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Preppers are a resourceful group of people and there aren’t too many dire situations we don’t have some type of prepared response for ready in our minds. Our plans and preparations for survival are expansive and limited in most cases only by our imaginations or our paycheck. You name the disaster and we have got the bases covered in terms survival kit, our basic needs, bug out plans and tactical DEFCON 1 defensive measures.

But there is still a large number of people in the world who simply don’t see the same value in preparing as preppers do. I personally think that number is coming down, but like everything else, there are degrees of urgency based upon your own situation and each individuals’ views of likely risks as you see them. I know friends who 4 years ago would laugh at the mere suggestion that our country could have anything approaching an economic collapse but who now, at least in conversations, agree that the future looks a little dimmer than even they had imagined. They can now freely admit that they have a sense that there will be bumps ahead, but disagree on how much you should worry about or prepare for any ‘potential’ disaster. They can acknowledge increased risks but they don’t feel inclined to do too much about it.

Then there are other people who never in a million years believe anything bad like economic collapse, pandemic, war or outright tyranny could happen in this our enlightened society. They also believe that the mere thought of bad people getting together to do bad things and not tell anyone (conspiracy) is a sign of mental illness. Sure they will agree that monstrous atrocities have happened in our collective past but rationalize that away because people were less educated, or concede it is limited today to a few violent places in third world countries. They will tell you that as a modern, interconnected world we are so much more thoughtful and considerate now. Rational discourse rules the day.

They have no doubt seen far too many Oscar award-winning, tear-jerking movies about bad people and bad situations to believe that any tragedy on a similar scope could befall us in these progressive times. These bad stuff deniers seem to have this view of the Star Trek ‘United Federation of Planets’ utopia where everyone gets along (usually) and there is peace and harmony across the cosmos if only the smart people (elites) are in charge. Sounds nice doesn’t it?

Well, even these people who have watched far too much TV and rely too heavily on the wizards of smart can admit that even if we don’t have Klingon battle cruisers outside our Solar system, you can have storms, both literal and figurative that wreak havoc with our peaceful civilization.

Even Prepping Deniers want a backup plan

Understanding that there are people like those I mentioned above out there, some of whom we are even related to, I wanted to try to put a less ominous spin on Prepping for the benefit of those who need some additional encouragement. You can still have some level of preparedness without going to the lengths that others of us choose to do. Granted, you are only going to be as prepared as the level of time and energy you put into it, but something is better than nothing.

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Even if you don’t believe anything bad can or will ever happen, wouldn’t you feel better with a just-in-case survival kit of items on hand?

To that end, I wanted to put together a list of common sense survival items to have on hand just in case, barring all logic and the goodwill of your fellow enlightened souls, something bad does happen and you are forced to rely on your own self for survival. These survival items are multi-purpose should be non-threatening to anyone out there. I won’t mention camouflage or firearms of any type today but I thought a simple list of items to go into a survival kit for not quite the end of the world could still come in handy to you out there someday.

This survival kit and the items below should be something that anyone can store in a closet of your home, nicely out-of-the-way and hidden from all your friends who would react with horror and derision at the mere hint you were taking any of this ‘prepping nonsense’ seriously. It may not be enough to keep you alive if we really do have a SHTF event, but it will help in many situations where it’s not quite the end of the world.

So for those of you who can foresee some minor inconveniences in life that are worked out shortly, but still want to be prepared, a little…. This list is for you.

Simple Survival Kit List

Backup Power – When the power goes out, it’s good to be able to replace that electricity isn’t it? You can do this in many ways according to how much you want to spend, but let’s assume that a whole home generator is not what you had in mind. Neither is a noisy portable generator. You can still have a fairly reliable source of backup power with a solar panel charging kit like the EnerPlex Kickr IV Portable Solar Charger. This set of panels allows you to roll it out and charge up your cell phone. Add something like Generatr S100 Portable Battery and you can charge a larger battery that will in turn recharge more devices. Another thing to consider with this is having extra batteries on hand should the power go out. I have Sony Eneloop rechargeable batteries but there are many other types of rechargeable batteries that I can use in almost all of my devices like radios and flashlights. I also have spare USB type batteries like a portable RavPower 16750mAh USB charger that sits fully charged. With this one unit, I can charge my iPhone 6 times.

