Mullein, commonly known as verbascum thapsus, is also referred to as the velvet plant or elephant’s ear because of the hairy leaves that are very smooth and supple, rather than being prickly as are most fluffy-looking plants.

This herb can be found abundantly in most ecosystems, including where it was not intended to grow by anyone, and like many plants that people call weeds, it has many uses in everyday life and particularly in survival. Looking back at how our forefathers used mullein, we can get a good idea of how it might help us if the world comes to an end, as we know it.

Practical Uses

Mullein‘s soft fuzzy nature gives its leaves a wealth of practical applications, both historically and in survival situations. In an SHTF scenario, the rest of the plant may theoretically also play a part.

  • Toilet Paper – This leaf makes for a smooth, fun toilet paper substitute before the advent of toilet paper or even in a pinch in the woods. In fact, this plant’s folk name is The Cowboy’s, Toilet Paper. The broad leaves and soft texture make it a perfect alternative, but you should be careful to wipe with the hair grain to minimize discomfort caused by shedding fuzz. Here are some homemade toilet paper alternatives.

  • Providing Warmth – They’re perfect just to provide extra energy. Whether you’re lining your clothes with these leaves to provide extra cushion and warmth, or preparing a blanket or small shelter from them to keep warm at night, the furry leaves are great for adding extra insulation.
  • Fire Starting – Mullein has many uses in fire construction. The stalks make an excellent tool for the methods of starting the bow or hand drill fire starting methods. The seed pods and dried leaves are excellent tinder for starting a fire. Dipped in any liquid fat, flammable sap, or beeswax, the seed heads attached to the stalks are perfect for torches, earning mullein together with the yellow flowers, another of their nicknames: golden torch.
  • Fish Tranquilizer – This plant’s seeds can be used as a paralytic fish agent. In a survival situation, this may aid in the selection of fish for food or other purposes.
  • Shoe Insoles – When conventional insoles are no longer an option the leaves can provide a cushion in shoes. Combined with the leaves’ medicinal properties, mullein leaf insoles can help reduce the friction causing blisters and keep feet free of infection.


Medical Applications

When conventional insoles are no longer an option the leaves can provide cushions in shoes. Combined with the leaves’ medicinal properties, mullein leaf insoles can help reduce the friction causing blisters and keep feet free of infection.

  • Chest Complaints – The mullein plant’s dried or fresh flowers are also used to improve cough and other lung and airway conditions, such as bronchitis, asthma, or croup. Traditionally, it has also been used to treat consumption or tuberculosis. Tea made with honey added from mullein provides a perfect remedy for sore throat. This is a well-known treatment for cold and flu. Because of its expectorant and calming properties, it is perfect for those things, plus its ability to combat infection.

  • Pain Reliever, Anti-Inflammatory, Soother – The plant is said to help relieve pain and swelling when used topically in the affected area or in a tonic or tea with aspirin-like effects, or modern-day NSAIDs and acetaminophen. The ability to apply this anti-inflammatory skin soother topically makes it an ideal treatment for hemorrhoids, too.

  • Infection Fighter – Cowboy’s bandages are called just that because they make a great bandage, even where there are more common alternatives. That is because its properties are antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. This means that the leaves of the mullein plant, along with providing a soft, gentle barrier, can help fight off wound infection. Tea made from the mullein plant has also been used to treat mild infections as a sort of internal antibiotic. Clinical indications show that mullein, when placed directly into the ear as part of a herbal solution, can be an effective home remedy for ear infections.

  • Helps Heal Bruises and Other Injuries – A poultice of mullein leaves and flowers are frequently used to strengthen bruise conditions and damaged connective tissue or bones. This plant’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal to help less painful broken bones and sprains, and strains. Here’s a DIY guide on how you can make your own healing salve.

  • Bladder Health Support – This herb, especially the root, is also used to aid in supporting the urinary system. For bed-wetting children and adults with bladder control problems, it is often used for treating urinary incontinence. Mullein may also be used to treat urinary tract infections.

