linen or hemp. It might buy you minutes or a few degrees, and that can matter, but don’t rely on it. If you get wet or sweaty, change; plain and simple. Avoid getting wet by investing in trash bags, overboots/Mickey boots, Mucs or Bogs or similar field boots, gaiters, ponchos and rain pants.

Snug As A Bug

History is full of lessons we can apply at home and afield, now and later, whether we’re trying to cut heating costs (or labor) or trying to survive and thrive in a disaster. Most require at least a little planning and forethought, although many can be accomplished with free and low-cost salvage.

The older we are and the more we abuse our bodies, especially, the more we will feel the pains and discomfort of cold weather. It can wind up costing us our edge from poor sleep, or affect our ability to complete even simple indoor tasks from cramped fingers.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be sub-zero to be uncomfortable, or for hypothermia to take effect. Start with the body and warm the smallest area necessary in a survival or disaster situation. With a little preparation, we can take advantage of all our forbearers’ experience to stay roasty-toasty, this winter and regardless of what the future brings.


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Humanity has survived in some pretty frigid extremes, even before the advent of our sleek ski suits and long underwear. Even so, it doesn’t take all that much cold to

What can be composted?

  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Brush trimmings
  • Manure (preferably organic)
  • Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags (preferably minus the staples)
  • Old wine
  • Pet bedding from herbivores ONLY — rabbits, hamsters, etc.
  • Dry cat or dog food
  • Dust from sweeping and vacuuming
  • Dryer lint
  • Old herbs and spices

Today, we’re talking dry leaves. Ready? Let’s!

 

A gardening enthusiast, whether it be for commercial or personal use, often incorporates compost in hopes for the best results possible for their crops. Compost is created through a natural process when recycling organic material turns into a rich supplement for the soil. It’s so good for gardening that it’s been nicknamed by some as “black gold”.

However, compost can be rather costly to purchase, averaging in most areas about $25 to $35 per cubic foot. And, if you have a large garden area, that can add up very quickly.

So, many people turn to making their own compost. In fact, there are several tools available to help make your own. But, what if you want a lot of it for spring planting, and you are entering the cold winter months?

Fortunately, you can make compost even in the winter…and lots of it. And, it’s easy and it only requires 2 ingredients! One is fallen leaves, which are abundant heading into winter. If you don’t have your own, a trip down the road you might spot several brown bags stuffed with leaves, just waiting to be picked up. If you ask, they probably won’t mind if you pick them up, rather than the garbage truck.

The other ingredient is used coffee grounds.

Composting Leaves with Coffee Grounds

You should first determine how many leaves and coffee grounds you will need. So, plan out what you will be planting in the spring to gauge how big of an area you will need. I will be doing a very small area for the purpose of demonstration in this article. But, even for a relatively small garden, start collecting leaves ahead of time.

Now, on to the coffee grounds. I doubt too many of you drink enough coffee to gather up the amount of coffee grounds you will need for this project…unless you start collecting months prior to composting.

I called our local Starbucks to see if they would collect a couple days worth of used coffee grounds for me. I fully expected them to be confused. But apparently, they save used coffee grounds for gardeners. If your local Starbucks does not save these, call another one nearby, or any coffee house. You can stop in there a few times a week to collect their grounds, if you are hoping for a large garden. So, not only is this composting easy, but it’s free!

The Basics of the Composting

Composting takes a little bit of “brown” and a little bit of “green” to create a rich supplement for gardening. Dried, or fallen leaves fall into the “brown” category, while the coffee grounds play the role of “green”. Yes, even though coffee grounds are actually brown, and leaves are often green.

The “brown” in composting is producing carbon, and the “green” brings the nitrogen. And, both are necessary components for the compost to thrive. Organic matter will eventually compost down without help in time…lots of time. However, not everyone wants to wait that long.

The Process of Composting with Leaves and Coffee Grounds

It’s a very simple process. The hardest part just might be deciding where you want to put it. But, a good option would be right where you plan on planting in the spring. The leaves and coffee ratio is 4 to 1 parts. So, if you have a lot of material, use a shovel to make it easy.

 

Make a layer (remember 4:1 ratio) of leaves on the ground, or in a shallow and long bin or a raised garden bed. Sprinkle, or use a shovel to make a layer of used coffee grounds over the leaves. Lightly sprinkle the pile with water, unless you are starting with a wet pile. Repeat each step until you run out of material, or think you have enough. Make sure that each layer is damp as you go. Just remember, as it goes through the process, the pile will appear to shrink. Once you have your pile all set, turn the pile every few days. Check to make sure it looks and smells fine, and isn’t drying out too much. If it is, dampen it again. You could also start with mulched leaves, which will significantly speed up the composting process. However, if you are going to use mulched leaves, change the ratio from 4:1 part, to 1:1 part.

Extra Tips in Composting

There are other “browns” you could use in place of or in addition to leaves, such as:

  • Shredded paper/cardboard
  • Hay
  • Mulch
  • Wood chips

And other “greens” that could be used in place or in addition to used coffee grounds include:

  • Vegetable
  • Vegetable or fruit peels and skins
  • Used coffee filters
  • Manure
  • Tea bags
  • Grass clippings

 

However, using any of the following is NOT recommended:

  • Pet fecal matter or waste
  • Meats or bones
  • Fats or oils
  • Dairy
  • Diseased plants
  • Anything with pesticides

Pay attention to the smell of the pile. It should have an earthy aroma. If it starts smelling bad, add more nitrogen, or “green”. Also, pay attention to the texture. If it’s slimy, add more carbon, or “brown”. Don’t confuse slimy with dampness. You want it to be damp, just not slimy.