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Blackouts happen all the time.

If all that fails, you can also purchase a simple 1000 W inverter to plug into your car’s adapter to provide power to larger appliances or recharge your batteries much faster. Just make sure you have extra fuel stored for your cars too.

Lighting – Even during the bright hours of the day, if you are stuck inside, you could be in the dark, literally. Flashlights are a must have for power outages even during the day. You can choose from a lot of options like a bright tactical flashlight to something you attach to your key-chain but for the best of both worlds I like a headlamp. This way I can have the light automatically shine where my eyes are pointed and my hands are free to do whatever task I need to. Have one source of light for every family member.

Money – When the power goes out, so too usually goes your ability to get money out of the bank or ATM or make purchases without cash. Almost all point of sale systems rely on electricity and now the internet. so having a small stash of cash on-hand makes pretty good sense. Just a couple hundred dollars could buy your family food, get a hotel room in another state or purchase gas to power your car. Make sure you keep some on you and some hidden at home. You can hide some spare emergency cash in between your phone and the phone case and always have a backup. Have at least $200 in cash where you can get to it. Smaller bills (20’s) are better.

Food – Who wants to go hungry during a power outage or short-term emergency? You can either keep more food stored at home, or purchase food for emergencies. The former will give you better tasting food, but the later requires a little less discipline. Storing extra food in your survival kit keeps everything in one place, but it does take up additional room. Ideally we wouldn’t lose that space to something you already have storage options for, but it may work out better this way.

Along with actually storing and having access to food to eat, you need a way to cook it unless you want to eat a lot of cold canned food. One of the better options I have found is simple freeze-dried camping meals. All you need for these is hot water which you can either heat over a fire outside or with a small camping stove like the JetBoil. Sure the freeze-dried meals aren’t going to be the healthiest options but for short-term situations like this they store nicely, pack a pretty decent amount of calories (make sure you check first) and are filling. I would much rather eat a warm packet of Mountain House Chili-Mac than eat a cold or even warm can of beans. Have enough meals for 5 days for each family member.

Water – Water is one of the trickier items if you consider it. It is all around us usually, but clean drinking water may be hard to come by at times. If the water isn’t coming from the faucet, you might need to find a source. Fortunately, in most climates, there is water around us in lakes, pools, hot-tubs, water heaters and streams. You should store one gallon of water per person per day. We have been going with 5 days so far, so plan accordingly.

Having water on-hand is the best, but just in case, you need a water filter too. For the most basic needs, you can boil water for a minute to kill any bacteria. Filters like the gravity filters from Platypus allow for a lot of water filtration plus carrying capacity in a short time. LifeStraw makes an individual option too that is cheaper, but you can’t filter a large amount of water using one of these easily. Compared to boiling, purification tablets and the LifeStraw, I prefer the gravity fed options best.

Pensioners

Do you have a supply on cash just in case the banks don’t let you in or the ATM machines aren’t working?

Shelter – We will assume that you have shelter since this is not quite the end of the world and heat isn’t something you can easily plan around without power. Cold is something that can be easily addressed with a little more preparation. For this a good three season sleeping bag is a nice item to have for each member of your family. Optionally, you can go with something like the puffy blanket from Rumpl which packs down small and will keep in body heat. Hats and gloves are good also.

CommunicationsA simple weather radio will help you stay in touch with what is going on and you can even use some of these to charge your portable devices and also see in the dark with the included flashlight. No, you won’t be able to communicate out, but you can stay informed.

How do you store your survival kit?

For most of the items mentioned above,  they will easily fit in a good-sized plastic tote. Something like Rubbermaid’s 48 Gallon Action Packer will allow you to store these items neatly away. You may need additional options for water since that takes up so much space but the rest of these items should fit fine.

That will get the most basic needs out-of-the-way, but what else could you store if you were really hoping to cover more bases?

Miscellaneous tools and gearA good sturdy knife is important as well as a multi-tool or at least a decent set of tools to work on items around the house. A nicely stocked first aid kit would be a good addition. Disposable lighters are always handy and are much easier to use that a fire striker.

Security – I said I wouldn’t mention guns, so you can use something like pepper spray or a tazer if you feel that your security would be helped by having something. I would tend to agree.