In the Garden

  • Adding Plant Life in Areas Ravaged by Animals – Most of the animals avoid eating mullein, like goats and deer. It means that when these animals damage the ground, the hearty herb is a perfect way to prevent an area from being eaten down to the dirt. Retaining plant life in the soil can help avoid erosion and flooding in an area.
  • Adds Nitrogen to Soil – This plant returns essential nitrogen to the soil so that it can be used to enhance soil conditions for other plants, especially plants that need a lot of nitrogen. Since locating, detecting, and growing is so simple, it would be an ideal way to create soil in case you needed more food to produce in a small area, like an urban SHTF scenario.
  • Attracts Good Insects, Deters Bad – Mullein blooms lure pollinators that help plants grow, and it is repellent to many bugs that may do your garden harm. It is easy to plant, and it will thrive almost anywhere, so consider planting it around your garden to provide a barrier to insects.

Mullein, commonly known as verbascum thapsus, is also referred to as the velvet plant or elephant’s ear because of the hairy leaves that are very smooth and supple, rather than

Our modern food system relies on trucks. It depends on transportation and on the ability to carry truck product loads into supermarkets and retailers. And, what if anything hinders those deliveries? How long does it take for the people around to live without the products coming in?

Among preppers, the common belief is that we are only 9 meals away from collapse. Three days of lunch and dinner breakfast will be putting the average citizen in a desperate situation. Beyond that, the stores would be picked clean by that time as well. The best way of avoiding this dangerous food source is to avoid depending too heavily on it.

The only way to achieve true freedom from food is by consuming more of your own food. This too, of course, poses problems. There is an increasing season when the food is ripe and delicious and then the opposite season. This is where dehydration comes in.

We are going to talk about 50 foods to dehydrate for your stockpile.


Perhaps one of the best snacks you can get your hands on, dried fruit is the perfect thing to grab for when you are looking to avoid bad snacking habits.

  1. Apples

Few things dry as well as apples. Now, there are several ways that apples can be dried. If they are merely dehydrated they have a little chew to them but if they are freeze-dried some crunch returns to them

  1. Strawberries

These little morsels dry well, and they are great to rehydrate for topping sweet treats.

  1. Blackberries

If you combine those strawberries with some freeze-dried blackberries you will have a great snack that travels well and can be combined with granola.

  1. Paw Paw


The paw paw is a tropical fruit that grows right here in the United States. They grow as far north as Virginia, and they are like a banana meets a mango. There are big seeds in the paw paw, but they can be halved and removed.

  1. Bananas

Probably one of the most notable dehydrated foods. Be careful if you purchase these bananas you assure they are not coated with a light sugar glaze. This helps with shelf life but adds unnecessary sugar.

  1. Pears
  2. Figs

Figs dehydrate well, and their unique flavor is intensified by the process.

  1. Plums
  2. Pineapple

Pineapple is another dehydrated food that can be coated with unnecessary sugar. Look for the best quality products you can or dehydrate them yourself.

  1. Papaya
  2. Grapes

Who could live without raisins? Drying grapes will create these shriveled little delicacies

  1. Fruit Leather


Puréeing and dehydration of the fruit on a saucepan can produce a dried leather of fruit that is delicious to bring and store. It will also save you Mylar containers, rather than having to pack whole fruits in them.


Dehydrated vegetables may not make as great a snack as dehydrated fruits, but they are still delicious.

  1. Green Bean

Though they can never be as delicious as a fresh bean off the vine these dehydrated beans add color and flavor to anything.

  1. Celery
  2. Onion

The dehydrated onion is one of the main ingredients in most recipes and is a perfect ingredient to have around. Diced, dehydrated onions are an essential commodity for many applications to store.

  1. Carrots

Despite their fresh shape, the carrots are a perfect little snack. They are also another base ingredient that forms the base of French vegetables called mire pox. It is a major convenience to get them dehydrated in the diced form.

  1. Broccoli

A versatile vegetable packed with calcium and sulphurophane, broccoli is a great addition to any good. This is a staple in most freezers at home so it would make sense to have some dehydrated too.

  1. Peas dehydrate-food-
  2. Asparagus
  3. Tomatoes

There are few things that are as tasty as a fresh tomato. Though dehydration does not offer the same taste, I assure you that it is better for you to dehydrate from your fresh garden tomatoes than any fresh tomato from the supermarket in the hothouse.