Winter Composting

Even though the process will slow down in really cold regions, that’s OK. You should continue to add some “brown” and “green” to the pile every occasionally throughout the winter, even if it freezes. It will thaw eventually, and the thawing and freezing ebb and flow will contribute to the compost breaking down faster come springtime.

In the spring, throw some hay over the pile to help protect it until you are ready to use it, because it will let off an aroma when thawing, attracting critters.

Use it within the soil when you plant your spring crop.


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What can be composted? Leaves Grass clippings Brush trimmings Manure (preferably organic) Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags

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:

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

Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman living alone with no family, no spouse, no other support other than yourself? I ask myself everyday as I grow older and a little weaker in body and strength. I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do. It is the same in prepping for just myself, my livestock, and the homestead.

I live on seven and a half acres in a rural southern California area which is like a mountain/high desert mix when it comes to weather and vegetation. My well is a good one and does the job of watering the livestock which consists of chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a llama, horses, and assorted dogs and cats. So, I have a good start on being self-sufficient. I decided to not bug out but to bug in if SHTF ever happens. So, I have devoted my time and meager income to this place.

When you are older and alone there are a lot of things that go thru your mind when the subject of prepping comes up. A lot of the questions such as what happens if I can’t get to town, how will I get my medications, what happens if the grid goes down, how do I function as an older woman alone in a non-functioning world, etc., etc., etc. Yes, there are hundreds of questions and sometimes the answers are easy and sometimes they elude us. Being older and alone does pose many unique problems for the one facing this uncertain world. When faced with these problems, I decided to sit down and access my situation and made a lot of decisions and lists. The first one was to bug out or not. Being that I have some disabilities such as arthritis and a bad back, there is no way I could walk out of here or ride my horse great distances to get to…Where? I don’t have a bug out place and if I did I would never make it there alive. I found that most of what I needed to survive was right here in my home.

I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do.

So, I took inventory and started my first list of what I had in the way of survival gear, food, water, clothing, medications, tools, and a second list of what I needed to get. If I did bug out, I could not begin to carry what I would need to travel to an unknown destination. I would be a moving target for those who would like to take what I had. And, what would happen to all my animals? I have a pretty good start on being self-sufficient here with chickens and turkeys for meat and eggs, dairy goats for milk, butter, cheese and, a horse for transportation, a llama for packing, sheep for meat, wool and milk and in the spring I will be starting to raise rabbits, one or two cows for meat and milk and guineas for an alarm system. I have all I need here. Why leave it? I am comfortable here and feel a modicum of safety and I know some of the people and the area. That is a big thing to consider in deciding whether to stay or go and how you will get there. It is not very safe for older women to go out alone now so just think of how it will be if things get rough?

I made a third list of things I needed in the way of tools for survival, building supplies and weapons for protection. I bought a few power tools and two small gas-powered generators to run them and a little chest freezer. I bought that so I can freeze meats, cheese, and butter and make gallon-sized ice cubes to use in the antique icebox that was used by the previous owner for a liquor cabinet. I have tried it out and it works like a dream. I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter. I had to learn how to butcher the chickens and will have to learn how to do the cute fuzzy rabbits. But, if it means I will eat then so be it. We all have to do things that are distasteful but will do them to survive. I do believe that the older generation is better at getting it done than the younger and we don’t need a cell phone for that.

As for protection? I believe that in the future people will revert to old-time weapons for protection such as bows and arrows and spears and such. If the grid goes down there are only going to be so many bullets and no one to keep production up and not everyone is adept at reloading. So, my weapons of choice is the longbow, a cross-bow, and several pistol bows. I practiced a lot to become proficient in archery and can hit what I aim at. Even being 65 I can pull 40 lbs. And, it is a silent weapon. Pretty good for an old lady! But, I also have shotguns and pellet rifles. I learned almost all that when I turned 60. I made me a practice range on my place between the silage corn I planted and the wheat where I could and still do shoot regularly.

I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter.

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. Just because you are older and maybe not so strong physically does not mean you just lay down and die. I think that because I am older and alone it drives me to want to survive anything that is thrown at me. The instincts to survive are there and all you have to do is use your head, do the research, organize, learn, learn, learn, …and maybe, join a self-sufficiency /prepper group for moral support. When I needed gutters put up on the eaves of the house to catch rainwater for the livestock, I looked on the internet for DIY instructions and got it done. When I needed raised garden beds for my gardening, I designed one and got it built. Now I have many of them. It wasn’t too hard but still, there are things I wish I had help with but with a little ingenuity, I usually get it done.

After my dad died, I had to decide where to move my 84-year-old mother and myself. I have always wanted to move back to the country and live out my life in a rural setting, so that is where I landed. That was four years ago and since then the outside world has grown more violent, unpredictable, and totally dangerous with rumors of war, terrorists and possible financial collapse and EMPs. I have not been able to ignore it any longer. Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me. Then my mother was diagnosed with third stage dementia and since early this last year has had to make the transfer from here to a nursing home. I found myself turning 65, needing back surgery and losing income from taking care of my mom. I kept making lists of foods, household goods, clothes, weapons for self-defense, first aid and medical stuff, tools, livestock, and a lot of other things including what I already knew and what I wanted to learn about. I read, searched the internet, read blogs and always ask questions. As time has passed I felt overwhelmed with the stuff I needed to get done and for the first time in a while felt completely alone. It took a good talking to myself to set me right on the prepper path and now I find myself making great strides in becoming totally self-sufficient and ready for anything. And, I don’t feel my age is a hurdle anymore but actually has been a blessing.

I know that living in the country is very different from living in the city. I have lived in both and when the time comes and the grid goes down, preparing oneself with food, water, and the tools you need to have to survive are almost the same. You still need warmth, a roof over your head, a way to cook, and protection. You still need to be ready to hunker down where you are and have survival items unique to your circumstances. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming and lonely when having to make decisions concerning your safety and comfort especially when you are by yourself. But, if you have studied, learned and listened to the rumblings you will be prepared and will survive. After all, you have made it this far so you can be called a senior citizen.

Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me.

Not everything in prepping for one is dreary. One thing I realized while making my shopping list the other day for my food storage was that it contained foods I really liked and I got to pick and choose what to purchase. No one else had a say in what I bought. That was a bonus since I lean towards comfort foods and not gourmet stuff. The pros definitely outweighed the cons like not having to share my favorite candy bar with anyone. Do take an inventory of all the items you have now and build on that. Don’t forget to prep for your pets and do splurge on some good books, puzzles and crafts supplies to keep busy if you ever have any free time. Make sure to store up batteries so you can play your cd player and listen to music. It is a treat for yourself after a long day of working to keep yourself alive. This can be true today before the SHTF. And, don’t feel sorry for yourself for being older and alone. I don’t believe Karma gives us more than we can handle and hard work and challenge build character even in seniors.

As for being a senior, you should be able to draw on that vast supply of experience on keeping yourself healthy, active, sharp and for learning new things. Just remember, it is not how old you are or how infirm you might be, don’t think you cannot do it. You can if you believe you can. You will find a way. Even not having a lot of funds for purchasing items for your survival shouldn’t deter you. Get creative and go to garage sales, second-hand shops, Good Will and Salvation Army. I shop a lot at the dollar store and have saved tons of money on paper goods, canned goods, and other household items. Personal items are a good buy there as well.

I found out a long time ago, when my kids grew up and all moved away, and I divorced my husband that you only have yourself to rely on. No one is going to look out for you and it will be really true when the SHTF comes around. I found out there were things I didn’t think I could do but found out that I can. Being alone lets one really get to know yourself. Being older doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. I believe I have every right to survive as the next person. Maybe more. That I have worked harder, learned more, done more and have earned the right to live with my own two hands by being more creative, smart, knowledgeable and resilient than the younger generation who can’t get the cell phone out of their face. Sit back at the end of the day and think of all you’ve accomplished all by yourself and be proud of it.

So, let’s get busy and quit thinking about how old we are and how much those joints hurt and start getting ready for that uncertain future and let’s survive. After all, we’ve lived this long, I’m game for twenty more years…are you?

Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman

Prepping in some cases is about taking proactive steps to avoid or mitigate the risk of danger. Usually when we think of prepping nirvana the vision is a remote location, far away from the hustle and bustle of any city. Something like the Walton’s home that is far away from any neighbors and a trip into town isn’t something you make for a single carton of milk like we currently do. The ideal location provides safety from the threats we routinely discuss on Final Prepper, but there are a lot of factors to consider if you are looking for your own survival retreat.

Some of you may be thinking that the hour is at hand and any chance of finding a survival retreat for your family has passed. That train has left the station and if you aren’t already in your off-grid sustainable home, it’s too late. I don’t know if that is the case for everyone. I do believe that even if SHTF happened right now there would be ideal (as possible) locations that people could move to. Now, this movement might be a long and tortuous process. You may be moving not because you have stuck that For Sale sign in your yard, but you might be moving cross-country as part of a bug out after a collapse has happened.

Assuming for a minute that you have the resources, desire and time to move to a new survival retreat, your safe place from the rest of the world, what types of features should you be looking for to make your new home most suited for long-term survival and self-sufficiency? The items below are not in priority order, but I think they cover a few of the bases.

 

Water Sources

You know that you must have water. There is plenty of good property for sale in the desert that is pretty affordable, but without water how long can you live there? The perfect survival retreat property has at least two sources of water year round. A well is one desirable feature but if you are buying land outright with no improvements you may have to have someone come out and so an assessment on your property. Assuming you have a good source of ground water you could drill your own well or have someone take care of that for you. Rain barrels are a great alternative, but what if it doesn’t rain enough to replenish the supplies you need?

In addition to a well, running water in the form of a spring, river, stream or even stationary water from a pond will greatly extend your ability to provide water for your family, livestock and crops. It should go without saying that all water on the surface will need to be disinfected prior to drinking. Well water will need to be tested also to make sure it doesn’t contain toxins from farm runoff or pesticides aren’t present. The USGS has a good page explaining different sources of water for the rural homeowner and important considerations.

You need to have great soil conditions to grow food to feed your family and livestock.

Soil Quality

So you have a great piece of land nestled back in the forest and water flows freely from a creek on the property. You still have to eat don’t you? For most people that includes some form of crop production that will likely account for most of the food you consume. You can have thousands of chickens but you will need to grow crops to feed them as well as yourself. Man cannot live on chicken nuggets alone contrary to what millions of children across the world think.

Testing the soil quality on a piece of land is an important consideration before you purchase any property. There are soil testing kits you can purchase online that will quickly tell you the soil conditions. Once you know the type of soil you have, you can work to amend it if necessary. There are a few common issues:

  • Soil is too acidic – Adding lime, poultry manure or wood ash to your soil can make it more alkaline and raise the pH to a healthier level.
  • Soil is too alkaline – Many gardeners swear by coffee grounds as an inexpensive, safe and readily available way to lower pH levels.
  • Soil is lacking nutrients – Organic matter can include anything from compost to bone meal to lawn clippings, depending on your specific needs.
  • Soil is too sandy or dense – Adding peat moss is an inexpensive and effective way to loosen up clay soil, while compost can build up and enrich sandy soil.

If you don’t have the ability to purchase a soil testing kit, you can go the DIY route as well. The video below shows you how.

 

Growing Season

Along with soil quality, you will need a long growing season to maximize the amount of produce and crops you can grow. Each part of the world is different and most sustain some form of plant growing, but there are differences. You can read more about growing zones on the USDA website or view the map below to see where your survival retreat property falls.