Mobility – The ability to pack all your gear into a bag would be another nice to have, but if you are talking about evacuating, we have moved well past the simple survival kit mentioned above. If you do decide something more robust is necessary, we have lots of articles on Final Prepper that can help you with that. Bikes are another consideration.

Hopefully the simple items above can help you out if you find yourself in an emergency that isn’t as dire as The End of the World As We Know it. As anyone who regularly reads this site should know, I strongly advocate much more serious and comprehensive methods, skills and supplies, but that isn’t for everyone. Maybe this will help or inspire those out there who still can’t see the point, but nevertheless want a little insurance.

Preppers are a resourceful group of people and there aren’t too many dire situations we don’t have some type of prepared response for ready in our minds.

As disaster prepping continues its precipitous rise in popularity it seems every conceivable gadget, defense rig or bit of advice has been done or handed out. Everything’s been thought of, right? Not so fast. When you come right down to it, that advice, those how-to’s are what works for them. “Them” are all the people out there on the internet writing blog articles and posting videos. Most of them have the best intentions. They want to impart their knowledge to others who might benefit from it. But how do you take what they offer and make it your own? How to tweak it, modify it and customize it to what works best for you? This is exactly what should be done for a bug out vehicle, or in this case a bug out trailer. It has to meet your specific needs and include those particular adaptations and improvements that will be comfortably functional for you when everything else is going down the tubes.

Where to Start

First, select a base trailer to build up into the perfect survival masterpiece trailer. Lucky, for you there are a ton of choices out there. Trailers in all shapes and sizes have been manufactured for decades to meet all kinds of utilitarian needs from the professional contractor or construction firm hauling equipment to trailers meant for moving goods to those built for transporting recreational toys. Add to those variations all the recreational camping trailers on the market and the choices seem pretty much endless.

 

Do your research, envision the finished trailer in your mind, go look at potential buys in person, seek out used trailers for sale to save money, and pick the one that best fits your needs. Remember the longer a trailer is, the more restricted it will be for some locations. Longer trailers, obviously, need a larger turning radius and more space, in general, to maneuver. They are also limited to predominately flat roads as they are unable to manage rolling trails with narrow troughs between steep inclines.

Consider these types as potential bases to build out from;

  • Box utility trailers
  • Compact horse trailers
  • Teardrop trailers
  • Airstream trailers (compact versions)

To pull that trailer you need to first build your bug out vehicle.

These types provide solid bases from which to customize to your unique specifications offering enough variety to fall within particular budget constraints. The benefit of these trailers is they are already enclosed which is a head start, so to speak, which allows you to jump right into customizing the inside. Having said that, though, there are numerous examples of people who have built up open-topped trailers, or even homemade pickup bed trailers, into rugged, workhorse camp trailers capable of going anywhere the vehicle towing them can go. But more on those later.

Enclosed Trailer

Determine the type of space you want to have inside. Will the trailer be self-contained with room to sleep and move around or will it serve as a gear and supply storage and transport? Once the usage of the inside space is settled on you can set to designing the features; insulated walls, the sleeping and sitting areas, storage (gear, food, water), cooking equipment and fuel (Used inside or out? Is ventilation needed?) and windows.

The biggest decision to make (most likely made before even buying the trailer) is will it be a sleeper or a transporter. Will the environmental conditions require an insulated, indoor living area or will an expansion component like an attached tent or pop-up roof sleeper be sufficient and comfortable?

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This trailer has almost every bell and whistle imaginable. Click the image for more photos and details.

If you’re starting with what is, essentially, an empty box on wheels then it would behoove you add a layer of insulation, especially if you plan to sleep inside. The typical, recreational, camp trailer will already be insulated but it’d be worth checking its condition if the unit is an older model. Insulating a cargo trailer is done in the same fashion as insulating the walls of a house. The trailer will already have ribbed, structural support throughout, just as a wall has studs. Cut and fit sections of insulation between these ribs and cover over with sheets of plywood, measured and cut to fit properly and don’t forget to do the same with the roof.

From here, the rest is a custom job, built to your standards and needs. Aftermarket interiors such as cabinetry, foldout beds, convertible seating (into sleepers), and counters are available from various travel trailer retailers or you can build them yourself. Sinks and plumbing are easily found at supply stores and counters can be built to fit a typical camp stove. Research space-saving techniques online for innovative storage areas, utilizing every empty space inside and out. Add storage fuel and propane tanks, generators and batteries outside to avoid gasses from building up creating dangerous conditions inside. For additional energy supply needs beyond fuel, with most trailers’ flat roofs, consider installing solar panels or even a roof-mounted, wind turbine.