  1. Peppers

Peppers are one of those vegetables which aren’t well stored. They can be grilled and frozen or roasted and peeled. I assume sliced, dehydrated preppers are a perfect way to have them on hand all year round.

  1. Okra

Dehydrated okra is such an incredible snack. It also grows like crazy!

  1. Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms have been medicine for thousands of years. If you grow your own mushrooms one of the best ways to store them is dehydrating them.


Herbs are both an essential flavor and medicinal thing to have around. The best thing about dried herbs is that they dry on a dry counter with only a little heat, or even. I like picking them up and hanging them upside down.

  1. Rosemary

One of the most effective and powerful herbs, rosemary dries well and as an added benefit it also smells great when you burn it. It’s a Cuban tradition to rid a room of evil spirits.

  1. Basil

One of the very best herbs to cook with, I cry a little each year when the first frost kills my basil plant.

  1. Lavender

Dried lavender is an incredibly relaxing herb. You can dry it and put it into teas or even soaps.

  1. Thyme

By far my favorite herb to cook with, thyme, is also a powerful anti-bacterial.

  1. Sage
  2. Lemon Balm
  3. Yarrow Root

Dried yarrow root, when powdered, is great for stopping bleeding.

  1. Chamomile

A great sleep aid and a powerful dried herb to add to tea.

  1. Rose Hips

Filled with vitamin C the dried rosehip can help boost your immune system.


The power derived from roots is amazing. To show how dehydrated roots can be of use, I chose some very strong roots.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is a powerful flavor for cooking. This is full of soothing properties, too. There is nothing better than ginger, dried cayenne, and honey tea when I am feeling under the weather.

  1. Turmeric

Nature’s anti-inflammatory, turmeric has been rediscovered as of late and people are using it to deal with that today. It’s a great root to dehydrate and even to powder.

  1. Dandelion

Most people don’t know the dandelion root can be roasted and ground to make a coffee-like beverage. It doesn’t have the caffeine but the taste is perfect.

  1. Echinacea

The powerhouse of the immune system, the echinacea root can be dried and used in tea during that cold and flu season.


You have got to have protein in your diet. Whether you are talking about a survival situation or day-to-day life. Here are three examples of proteins that dry and dehydrate well.

  1. Duck Breast

Salted and dehydrated duck breast turns into something like ham. It’s delicious.

  1. Beef

Beef jerky.

  1. Fish

Smoked and dried fish has been helping mankind survive for thousands of years. With the technology of today, fish can be smoked and dehydrated to create something great to eat later. I like to use smoked and dehydrated fish in chowders in the winter.


By dehydrating foods, you have the ability to run them through a spice grinder and create powdered versions of these powerful ingredients. Powders are great for adding to foods, teas, and even taking medicines.

  1. Cayenne

A known anti-inflammatory this is a great powder for food and for dealing with things like sinus inflammation and even mild pain from inflammation.

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic

Garlic and onion powder are great additions to your culinary toolkit. They add great flavor to food and store well.

  1. Ginger

Powdered ginger is one of those all-purpose powders that you must have around. When I am feeling down I always add ginger to my tea, I add it to my pumpkin pie, and it’s also great to mix with other spices.

  1. Herb

Powdering herbs is another terrific way to add their essence to your food or to your overall health program. I like to make herb mixes in powder form. Herbs de Provence is a mix of lavender, thyme, savory, and rosemary. It’s a wonderful mix to add to tons of things.

Meal Makers

45. Homemade Pasta

Have you ever made homemade pasta? It’s incredibly simple. It’s also delicious. You can dehydrate your homemade pasta to get more life out of it.

46. Cheese

47. Potatoes

Cooked and dried potatoes can slash the cooking time on these starchy staples.

 48. Sauces

Powdering sauces give you the option to begin packing up your own meals on the go. This allows you to create flavorful camping meals that you can rehydrate out in the wilderness.

49. Rice

50. Beans

Rice and beans that have been cooked can be dehydrated to carry and reheat efficiently. If you use brown rice with your beans you will be tapping into some serious nutrition with just two ingredients.