How long will you have each year to grow crops?

Location

Strategic Relocation has a myriad of data points and analysis on the best locations to move for survival.

This is usually the first criteria that people consider when they are looking for a new home and you might say some of the items above fall into the location aspect. The location of your retreat does matter greatly from a couple of standpoints. Ideally you want to be further away from high concentrations of people. The golden horde affect will be a very real risk I believe in the face of large disasters, wars or economic issues. Look at the migrants fleeing Syria right now landing in Hungary to see a real-live example of the migration of people away from troubled areas. The further away you are from large centers of people the better off you will be from the risk of a swell of people on foot in a tragedy.

Do you have plenty of timber on your property? How far away are you from neighbors? Will there be any developments that put a big neighborhood or shopping complex in your back yard? Who owns the property near you?

Location also matters when you are considering paying for this new survival homestead. Are you able to find work that will pay the bills? Even if you buy your piece of land and pay cash for it, there will always be taxes. You will likely need to purchase some supplies and that requires money. Perhaps you have a source of income that isn’t dependent upon location and that might be the best. What about schools, access to healthcare? All of these are considerations you will need to make. Strategic Relocation is a great resource that takes a lot of the finer points and makes them easy to search. We also have access to a free download that allows you to use Google Maps to mine data on threats as well. Read more about that here.

 

 

Moving is never easy, but if you are planning to move primarily for the security of a survival retreat, the decisions are harder than simply moving to a better neighborhood across town.

What other factors would you consider before you moved?

Prepping in some cases is about taking proactive steps to avoid or mitigate the risk of danger. Usually when we think of prepping nirvana the vision is a remote location,

To start today’s discussion of EMP shielding, we are going to go back to 1755.

As you may know,
our polymath founding father Benjamin Franklin conducted many experiments with electricity in the mid-18th century.

Franklin’s kite experiment is perhaps the most iconic, but in 1755, he discovered a way to shield objects from electrical charges. He did this by lowering an uncharged cork ball suspended on a silk thread through an opening in an electrically charged metal can. In his words:
The cork was not attracted to the inside of the can as it would have been to the outside, and though it touched the bottom, yet when drawn out it was not found to be electrified (charged) by that touch, as it would have been by touching the outside. The fact is singular.

Franklin had discovered the behavior of what we now refer to as a Faraday cage or shield. Faraday, a British scientist, is given credit for inventing the shield in 1836. To do so, Faraday duplicated Franklin’s original experiments.It gives me pride knowing that one of our nation’s forefathers discovered something that may protect us from threats today – without even knowing it. That’s certainly the spirit this nation was founded upon.

What is a Faraday Cage or Shield?

In the simplest terms, a Faraday Cage or shield is an enclosure that blocks electromagnetic fields. They can be tiny, or large enough to hold people and even larger for massive equipment.

They are formed by a continuous covering of conductive material (typically metal), or using a mesh of conductive material. A shield uses a continuous covering while a shield created with mesh is typically called a cage. This is mostly semantics, with many calling all such units cages. Potato, potato.

Besides being of interest to those of us in the preparedness community, Faraday cages are used in many fields. They are used in certain medical procedures to keep from interfering with equipment outside of the cage. Law enforcement uses them to protect recovered wireless devices from being wiped or altered during investigations. These are just a couple of examples.

In addition, Faraday cages help many of us along in our preparedness journeys.

We know that a powerful EMP, especially one produced by a high-altitude nuclear weapon could mean our grid and electronics could all go down.If this happens, having electronics shielded beforehand could be a life-saver.However, we also know that our government has not heeded calls from the EMP Commission and others to harden our grid and critical infrastructures. Countries like China, Russia and even North Korea have all taken measures to do this while our government focuses on more important threats.

What this means is that without a grid, many of our electronics (especially ones that make communication easy in our modern world) will be useless. That means no cell phone calls, no texting, no email, no social media. An old smart phone used for storage of survival knowledge might be a good idea to shield though. Just don’t expect any service. GPS also will not work on any phone, as they don’t actually use satellites for positioning, but cell phone towers.

 

 

What should you shield in a Faraday Cage?

This will vary depending on your own personal situation, but I advise you to shield only the most critical items first. You can always add to your cage or add more cages as you go. Here is a list to get you thinking about your own needs:

  • Flashlight (especially LEDs; batteries do not need protection)
  • A small transistor radio (CB, digital scanner and ham radios too, if you have them)
  • A device you can store and access digital files on
  • Walkie-talkies and two-way communication devices
  • Night-vision and laser optics (binoculars, rifle scopes, spotting scopes)
  • Electronic medical equipment
  • Spare critical electronics for vehicles

This by no means an exhaustive list.

How to build your own Faraday cage?

It is quite easy to build your own Faraday cage. Many common items can be used or repurposed for EMP shielding.

Most ad-hoc cages are built with conductive metals. Two common items used are metal ammo cans and galvanized trash cans.

While all-metal items like these are great at protecting items inside from electro-magnetic fields, they still will conduct electrostatic charges. This means that any electronics directly in contact with the metal could be fried if electrical charges are present. So it’s a good idea to insulate these containers to prevent this situation, with something like corrugated cardboard.

I’ve even seen a few Faraday boxes built out of storage containers and crates for housing large electronics or even entire vehicles. Many of these are made of steel, which is okay, but you need to make sure it has no openings. So, knowing how to weld (and insulate) on a commercial scale will be critical there.

Pro-tip: aluminum foil is your friend. Get the heavy-duty foil. You can use foil to make any container – like a shoe box – into a Faraday cage. You can even wrap a few layers of foil directly around a device for a quick, impromptu shield (be sure to insulate the device first, and be careful to tightly seal with no gaps). They even make aluminum foil tape that can be useful in sealing up a cage made from an ammo or garbage can.