 

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Sleeping tents are a popular add-on to some bug out trailers.

Open Trailer

The open utility trailer comes in a full range of forms and sizes. By the term “open” we mean what is essentially, a flatbed trailer with 1-2 foot sides all around or a shallow, open-topped box on wheels. A popular customization for these is to convert them into tent trailers. A number of companies have cropped up over the years that manufacture folding or pop up tents that collapse into a zipped up square and overlays the open trailer. The tent and its support platform are hinged on one side and raise like a hatchback and serve as a cover lid for the open-topped trailer. The inside space is used for equipment and supply storage which can be partitioned off to effectively organize supplies. Or a portion of the inside houses slide-out storage containers or even full, outdoor kitchen setups with stove, sink and counter space.

Many people who go this route with their bug-out trailer make them into truly rugged, go-anywhere contraptions. Fitted with independent suspension, off-road tires and specialized hitches with couplings that allow for extreme vertical and horizontal towing angles these trailers can go virtually everywhere the vehicle towing them can go.

Both types of trailers, open-topped and enclosed, can incorporate external storage containers mounted to the outside walls, on over-sized wheel wells and to the roofs. There is often space on the trailer’s tongue for sturdy containers, propane tanks for cooking fuel or battery banks to store power. The customization opportunities are extensive, limited only by your imagination, time and to some extent, your wallet.http://fpnws.wpengine

Trailers are really one of the most versatile, bug-out vehicle options able to carry all that’s needed for a survival situation – food, water, shelter and lots more – the essentials, all piled into a mobile home away from home.

As disaster prepping continues its precipitous rise in popularity it seems every conceivable gadget, defense rig or bit of advice has been done or handed out. Everything’s been thought of,

Urban Camouflage and Concealment

It makes me laugh when I see a lot of SWAT Teams and PSD guys wearing Tactical Black and other colors that look cool but do nothing but make them stand out. In reality, black is one of the worst colors to wear. Ask yourself, what is black in nature? Look around you and what in your surroundings are black? I expect very little… In urban areas, most walls are white, gray or cream… Light colors! The colors you wear should blend in with your background whether its day or night.

At night dark colors stand out, especially when moving past light backgrounds and in urban areas most backgrounds are light colors. Even in rural dry areas when moving through low bush and fields the silhouettes of people in dark colors are easy to see at a distance.

You do not have to have expensive patterns to give you good camouflage and concealment, a gray dress shirt and a pair of light khaki pants is way more effective than tactical Tim dressed in SWAT black!

Movement and Rural Camouflage

Modern humans are positively disadvantaged when surviving in and moving one foot in rural and wilderness areas. Most people these days have never spent a night outside without any cover, let alone in bad weather. When you’re in the woods or bush you need to get comfortable in the environment. I remember one of my military instructors telling me that to be able to fight in an environment, you must first be able to live comfortably in that environment, and this is true. If you’re having difficulty living day-to-day how can you operate?

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Camouflage your face, neck and any areas of the exposed flesh with mud, ash or charcoal from fires. Or use a balaclava or scarf to cover your face and wear gloves.

You need to start using all your senses as the animals do, learn to identify sounds, smells, movements and what they mean. You need to especially be able to identify things associated with people, like footprints, cigarette stumps, broken twigs or foliage, fences, straight lines, domestic animals, aircraft, vehicles, talking, etc. Think about human smells like fires, food, fuel, human waste, and tobacco; if your senses are sharp in bush or wooded areas you should be able to smell or hear people before you see them.  When moving you must do so quietly and regularly stop to look, listen and smell for any indication of people. If you identify people in your proximity are you going to take cover, evade or ambush?

You should always consider camouflage and wear clothes that blend in with your environment, in urban areas wear light blues and grays in rural areas browns and greens. As I have said before there is no need for military camouflage clothing as this will just draw attention to yourself.

Basic fieldcraft, things are seen because of these reasons: Shape, Shadow, Silhouette, Shine, Spacing & Movement.