Start Building Your Dehydrated Stockpile

Rather than investing in products that have been imported and processed in areas and facilities, you don’t know about, start developing your own stock of dehydrated products. You learn all about the food that your family is consuming by growing your own food, dehydrating it, and storing it.

Our modern food system relies on trucks. It depends on transportation and on the ability to carry truck product loads into supermarkets and retailers. And, what if anything hinders those

Native Americans are known for their knowledge of medicinal plants. It is rumored that after watching animals eat certain plants when they were sick, they first started using plants and herbs for healing. To protect those plants from over-harvesting, the men of medicine used to select every third plant they found.

They had a spiritual view of life and to be healthy, a person must have a sense of purpose and follow a righteous, harmonious, and balanced path in life. They claimed that certain diseases were life lessons that the person needed to learn and that they could not interfere with. Many modern remedies and medicines are focused on the experience of the Native American plants and herbs that they have used for thousands of years.

Here are the most versatile plants the Native Americans used in their everyday lives:

1. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

This fragrant, flowering plant has been in use since the beginning of Ancient Greece to avoid excess bleeding. The Greek hero Achilles is said to have used this on his wounds, hence the name. This was applied to open wounds and cuts by settlers and aboriginals as a poultice made from the leaves to help coagulate the blood. We also combined fresh yarrow juice with water to help stomach pain and intestinal disorders. A tea made from the stems and leaves can act as an astringent.

2. Sumac

2. sumac

This plant can be used for a variety of medicinal remedies, but it is one of the few plants used by healers to treat eye problems. A sumac decoction was used as a gargle to alleviate sore throats or as a diarrhea remedy. For tea, the leaves and berries were mixed to reduce fever or turned into a poultice to soothe poison ivy.

3. Blackberry

Ripe blackberries

The Cherokee used that plant to treat stomach upset. Blackberry tea was used to cure diarrhea and to soothing swollen tissues and joints. An all-natural cough syrup can be made from blackberry root, mixed with honey or maple syrup to heal sore throats. They used to chew the leaves to soothe the bleeding gums. Also, this plant is perfect for improving the whole immune system.

4. Rosemary


This plant was considered sacred by Native American tribes. They often used it as an analgesic to treat sore joints. This herb enhances memory, relieves muscle pain and spasm, and strengthens the nervous and circulatory systems. It strengthens the immune system as well, and prevents indigestion.

5. Mint


The Cherokee used to make mint tea to ease digestive problems and to help a tummy ache. They also made a leaf salve to relieve itching skin and rashes.

6. Red Clover

Red Clover

The healers used this herb for the treatment of inflammation and respiratory conditions. Recent studies have shown that red clover seeks to reduce heart disease through improved circulation and decreased cholesterol levels.

7. Black Gum Bark

black gum bark

The Cherokee used to make a mild tea from the twigs and black gum bark to relieve chest pains.

8. Cattail

4. cattails

This is one of the most common subsistence plants used for food by the indigenous population but also as preventive medicine. Because it is an easily digestible food, beneficial to recover from the disease. It is called the supermarket of the swampas it can be used in several dishes.

9. Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbriar)

5. greenbriar

This root tea was used as a purifier for blood or to alleviate pain in the joints. Some healers made a leaf-and-bark salve mixed with hog lard, that was applied to minor sores, scalds, and burns.

10. Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)


The Native Americans used this plant to treat conditions of the mouth and throat, as well as cysts, fibroid tumors, and inflammation. To help treat burns, sores, and wounds, it may be made into a poultice. The roots of this plant can be used to make a diuretic that stimulates kidney function.

The early pioneers used that particular plant as a substitute for black tea. Recent studies have shown that the blossom of colibris is effective in treating high blood pressure and lymph blockages.

11. Wild Rose

7. wild rose

This plant was used by the Native Americans as preventive and remedy for moderate, common cold. The tea is mild diuretic and stimulates the bladder and kidneys. An injection of petals was used to relieve sore throat.

12. Saw Palmetto

8. saw palmeto

Florida’s native tribes, like the Seminoles, used the plant for food, however, men of medicine used it as a natural remedy for abdominal pain. It also helps digestion, decreases inflammation, and increases appetite.