Which reminds me:
the opening to your cage is your weakest link. Be sure to make sure the opening has no gaps – airtight if you can. You can do this by using gasketing material or extra foil. If you can avoid opening the cage until you absolutely need what’s inside, that’s the best course of action.

Final tip: consider “nesting” for extra protection. The more layers of conductive material we put between our electronics and any outside electromagnetic fields, the better protected they are. This is a good idea for particularly sensitive instruments and electronics with a lot of components.

An example of a nested Faraday Cage would be an ammo can inside an insulated trash can. The devices inside the ammo can would have two layers of nested protection.

How to test your Faraday Cage?

Now that we’ve gone through the trouble of building a Faraday Cage, we want to be sure that it will effectively protect the devices inside.

However, there is a lot of contention about the best way to test our cages for their shielding effectiveness. Obviously, we can’t test it under the actual conditions we are preparing for, so we make an approximation.

The most scientifically legitimate way of testing a Faraday cage that I’ve seen involved using an RF meter and placing it inside the cage to be tested. A good one can cost a few hundred dollars. Unless you’re a radio operator, this may be an unnecessary expense.

The simplest and easiest way to test your EMP shielding at home is to use a quality radio. Simply turn it on, tune it to a station with a strong, clear signal, then place it in the cage and seal it up. If you can still hear the station, your cage fails the test. But if it goes quiet or static, it passes this at-home test.

If my cage passes the test, is it EMP Proof?

The answer to this one is tricky. We’ll refer to a resource a reader like you sent in. It comes from a three-part series on EMPs and their effect on professional and amateur radio broadcasters.

Will a model ABC123 smart phone survive an EMP at a given location?

Maybe.

Every MegaHertz of spectrum will have some energy in it from an EMP. Predicting the total energy arriving at a distant location requires modeling the propagation efficiency for every frequency. Then the modeler will add up all of the voltages from all of the frequencies to obtain the peak Voltage applied to the victim device.

Due to this infinitely large number of parameters which determine the strength of the Voltage imposed on any distant electronic device, it is computationally prohibitive to predict, with precision greater than the nearest order of magnitudethe level of stress which any particular piece of equipment will be forced to endure.

Thus, the answer to so many questions is “maybe.”

While we might not be able to accurately model an EMPs effects on our particular cages and shields, I believe that some protection is better than nothing.

 

Government Doing Testing Of Its Own

While we’ve been busy testing our Faraday cages for this article, the federal government has been doing some more EMP testing itself.

From November 4-6, the Department of Defense, along with the Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) and amateur radio operators, conducted a
simulated “very bad day” scenario. This kind of scenario is defined by those involved as any event in which the national power grid fails along critical forms of communication.

This simulated exercise also included a simulation for a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) event, also known as a solar storm (which we know can produce EMPs).

According to a MARS operator, this simulation is a routine training event they conduct 4 times annually. This info surprised me, because I believe that the government is ramping down measures related to the EMP threat. We saw the EMP commission close its doors less than two months ago, along with other disappointing developments. But this makes me feel
slightly better – knowing that routine exercises like these still exist.

That about wraps up our primer on Faraday cages. I hope you’ve found this to be inspiring and helps you along in your preparedness journey.

To start today’s discussion of EMP shielding, we are going to go back to 1755. As you may know, our polymath founding father Benjamin Franklin conducted many experiments with electricity in the

In this article, we are going to take a look at five knots that you should know how to tie at all times. Why learning how to tie a knot you’re maybe wondering. Because they can save your life and these five important knots are a good start. The more of these dependable survival knots you learn, the better off you’ll be under adverse conditions.

If you have to navigate difficult terrain while hauling supplies, some types of knots will help make it easier and safer. If you’re lost, the right knots for fishing and trapping game can keep you from starving.

There’s a reason firefighters and Coast Guard rescue crews learn how to tie survival knots. In a life or death situation, a secure rope can save someone from a burning house or a raging storm.

So now that we know why we should know them, just find the details along with instructional videos below:

Bowline / One-Handed Bowline

A Bowline is one of those knots that’s useful for many applications, putting a loop into a knot that won’t seize upon you, or more importantly a One-Handed Bowline that could save your life one of these days.

It seems like I’m always tying a bowline to secure a line to a fixed point. It’s a great all-around knot and one you should definitely know both on its own and one-handed.

 

Here you can see how to do a one-handed bowline:

Survival Uses:

You can tie the bowline around things or through them, and tie it around yourself. Being able to tie it with just one hand can be a boon when you need to tie a knot in an emergency. It’s also useful for hanging items from tree limbs, like food and survival gear.

Taut-Line Hitch

I feel like the Taut-Line Hitch is one of the most underrated knots out there, it’s extremely versatile and great for applications where you can have varying tension, such as securing a load. It’s most common application is providing adjustable tension for guy lines on a tent or tarp.
Some interesting sliders and devices now appear on tents’ guy lines to adjust the tension. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer a Taut-Line Hitch.

 

Here’s also a video on how to do it.

Survival Uses:

A taut-line hitch is what you use when sheltering under a tarp. Stringing a rope between two trees and laying your tarp over it is the first step in creating a buffer between you and the elements. 

Threaded Figure-Eight

Another knot that’s underrated in its ability to get you out of a jam is the Threaded Figure 8.

While the application I’m mentioning almost needs to be paired with a Swiss Seat at the least, nothing beats the Threaded Figure 8 to safely get you down from heights, whether on purpose or in an emergency situation.

The figure-eight knot creates a stopper wherever you need one on a rope, though the steps are also steps you take to create several other knots.