  • Shape: Disguise your shape; use foliage or rags to break up your outline.
  • Shadow: Keep in the shadows and always be aware that you are not casting a shadow that could be seen by your opposition.
  • Silhouette: Don’t stand out against skylines, lights, white walls, etc.
  • Shine: No chrome, shiny watches, mirrored glasses, sparkly jewelry and the like.
  • Spacing: If moving with others, remain spread out, but not too regularly and do not bunch together.
  • Movement: Move carefully, as the sudden movement draws attention and is the main reason camouflaged personnel and animals are seen.

The basic guidelines for camouflage are

  • Learn to blend in with your surroundings.
  • If you are using foliage to conceal yourself or your position don’t use too much or too little.
  • If you are in a long-term hide remember to keep your camouflage fresh, dead foliage will alert people to your position.
  • When moving avoid skylines.
  • Don’t use isolated or obvious cover; it’s the first place others will look. Consider hiding in thorny bushes or nettles as most people will not expect anyone to hide there.
  • Camouflage your face, neck and any areas of the exposed flesh with mud, ash or charcoal from fires. Or use a balaclava or scarf to cover your face and wear gloves.
  • Take all noisy objects from your pockets, such as keys and coins and make sure nothing on your person rattles.
  • Make sure there are no shiny surfaces on your person, equipment or clothing.

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Guidelines for Movement

You should always move quietly and cautiously and avoid stepping on dry twigs or breaking through foliage and undergrowth as this will make noise and leave an easy trail to follow. If you know you’re going to a rural area or possibly going to be in an escape and evasion situation avoid smelly foods, strong soaps and aftershaves, as these will be easy to smell by those used to being in the bush. Always be careful not to leave signs you were in an area such as footprints, broken foliage, human waste or trash.  Trash and human waste should be carried out of a hostile area and disposed of when safe to do so.

You should always move in “bounds” from one piece of cover to another. Your bounds should never be more than, say 50 yards, especially at night. When you stop at the end of each bound you should use your senses to try to detect any human presence then plan your next bound. Moving in short bounds is the safest way to move through populated areas or places there are unfriendly forces. Remember, always be prepared to take evasive action or defend yourself.

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Camo Face Paint Sticks – 3 Pack – 6 Colors

The speed at which you travel will depend on whether it’s day or night, the type of terrain you’re in, people or police patrols in the area. Never push yourself to your limit, you always need to have energy in reserve so you can run in an emergency; tired people are also rarely mentally alert. If you must run from your opposition try to do so only for a maximum of a few hundred yards, then slow down and move quietly, cautiously and cover any signs of your direction of travel. Do not use obvious routes, which tend to be the easiest routes to use; head up hills and into thorny areas, etc.

There are no set time periods for halts but you should try to take ten minutes in every hour on long journeys. Tracks, paths, and roads make for fast, easy travel and can aid navigation but can also be very dangerous as your opponents will watch them closely. To be cautious walk a few meters off to the side of any roads or tracks.  Places to expect sentries are at the entrances to urban areas, on bridges, crossroads and on high prominent terrain.

Avoid being silhouetted when crossing skylines and hills, go around them rather than over them where possible. If you need to cross an obstacle or skyline then keep low and crawl, if it’s a fence, crawl through it or under it. If you have to cut through a fence, cut through the lower strands and then disguise the hole with undergrowth or tie the wire strands back together, never cut through the top strands as this will be easily noticed.

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Moving at night

You need to learn to treat the night and darkness as your friend, darkness affords you cover. Many people are afraid of being in the dark especially in rural areas or derelict buildings; you should use this to your advantage. If you are moving you should always try to stay in the shadows, if you get caught in a beam of light or car headlights you should freeze, the chances are that you will remain unnoticed. You must have your immediate reaction drills for encountering a person, being caught in the light of the hostile fire at the forefront of your mind. Being caught off guard will get you captured or killed.

There are both natural and man-made noises that are useful to you because they can cover up or disguise the sounds that you make when moving. The best time for moving covertly is during bad weather; rain will cover the noise of your movement and any ground sign you leave. Bad weather also keeps people undercover, lowers the morale of those standing guard, learn to love bad weather.