13. Sage


Sage is generally used as a spice, but for many indigenous tribes, it was a sacred herb, as it was thought to have beneficial purifying qualities and to cleanse the body of negative energies. It was used as a remedy to treat medical conditions such as abdominal cramps, spasms, cuts, bruises, colds, and flu.

14. Wild Ginger

wild ginger

Healers used this plant to treat ear infections and earache. Also, they made a mild rootstock tea to stimulate the digestive system and alleviate bloating. Bronchial infections and nausea also help.

15. Slippery Elm

slippery elm

Using the inner bark, the Native Americans fashioned bowstrings, rope, thread, and clothing. Tea was made from the bark and leaves to soothe toothaches, breathing irritations, skin conditions, stomach aches, sore throats, and even bites of spiders.

16. Lavender


Healers used this herb as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, depression, headache, and exhaustion. The essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Infusions can be used both to soothe bites from insects and burns.

17. Prickly Pear Cactus


This is another plant that was used both as food and as medicine. Native Americans made a poultice as an antiseptic and for treating wounds from mature pads, burns, and boils. Tea was made for treating infections in the urinary tract and for strengthening the immune system. Research now shows that the prickly pear cactus helps lower cholesterol and avoids cardiovascular disease caused by diabetes and diet.

18. Honeysuckle


The Native Americans used this herb as a natural remedy for the treatment of asthma, however, it has many medicinal purposes, including rheumatoid arthritis, mumps, and hepatitis.

19. Ashwagandha


Because of its many unusual medicinal uses, this plant was an important plant for healers. Iaddresses bone weakness, muscle weakness and tension, teeth loss, memory loss, and rheumatism. It can be used as sedative, as well. It has rejuvenating cumulative effect on the body, as it increases resilience. Also, the leaves and the root bark may be used as an antibiotic. When turned into poultice, which helps to reduce swelling and to relieve pain. Caution when using this plant is recommended as it is poisonous.

20. Mullein


A tobacco-like herb, used primarily for treating respiratory disorders. To reduce swelling in the joints, the Native Americans made concoctions from the roots; feet, or hands.

21. Licorice Root

licorice root

This root is commonly used to flavor candy, food, and drinks. But healers have used this to treat problems with the stomach, bronchitis, food poisoning, and chronic fatigue.

22. Uva Ursi

uva ursi

It is also known as Bearberry and Bear grape, because of the bear’s affection for the fruits of this plant. This plant was primarily used by the Native Americans to treat bladder and urinary tract infections.

23. Devil’s Claw


Although the name would suggest a poisonous plant, it was used by the Native Americans to cure various conditions – from fever treatment to soothing skin conditions, digestive improvements, and arthritis treatment. Tea will reduce diabetes effects, while a concoction made from the roots of the plant reduces swelling and helps with joint disease, arthritis, gout, back pain, headache, and sores.

Remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when medical help is not available.

Native Americans are known for their knowledge of medicinal plants. It is rumored that after watching animals eat certain plants when they were sick, they first started using plants and

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

Many people are convinced that civilization as we know it will collapse or, at best, experience a prolonged interruption. Very few of those people are actually planning for it and even less are preparing for it in advance. For those of us actually preparing we have forums, books, videos, and meetings to help us get ready for SHTF.

A few are even likely hoping for it for various reasons. What if this collapse occurs in a matter of minutes as well it might in various SHTF scenarios; nuclear war, terrorism, EMP, pandemic, conventional war, civil unrest becoming civil war? I am sure you can add a few to this list. Using the Golden Hour concept from trauma medicine I am proposing a few unusual ways of handling the first hour of SHTF.

In this Golden Hour, things you do and do not do will have a profound effect on your chances of a decent survival outcome. The Golden Hour is getting a major trauma victim to a trauma center within an hour. Survival rates plummet by minute 61. What will you do in the first 60 minutes of a sudden SHTF? I expect disagreement and hope the comments will give me some good ideas.