Here’s how you can do it:

Survival Uses: 
A figure-eight knot at the end of a rope can keep you from sliding off it. Is also one of the most useful types of knots for climbing. It’s an important survival knot for anchoring, especially when working in high winds or carrying gear up or down a steep incline.

 

Double Fisherman’s Knot

For joining rope together or making an adjustable loop out of two of these knots, the Double Fisherman’s Knot can’t be beaten. Preferably the rope you’re joining together should be around the same diameter, as there’s better knots to join sections of different diameter rope such as a Beckett’s Bend or as it’s commonly known, a Sheet Bend.

Power Cinch Knot

Another little known and underrated knot is the Power Cinch. Another great way to add tension to a line without the possibility of it slipping loose like I’ve seen Taut-Line Hitches do, yet very easy to pull down in a hurry.

This is what I use for any kind of trunk line while I’m camping or putting up a shelter. Tensioning knots are something you should know and the reason I’ve included two of them in these five. I always see people over-tying objects in the back of a truck or in many situations where all they’re doing is trying to secure a load. Regular half hitches work fine, but that extra effort both in tying and removing all those knots simply isn’t necessary if you know the right knots to use in the first place.

 

Honorable Mention – Chain Sinnet

One last knot I’d like to mention is the Chain Sinnet, I literally tie this multiple times a week into all my extension cords and I can’t tell you how much time and aggravation it’s saved me over the years.

I was first taught this by an old employer who wanted their extension cords tied this way and I’ve always remembered it because of its efficiency. Mark this down as one to take a look at too if you’ve got the time for a bonus knot.

In this article, we are going to take a look at five knots that you should know how to tie at all times. Why learning how to tie a knot

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, were the wise words once uttered by one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and they are the words that have helped prepare me for a countless number of scenarios. Preparing for D-day, or Doomsday, might sound funny to some, but there is nothing funny about good planning and tact. There are so many people who go about living their day-to-day lives without any concern as to what may happen tomorrow. They are casually living in the moment and basking in all of its glory. The act of preparing for the worst possible scenario does not make you a naysayer, instead, it makes you a visionary. You choose to look past the present and plan for the future. This is the principle that many, if not all, preppers operate on.
Doomsday could arise due to a different number of factors, however, the commonality between these numerous outcomes is the fact that you will have to keep yourself, your family, and those you love, safe and secure.

Adequately preparing for doomsday before it happens is the key to surviving whatever calamity the world throws at you. This could be in the form of a natural disaster, nuclear fallout, or even a zombie apocalypse. In any case, when the day comes, you want to make sure that you are secure enough to live to see tomorrow. Let’s take a look at five security measures that you can implement to help you stay alive during doomsday.

Strengthen Your Doors

The importance of your doors can never be overstated. Aside from the fact that they have symbolic value as the entryway into people’s homes, your doors are also meant to keep intruders out. There will never be a point in time where this will be more necessary than when Doomsday hits. The door to your home (home is relative in this situation) is an integral part of your defense, and it should be the most secure part of your “fortress of solitude”. This will deter any unwanted guests, and make sure your security stands strong against any attempts at forced entry.

In order to strengthen your door you should first evaluate the material that your door is made of. Most residential doors are made of wood, steel, or fiberglass. In most cases homeowners will not have to replace the doors they already have, unless the door is made from an extremely low-grade material or if it is not a solid core wood door. This is an important step that should not be overlooked, because the rest of the tips that will follow will mean very little if your door can easily be kicked in. Have you ever read “The Three Little Pigs”? That story will probably sum up the aforementioned point much better.  After evaluating your doors you need to focus on the locking mechanism and additional features that you can employ to make sure it makes it harder for intruders (and zombies) to gain access to your home.

Doors in most commercial homes lack basic strength to withstand brute forced entry.

It is advisable to make use of ANSI grade 1 deadbolt locks for your doors. Grade 1 deadbolts are made to withstand 10 strikes of 75 pounds of force, and they are effective at keeping doors secure. In preparation for a doomsday event, it will be best to make use of multiple deadbolts within your door to increase the security that they give you. In addition to using these deadbolts, you can also improve your door by using reinforced steel or wooden bars and rods (Zombie Bars). In order for this to work properly, you will have to install additional pieces onto the wall on either sides of the door so that your security bar can be held in place across the door. Implementing security bars and multiple grade 1 deadbolts will make your door extremely hard to get into, and that is what you want. In addition to these methods, you can also increase the security of your locking mechanism, to cater to any zombies that prefer to pick the lock rather than kick the door down. This can be done by using additional security pins, changing the materials of the spring in the lock, by using anti-pick locks, etc. In addition to this being a good opportunity to prepare for the worst-case scenario, it also gives you the chance to re-evaluate your home security.

Strong Chains And Padlocks

Another security measure that will help keep you alive involves making use of strong chains and padlocks. Chains and padlocks can be used in conjunction with the measures outlined above to make your door even more secure, but they can also be used on the go or to bar access to storage units. Not many things are certain about Doomsday, but you can be sure that people will be on edge, and that everyone will be looking to grab whatever they can, however they can. As such, it is of extreme importance that people utilize chains and padlocks to keep their valuables secure when they are on the go. It is also important to take into account the fact that people will need to stay mobile, depending on the state of things in their neighborhood. As a prepper, it is best not to wait until it’s too late, so invest in some good chains and padlocks today.

Chains and padlocks can be used in conjunction with the measures outlined above to make your door even more secure, but they can also be used on the go or to bar access to storage units.