General guidelines for rural movement

  • Wear clothing that blends in with local people and the terrain.
  • Do everything possible to disguise evidence of your passage; cover footprints, never break twigs or undergrowth and repair broken foliage.
  • Avoid contact with all people unless absolutely necessary.
  • Litter, food and human waste must be buried or carried with you.
  • Learn about tracking, then you’ll be aware of what anyone following you will be looking for.
  • If moving with others spread out and when crossing obstacles such as rivers or roads etc. take up positions to be able to give warnings of any threats that might be approaching. Also, stay low move fast and cross one by one.
  • Always be ready to take cover from gunfire or people you may encounter by surprise.
  • Remember certain smells indicate human activity; odors float downhill in cool air and rise in warm air.
  • Watch for stones, leaves or logs that have been moved, the undersides of these will be darker in color and damp environments, this can be an indicator of human activity or the location of hides.
  • Always look for straight lines as they are rare in nature and are usually man-made.
  • Learn to identify unnatural vegetation, such as green leaves among dead branches or areas of too much foliage as this could indicate human activity such as hides or ambushes.

These are some basic guidelines to get you thinking, these skills can’t be learn sat in a comfy chair, you need to get out and learn and practice them. Everything I have written about here is simple and the main thing required is situational awareness and common sense!

Modern humans are positively disadvantaged when surviving in and moving one foot in rural and wilderness areas. Most people these days have never spent a night outside without any cover,

This is the second article looking at ways we can cut our dependence on commercial feeds for our livestock. The first article primarily dealt with historic feeds and ways of storing them and some of the feeds that are rarely seen in small-scale production in the U.S. As stated in the first article, our modern livestock – even a lot of the dual-purpose homesteading breeds – are accustomed to certain types of feeds, heavy on mass-production mono-culture grains and hay. Those feeds tend to produce the fastest results and be cheap and easy to access.

However, they do contribute to the financial cost of keeping livestock and they require certain cultivation methods that may not be available to everyone. Substituting fertilizers and water-hungry crops for tubers and less-common grains may be part of the solution to making our livestock resilient to a small personal crisis or a major regional disaster. It can help us weather some of the ups and downs in pricing, as with droughts that send livestock feed and grocery bills skyrocketing.

There are some other ways we can increase our self-sufficiency and resiliency, though, even if it drops our livestock’s production to historic levels and takes a little longer to finish our meat stock. There is no one way to do anything, and no solution is going to work for everyone. However, having some backup ideas and methods in place as alternate feeds is rarely a bad thing, especially if we’re counting on meat rabbits and chickens, eggs, and milk in a collapse or Great Depression situation.

 

Rule of Thumb – Rabbits to Goats, Chickens, & Pigs

There are a couple of rules of thumb that can apply to our livestock and what we provide as a base feed or supplement. The first is that if hares can eat it, so can goats. Happily, chickens and pigs will eat almost anything – especially if they see other livestock going after it. Most feeds safe for rabbits will apply to them, too.

The Rabbit Food Pyramid

The Rabbit Food Pyramid

The rabbit point comes in because of all the lists available out there for pet or show rabbits. Some of the feeds for rabbits come right out of our kitchen gardens. Some of the feeds in those lists lack the roughage both hares and goats need to keep their guts processing. Others offer some excellent ways to increase the feed availability for livestock using something that already exists.

One example is trees and tree hays. Rabbits and goats can happily consume a wide number of trees, some of which may already be on our property and in need of pruning, such as willow, apple, maple, elm and mulberry.

Tree hays are little different from using a fodder like locust and calliandra that’s fed green. We can treat a surprising number of trees just like we do grasses and dry limbs at peak nutrition to pull out for hay or add to our silage. Like grasses, tree leaves are at their highest nutrient content before they flower and start directing energy toward fruits.

That allows us to selectively harvest small green boughs that would be pruned in another season normally, selecting for branches with lower impact on our future fruit harvest. And since the flowers themselves are sugary powerhouses and pollen is an excellent protein source, collecting limbs that bear those is only a bonus.

rabbits eating tree leaf and branch

Rabbits, tree branches and leaves

 

The richest tree fodders can only be used in limited number to modern rabbits, because they have sensitive digestions. Once it’s hay, instead of a leaf or three for a large meat rabbit, up to 20-40% of their grass hay can be replaced by tree hay. The larger branches themselves can go to rabbits, goats and chickens, too, even a couple of inches across should you prune something that large. They’ll strip the bark in some seasons, and rabbits will use chunks to help keep their ever-growing rodent teeth under control.