SHTF Happens and you are at Home

Reacting rather than data gathering is the key to all of these situations. As humans used to experience normal conditions the sudden ending of the normal is a shock and many react to it by standing still and trying to find out what is going on. The lights go out, you check your phone, you look out the window, and you try to find your battery radio and the flashlights. You are in bed and the loud bang shakes the house violently and the power goes out. You use your phone, you turn on the TV, and you go outside to find out what is going on. You might even go through these actions several times!

WaterBob Emergency water storage holds up to 100 gallons

I am not saying these responses are always wrong. Geography etc. has an input into your plan which is a pre-written plan. If you are hundreds of miles from cities then your response might be different especially if you have large volumes of water stored. What I am saying is get moving early and start using the Water Bob, the clean rain barrels from storage within minutes of any alert that normal no longer might exist. Finding out what has happened is a secondary concern for preparing to survive. Who cares if Russia has attacked the USA or if it was a terrorist bomb? Listen to your gut, not to CNN.

Even worse is leaving the home to collect wife (or husband) and kids. During the opening hour, you have to prepare the home for a possible prolonged end of normal life. The wife (or husband) and kids have a plan and they will use it. It might be to hunker down and wait for you knowing it might be a day or two or come home immediately but they know it and you know it. Fight the very human desire to gather the loved ones immediately at the time of crisis unless is your plan and they know it. If you (or they) are at home then the preparing of the home is the best thing you can do for them in the opening hour. You have no idea how long the water or electricity will last.


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

Obviously, if your children are young you need a plan to collect them but do you need to go immediately? If yes, then go. But the decision is a logical one not an emotional one. Emotional reactions to sudden shocks often lead to faulty decision-making. It might be best to protect your food and water supplies while the electricity and water remain on before heading out to collect your child from school. An hour or two’s delay in setting out means they get to eat and drink for sure.

If it is a temporary thing you have at worst wasted the water bob and will have to buy a new one (people say you can reuse it but I am not sure water safety is worth the risk). Other things you may consider doing during the first hour is nailing tarps over your raised garden beds and moving supplies into the house or bug out vehicle. What you do not want to be doing is chatting to neighbors or wasting time trying to get information. Something bad seems to have happened so deal with it. How much you know about it is a human desire but preparing is the essential thing in the first hour.

SHTF Happens and you are on the Road

This is the hardest of all situations to experience sudden SHTF yet it is the most common one in society. Motor Vehicle Collisions (they are not ‘accidents’) kill and maim many people each and every day. Plan for this in advance and have a seat belt cutter stored.

However in a sudden SHTF of major local, national, or international scope what is your plan if you are in the vehicle? If the vehicle works get fuel as soon as possible and buy food and water in the first gas station you see using cash but only if it is safe and uncrowded. Then get home or to the preplanned bug out location using the vehicle. Do not delay at all. In sudden SHTF people literally drive miles in one direction, usually to collect family, and then end up being directed the opposite way by Police. When they finally get home it is burned down or looted. As ever everyone in your family knows to stay in place or come home in an SHTF and when to do so. You are not their savior. Your role is to trust them and the written and discussed plan. Get home or to the bug out location and get busy.


Roads in major cities will quickly become impassable.

Some SHTF scenarios will see the vehicle fail or be blocked in its progress. Abandon the vehicle immediately gathering all useful supplies and get moving away from people and towards home or the bug out location. Drive alternative routes if possible but a vehicle is not going to last long in a major SHTF so try not to be attached to it! Again chatting to people, trying their phones, and wondering what is going on is pointless. It is bad and that is all you need to know. Use the sides of highways to move away from the groups of scared, annoyed, and confused people on the road. No need to walk up the exit ramps as you have the physical ability to use less usual routes. You always have a paper map however basic and a get home bag in the car.

Transit by boat, plane, or train in a sudden SHTF is problematic. In your Golden Hour gather supplies, learn exits, and start thinking how best to get out and home. Water in train, boat, and plane washrooms is not drinkable but empty a recycling bin and fill up those bottles with it. You should have a few water purification tablets on you at all times. Do not bother washing out those bottles. People are not really that infectious (this advice is NOT to be followed in a pandemic) and you can easily get 10 liters or more of okay water stored up in the first few minutes of the SHTF while everyone else is shouting into dead phones. By Day Two you will be very happy you did this in those first few minutes.