When you set out to buy chains and padlocks, you want to make sure that these are strong and resistant to cutting attacks. It is best to employ the use of hardened steel chains with hexagonal links. These kinds of chains are highly resistant to bolt cutters and they help keep your items more secure. When you are choosing a padlock, you want to make sure that you pick a padlock that is made of boron carbide alloy (extremely strong and long lasting). Make sure that the padlock uses ball bearings to hold the shackle in place rather than a levered mechanism. And finally, make sure that the padlock has a hard and thick shackle.

Padlocks and chains can prove to be quite handy in varying situations. They give you the opportunity to secure your belongings when you are on the go and they can also give you added security when you settle down in a bunker somewhere.

Secure The Perimeter

Securing the perimeter of your property, or wherever you are camped out, is crucial to your survival. It helps warn you of impending danger as well as ward off the danger. There are several ways to secure the perimeter, but it is important that you keep some key factors in mind. It is imperative that your perimeter is kept well lit so that you can see any threat from a mile away and so that you can adequately prepare for it. In addition to this, you should make sure that your perimeter is either walled or fenced off. When walling off your property/space, make sure that you account for length. There will be no point to putting up a wall to protect yourself if that wall is easily scalable. However, sometimes it is not about the length of the wall, but about the material of the wall. Some walls can be retrofitted with spikes, cables etc. that make it a more arduous task to attempt to scale it. This will undoubtedly deter anyone (zombie or human) that thinks it would be a good idea to try and get over your wall.

The act of securing your perimeter also applies when you are on the go. It is important to have a security structure in place that warns you when danger is approaching and one that also helps you keep danger at bay. This can be accomplished by rigging booby traps or setting up makeshift fences with varying materials to keep your immediate vicinity secure while you are mobile.

Sustainable Defense

Now, this security measure is among the most important. This is because all the steps that are listed above will mean very little if you cannot sustain them. It is crucial that you have a sustainable defense plan. This is to ensure that you can continue to take care of yourself and those around you. A good chunk of the preparation process is learning. Yes, as mundane as it sounds, learning as much as you can is one of the best security measures to help keep you alive. It is important to learn as much as you can about the things around you and the components that go into making bullets, medicine, how to manage electricity, etc. It is essential that you learn how to properly obtain and store these items for long periods of time, since they are bound to come in handy. These are crucial security measures that will help keep you alive. One half of this equation is aimed at making sure that you are not caught with your pants down. The other half of the equation makes sure that if you are caught with your pants down, you can still get out of it alive.

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It is important to realize that when Doomsday hits, in all its gruesome glory, there will be any unknown variables that the majority of people will be struggling with. There will be lingering questions about power, water, food, and shelter. It will be imperative that you have measures in place so that you are taken care of for the long haul.

Get A Dog

Yes, you read that right. One of the best ways to keep yourself secure in a doomsday scenario is to have a dog. If you dispute this fact, make sure you watch “I Am Legend” and you will see why dogs come in handy in all manners of situations. Dogs are reliable and they are good traveling and hunting companions, as well as being an additional method of securing your belongings since they will alert you to the presence of anything. Also, should the need ever arise, dogs are capable of holding their own in a fight and they make for amazing combat partners. Dogs have a heightened sense of awareness and having one around in a dystopian doomsday world will most likely increase your chances of survival and keep you around much longer.

One of the best ways to keep yourself secure in a doomsday scenario is to have a dog.

Conclusion

There is no prepper out there eagerly waiting for the world to crumble just so that they can yell out “I told you so”. That is not the reason why this is done. Prepping is done to make sure that everyone is prepared for the worst-case scenario, should it ever happen. Adhering to these 5 security measures will undoubtedly prolong your life during doomsday. However, do not be fooled into thinking that these are the only things that will help you stay alive. If this time ever comes, survival, safety, and security should be at the top of your list of priorities. This mindset will see you through a great many ordeals.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, were the wise words once uttered by one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and they are the words that have

As preppers we stock up on supplies that we think we will need in an emergency. The order of priority for these items is usually tied to what our bodies need to survive. We can only live for 3 days (on average) without water so we make plans to purchase storage containers and water filtration systems to cover that base. We next need food, so we stock our pantries full of store-bought and freeze-dried food for a situation where the grocery store is either unreachable or out of food. Security and shelter round out the list of initial survival concepts you want to take care of but what else is there?

There are so many aspects to preparedness, but one of the more important ones to consider is medicine. If the grid goes down, the pharmacy will be in the same boat as that grocery store. If you are still able to purchase items (grid up), they may be sold out with no reasonable hope of resupply. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need simply medical supplies to treat illness or injury and aren’t able to procure them for your family. Thinking about your families’ health from an injury standpoint isn’t as sexy as buying a good SHTF weapon, but knowing which medicine to stock up on for an emergency will allow you to plan for disruptions and possibly keep your family more healthy when they need it the most.

 

What are important types of medicine to stock up on?

This list certainly won’t take the place of a hospital pharmacy and it surely won’t give you the skills you need to treat every injury, but even the most basic of medical supplies and a little knowledge could help you out. When shopping for medicines or thinking about first aid, I consider what types of injuries you could encounter in a disaster.

Disasters both natural and man-made bring death, disease and injuries. The medicines you need to stock up on should take some of these into consideration while not addressing every conceivable ailment under the sun. To achieve a basic level of preparedness I would recommend having the following items on hand.

Pain Medication / Fever Reducer

By pain medication I am referring to over the counter pain relievers. This can help with anything from headaches, sore muscles from too much exercise after SHTF or injuries. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good for relieving pain and fever. It is generally less irritating to the stomach and is safer for children but can be toxic to the liver if you take too much of it.

Make sure you have the basics for wound care covered also in a good emergency first aid kit. This is what I have in my vehicle.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These reduce inflammation caused by injury, arthritis or fever. They can also assist with pain associated with menstruation.