Soaking tree hays can help increase the interest and palatability for finicky livestock. Individual leaves can be soaked, or branches can be righted and stuck in a bucket of water for 24-48 hours to soak up liquids. Chickens won’t eat quite as many of the tree hays, even soaked, and pigs regularly need them soaked and sometimes mixed in with something like turnips and grasses. However, both are a little more willing to eat silage.

Don’t use the whole branches for silage, just the leaves and the tenderest tips that cattle in bare lots are willing to nibble.

Tree Fodder & Fruits

Cattle - lucerne tree fodder

Cattle consuming tree lucerne

 

There are actual trees like the black locust and smaller options like pea shrub that are being studied and cultivated as livestock feed replacements, especially in places like Africa with limited irrigation and poor soils. There are mixed feelings about keeping livestock on tree fodders, there are mixed research results, and studies tend to focus on one aspect of feed or another – it’s hard to get a comprehensive paper on DM, protein, digestibility and palatability all at once. Still, if livestock is part of the plan, it might not hurt to look into some of them. A lot of U.S. climates can mimic climates found somewhere in Africa – where a lot of the research starts and focuses still.

Fodder and forage trees and shrubs can be managed for human harvest and transport, or planted along outsides of fences or inside curbing poles and fences that limit livestock’s reach. Quickly rotated pastures can also allow the trees and shrubs to mature and grow back.

Native trees and shrubs that can be used for grass and hay replacement for rabbits and goats include American sycamore, blackberry, dewberry, raspberry, roses, hackberry, gooseberry, alder and mesquite. Livestock can eat currants, but currants and some of the other soft berry shrubs tend to not respond as well to “pruning” as brambles and gooseberry.

Other options for livestock include planting trees that drop seed or nuts, either for human harvest and fodder, or for livestock to forage on its own. Elm samaras can be collected green or brown to use as a fatty nut or seed supplement as well. Acorns are another example. There are a wealth of oaks out there that produce at different times, produce in ebb-and-flow cycles, develop acorns for two years instead of one, and produce different sized acorns. Most nuts are too valuable for livestock, but somebody with thriving hazelnut/filbert thickets might run in goats and then pigs or chickens.

 

Goat climbing and eating black locust

Goat climbing and eating black locust

There are the conventional fruits such as apples and pears. For me, the focus on fruit trees for livestock is largely on storable fruits that can go from tree to cellar. Most tree fruit is going to be too rich for domestic rabbits and a lot of cattle and horses, but pigs and chickens seem just fine with even large portions of meals made up of pears.

“Weedy” fruits like wild plum and mayhaw need absolutely no help from me to grow, but will produce some goat forage and fruits for pigs and chickens. Shrubs like chokeberry and chokecherry can be used alongside chicken tunnels and moats and runs, with the birds helping themselves to berries that protrude or drop within reach, and humans harvesting the berries they can’t reach – berries which don’t look like “normal” human or livestock foods and that dry well for later feed.

Rule of Thumb – What we eat, they eat

A lot of livestock feeds are already made from things that humans can consume – corn, soy, wheat, sunflower, millet. In the first livestock feed article, we pointed out things like tubers that store well. We can also take a look at local foraging options, and encourage what are basically weeds to use as feed. I wouldn’t try to forage for a goat’s entire diet, although there are things I can plant (and protect) that they can forage for themselves.

Sheep eating Kudzu

Sheep eating Kudzu

Cattail in the four or five human-edible stages is happily and healthily consumed by everything but cattle and horses. Reed grasses (avoid European phrag like the plague) provide a storable seed. Chickens and hogs will dig chufa. Don’t plant the stuff for heaven’s sake, but if kudzu is nearby, it makes a nice flower jelly and its leaves are readily palatable to even cattle.

Wood sorrel, henbit, low clovers, plantain, purslane, and dandelions are so routinely cursed by gardeners and lawn-growers, but they provide an enormously beneficial mix of protein- and micro-nutrient heavy foods, with the benefit of being enormously palatable as well as cold hearty. That means we can stick them under some plastic or grow them in tiers of soda bottles in our windows in winter, and be providing fresh foods to our livestock, even in just dribbles. That keeps our livestock healthier and more ready to transition back to pasture grazing.