As a rule I never travel by boat other than short ferry rides and I cannot see a good outcome in SHTF on a cruise ship but if you cruise at least carry your own flotation vests and survival kit.

Experiencing a sudden and dreadful SHTF on a plane might be interesting. If it falls out of the sky then all the prepping you have done will hopefully be used by your loved ones. However diversion and being kept in an airport is more likely in a sudden SHTF. Carry cash in large amounts and try to carry some cash that can be used in the countries you are flying over or near. If the power is on and you can use credit cards to immediately start an alternative route home. In 9-11 people were stuck in Canada for up to four days when they could have got home via train and bus if they had started immediately. A few hours later and there were no seats available! If a small nuclear war is the cause of air travel suspension imagine how long you might be stuck somewhere and how likely is it you will be well treated?

If a SHTF is likely I’d advise you to call sick and stay at home even if you have a cruise booked but SHTF can happen with almost no warning and what you do immediately can make or break your survival chances.

SHTF Happens and you are at Work, School, or the Mall

Ideally using your preplanned route(s) and get home bag you will immediately start home. If the car park is a mess or the car will not work immediately abandon it after getting the supplies. In a sudden and serious SHTF roads and car parks likely will be both slower than walking and less safe.

If it is a chemical or nuclear SHTF you might need to shelter in place. Know where the washrooms are especially those deep in the building and infrequently used. If mushroom clouds bloom on the horizon people will mainly rush to their cars and attempt to flee home not that home is a magically safe place. Go to the nearest couple of recycling bins, open them, and carry the trash bags loaded with cans and bottles to the washroom (preferably one on a lower level). Dump them out and start filling them with tap water. Don’t bother cleaning them out. Try to get 50 liters or more. Do this immediately and you can store up 4 weeks’ worth in minutes. Store it in a cubical, lock it, and climb out. At this point try to buy food as you head for the car but do not if it will take time. At the car grab everything useful and back to the washroom. Bunker in and trust your loved ones are similarly safe.

It is unlikely people will use the washrooms in Malls and schools in these scenarios especially those out-of-the-way ones. If they do all your stuff is in a locked cubical. Food and warmth are not the priority in the Golden Hour but water and security are. Consider breaking all the lights in your washroom after securing the water and jamming the door. Consider breaking all the lights in the corridor outside and pulling stuff into it. Initially, people will not take hard routes.

Looting supplies is reasonable once people have gone and Security has left. Before then the chances of getting into trouble makes it not worth the risk. Most fast food places have the food (such as it is) in the back. Mall, workplace, and School offices have lockers and many will have something to eat inside if you take your time looking through them. At work know who keeps food at their desks (you do I hope!). Most people will grab their keys and bags and flee towards home leaving behind a lot of food and useful items.

Many people think about using coins to raid vending machines. Maybe this is a good idea but water is from the washroom taps and the recycling bins and lining up slowly buying chocolate bars might make you a target. In a sudden SHTF, it is more than likely you can use your small crowbar from your get home bag to access the vending machines the next day. You are going to be sitting in dark for at least a week but I’d try to do this for four weeks. Then you go home. Radiation will hopefully not kill you in four weeks but likely will the first day.

Many places have drapes and carpets that you can cut up to make sleeping ‘bags’ and this is the sort of re-purposing you need to do in SHTF. Keep active and do whatever you need to do to optimize your survival chances.

The hardest part is not fleeing but thinking, planning, and acting. Prepping is a state of mind as much as anything and I hope this article gets you thinking a bit. Much of it is arguable so please argue!

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

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Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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Many people are convinced that civilization as we know it will collapse or, at best, experience a prolonged interruption. Very few of those people are actually planning for it and

There is undeniable proof that some plants, not all of them mind you, have outstanding healing properties. One cannot turn to modern medicine each time he finds himself in an SHTF situation.

Sure, med stockpiling helps (check out my article on best over-the-counter painkillers), but you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that most are made from artificial compounds that tend to put way too much strain on the liver and tummy. In fact, if you read the little label on every pain med, you would see that even the lightest one like Ibuprofen should be taken after a hearty meal.