Children shouldn’t be given aspirin as it has been shown to cause Reye’s syndrome and can cause other bad effects. For pain medication I would have at least a bottle or two of your favorite pain reliever. For smaller children who might take liquid or chewable tablets I would stock up on that also. You don’t want your child to experience a fever without having medicine to bring that fever down if needed. The medicines above can be useful for both reducing inflammation, relieving pain and reducing fevers. I personally like aspirin for headaches but we do have large bottles of the other two on hand as well.

Anti-diarrheal

One of our readers put this as his top 4 or 5 items to have in his bug out bag and I can understand the rationale. The last thing you need to worry about in a bug out scenario is pulling over every twenty minutes or trying to find a safe place to let it all out. Diarrhea besides being messy as all get out can dehydrate a person quickly. Dehydration leads to weakness, irritability and confusion. Not the state you want to find yourself in an emergency.

 

There are two main types of medicines that help stop diarrhea, thickening mixtures (psyllium) absorb water and gives number 2 a little more volume. Antispasmodic products slow the spasms of your lower intestine. Loperamide is the active ingredient in products like Imodium and Pepto Diarrheal control. I have also seen loperamide hydrochloride in pill form in dozens of first aid kits. Fortunately, I have never had to use them but have them just in case. Better safe than sorry.

Antibiotics

Sooner or later someone you know will need something a little stronger than a clean bandage. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. A cut from a rusty piece of metal when the grid is up isn’t life threatening. Without something to fight the infection in a grid down world, a bacterial infection could spell death. Antibiotics do not work on viruses though, so they won’t help you out with every illness.

How do you know when to use antibiotics?

The answer depends on what is causing your infection. The following are some basic guidelines from Familydoctor.org:

  • Colds and flu. Viruses cause these illnesses. They can’t be cured with antibiotics.
  • Cough or bronchitis. Viruses almost always cause these. However, if you have a problem with your lungs or an illness that lasts a long time, bacteria may actually be the cause. Your doctor may decide to try using an antibiotic.
  • Sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by viruses and don’t need antibiotics. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria. Your doctor can determine if you have strep throat and can prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Ear infections. There are several types of ear infections. Antibiotics are used for some (but not all) ear infections.
  • Sinus infections. Antibiotics are often used to treat sinus infections. However, a runny nose and yellow or green mucus do not necessarily mean you need an antibiotic.  Read more about treating sinusitis.

 

 

Obtaining extra antibiotics could be difficult without a willing doctor or an active prescription. A common alternative to pharmacy antibiotics is fish antibiotics. Largely made with the same compounds, fish antibiotics are available without a prescription.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver isn’t loved by the medical or scientific establishment, but that doesn’t mean it does not work. Colloidal Silver or CS as it is referred to by some is said to be an excellent antibiotic with the side benefit of being able to be made with simple materials by anyone. You should research for yourself whether or not this is a prepper supply you want to store and there are well documented cases of people who have abused this. I have some in my medicine cabinet.

Additional medical supplies

  • Oral re-hydration solution – To offset the effects of dehydration caused by illness or diarrhea, make your own by adding 6-8 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water. Best to boil the water, add the sugar and salt while it is still warm to dissolve completely and let cool.
  • Multi-vitamins – I know the experts say that vitamins don’t do anything for you, but I believe if your body is deprived of vitamins supplementing with a good multi vitamin is a good idea.
  • Bandages – Probably more than you would ever expect to need. Bandages on wounds need to be routinely changed and the wound cleaned (based upon injury of course, consult a medical resource book for frequency) and you can easily go through dozens with one injury.
  • Rubbing Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide – Both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are useful for cleaning wounds but each have many other benefits in the prepper’s first aid kit.

 

  • Cough Drops – Sure there are natural alternatives to cough drops, but you can buy a few hundred for less than $10
  • Anti-itch creme – Itching sucks.
  • Honey – Natural honey can be used to treat wounds and never goes bad if you have it stored properly. Plus it tastes great on that oatmeal you have stored in your pantry too.
  • Knee Braces and Ace Bandages – A lot of injuries will simply take time to heal. A good knee brace can make getting around possible for someone with mild injuries. Ace bandages can help with sprains.
  • Any prescriptions you take regularly – An entire post could be written about obtaining supplies of life-saving medical prescriptions. The sad fact is that in a grid down world, many people who can no longer access prescriptive medicine may die. There are alternative treatments, homeopathic remedies and natural substitutes for some specific medicines, but these should all be researched thoroughly on your own. At a minimum you should have at least a one month supply of any medicine you must take. If the disaster allows you to make it to another medical provider you have some time.
  • Thermometer – Get the old-fashioned kind if you are worried about EMP, although the newer digital thermometers are really nice too.
  • Blood Pressure Cuff – Helpful in situations although requires some training on how to use one properly. Don’t forget the Stethoscope to hear the heartbeat. – Hat tip to Ty for these last three great recommendations.

When does medicine go bad?

Yes, medicine does go bad, but it may not be bad in the way you think or as quickly as you might believe. For one thing the expiration date on medicine does not mean that the medicine is bad after that date. Medicine does start to lose its effectiveness over time though so keeping your medicine up to date is the best approach to having a good supply of medicine in your home.

How quickly a particular medicine loses its potency will vary by the medicine and the conditions where it is kept. Moisture and heat are not friends to medicine so a cool dry place out of sunlight is the best location. Medicine that has changed color, texture or smell even if it has not expired shouldn’t be taken. If pills stick together or are harder or softer, show cracks or chips they likely need to be replaced.

This is really just a start at some of the most obvious medicine to stock up on but each person has their own needs. What is your plan if you can’t get to the doctor?


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As preppers we stock up on supplies that we think we will need in an emergency. The order of priority for these items is usually tied to what our bodies