So, here I am, talking about the remarkable properties of natural remedies. As a prepper, I’ve learned that Mother Nature is quite offering when it comes to healing plants.

Anyway, in searching through my drawers, I came upon this nice little notebook that belongs to my grandpa. Very nice, filled with great memories but, most importantly, some tidbits on healing plants that should be grown around the yard.

Needless to say, I started working on my backyard pharmacy project as soon as the nice weather settled in. For those of you who are not too fond of gardening or believe it to be a waste of time, energy, or money, think again. You really don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if something goes wrong, home-grown stuff will be more valuable than gold (that’s why I’ve decided to dig up a veggie garden the next time I head up to my hunting cabin).

Anyway, getting back to today’s topic, these plants I found in grandpa’s scrapbook are really something. I mean, beyond the fact that they can be used to give taste even to the blandest dish, they’re also neat in treating all sorts of health issues. Moreover, they’re stupidly easy to grow, require little care, and, if you have a head for business, you can probably make a lot of money by selling them (extra gigs really pay off).

So, if I haven’t bored you to death already, here are my choices in plants that you should definitely consider growing in your backyard.

  1. Basil

Entire books can be written on this topic, but I’m just going to stick to the facts. Basil is great for seasoning (I prefer the green kind over the dried variety), as its aroma is reminiscent of lime.

Apart from that, studies have shown that dishes made with fresh basil, tinctures, and teas are great for bringing down the cholesterol level, as well as reinforcing the blood vessels. Since I’ve acquired a taste for Italian dishes, I’ve used basil in virtually every pasta dish I cooked (even dropped a couple of leaves in my Tiramisu, but that’s another story).

Anywho, basil can be grown both indoors and outdoors, and it requires little attention. Just be sure the plants get at least six hours of sunlight per day. Don’t water them too much because they don’t need that much moisture.

Tea made from basil is great for soothing the nerves. Just wash a couple of leaves, crush them in a mortar, and infuse them in hot water for a couple of minutes. That’s it. You can add some honey and ginger for some extra spiciness.

2. Sage

No, not that kind of sage. I was referring of course to the herb which gives a strong, almost earthy-like aroma to your dishes. Grandma always uses to put sage in all her meat dishes (you should try adding some dry sage to your pork chops next time).

Just like basil, it’s very easy to grow around the house. The only trick to sage is to don’t overwater and overfertilize the plants. Teas and tinctures made from sage are great against pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and for sore throats, in general. The plant’s crushed leaves can be made into a poultice, quite efficient at dealing with cuts, bruises, sores, and burns.

To make tea from sage leaves, rip two or three, wash them thoroughly, and put them I cup. Add boiled water and allow them to infuse a couple of minutes.

3. Rosemary

This plant will always remind me of The Sleeper, one of Poe’s most awesome poems (“The rosemary nods upon the grave, the lily lolls upon the wave.” Sorry for that flight of fancy, guys. Anyway, rosemary is great for any kind of dish, especially pork cuts and fish.

As a natural remedy, it boasts quite a record: detoxes the body, relieves migraines, improves blood circulation, rids you of morning breath, and also helps with any bouncy-bouncy (sex) related problems. Granny wrote down that rosemary works best if it’s grounded into a fine powder. Take a teaspoon of this stuff every morning, before breakfast. Keep into under your tongue for 15 minutes then swallow.

4. Parsley

No soup or broth would ever taste the same without parley. I myself make sure to have an ample supply of this plant, regardless of the season. As a health aid, parsley’s packed with vitamins A and C. More than that, the increased iodine content makes parley not only great anti-rad food but also a great thyroid regulator.

If you have kidney stones, juice made from freshly-picked parsley leaves can alleviate some symptoms, especially going to the toilet for the number one part. Just stick a handful of parsley leaves into the blender, add a small cup of water, and some lemon juice.

Mix it, pour it into a mug, and drink it on an empty stomach. You should also know that parsley’s also good for the ladies if it’s first eaten by gents (wink, wink).

There is undeniable proof that some plants, not all of them mind you, have outstanding healing properties. One cannot turn to modern medicine each time he finds himself in an