Wood sorrel, henbit and chickweed are also tall enough and “heat”-tolerant enough that we can use them in grazing frames inside chicken runs, letting the birds munch them down as far as they can reach but having them grow back faster because the birds can’t get all the way down to the roots. They’ll hold up to grazing and manure better than just wheat or barley grasses.

Chicken grazing frame

Chicken grazing frame

Cheno-family lamb’s quarters, mallow, amaranthus pigweeds, shepherd’s purse, most of the sonchus thistles, any strawberry plants to include the invasive “weed” variant with little or no flavor, and wingstem or Iron weed can all be consumed by rabbits, goats and chickens. Most can also have leaves and stems dried to provide roughage or healthy supplements throughout winter and early spring.

Check out what Sam Thayer says about your area and your local foraging guide. Nettles have to be treated for livestock the same way they are for us, and some wild edibles are too time consuming, but there are others that can increase our feed (and pantry) potentials without a great deal of work because the weeds grow like … well, weeds.

Alternative feeds for your livestock

Using a mix of intentional forage and fodder trees, increasing the use of fruit trees and shrubs to harvest green grass and dry hay replacements or increase silage content, and looking at the wild edibles in our areas as a way to increase livestock feeds can make a difference in both resiliency and livestock costs, especially if we’re running small flocks and herds.

You need to slowly transition livestock to new feeds, especially if they’re accustomed to 1-2 base feeds, but livestock is just like humanity – we all do best with a variety of foods. Livestock is especially dependent on gut microflora to help them break down foods. I’m sure you’ve heard the “starving with a full belly” nugget. Before commercial feed and penned livestock was so prevalent, there was also “spring sickness” or “green dribbles” that came in part from livestock being able to access pasture again after winter, eating their heads off, and ending up with upset stomachs. Slowly transitioning livestock and keeping them on a variety of feeds can help limit those conditions because their guts stay primed to consume them.

Some other nuggets to research, especially for game birds like ducks and young poultry that need higher proteins, include black soldier fly farms, algae and duckweed aquariums, and worm bins or troughs. Fast-breeding minnows will change the flavor of eggs and meat, but can be kept in pretty small tanks with low energy needs. There’s also barely-sprouted grains (the ones that barely have any “tail” showing when they’re offered). I’m not a major fan of sprouted fodder systems (the kind that grow root mats and green shoots in trays) as a primary livestock feed for anything more than a couple of chickens or rabbits, but then, I’d also rather grow and re-grow rotating flats of mixed weeds and wheat grass for them in winter because it’s a lot less costly and labor intensive. Just remember that while some livestock like chickens and rabbits can be vegans and have lower protein needs, the game birds like ducks are not really grazers – they need seeds and-or live foods and the higher calories and proteins those offer.

There are a world of livestock feed options that don’t begin with slicing an alfalfa bale or cutting open a bag of pellets. Even if we choose to stay with grains and conventionally farmed feeds, having the alternative foraging and fodder options gives us a fallback and gives us something to shoulder as we walk around, giving our livestock extra nutrients and variety that can help keep them healthier.

This is the second article looking at ways we can cut our dependence on commercial feeds for our livestock. The first article primarily dealt with historic feeds and ways of storing

Air conditioning is a pretty modern convenience. There are still lots of countries where A/C is a luxury found only in hotels, restaurants, and the homes of the rich. Little beats retreating to a lake, basement or cellar for the afternoon, but we can look at them and back in history to the 1950s and earlier to figure out how we can make our lives a little bit more comfortable when we have outages or grid-down situations. There are a ton of ways we can help cool our bodies and little changes to activity and habits that can be incorporated for beating the heat in our homes, too, but for this article, I’m going to concentrate on the dwelling space itself.

Generate Shade

The more of our buildings that we can ring with shade of some kind, the cooler the building will stay. Even so, just shading the entrances and windows of homes, cellars, and workshops can help reduce the heat inside. Shading entrances is especially good in air-conditioned or cooled spaces. It helps reduce the sudden inversion that happens when the doors open. That can be huge for a cellar being filled with harvest.

There are three ways we can generate shade around our homes: window awnings, porches, and trees.

house

Shading windows with a short but deep awning and sheer tier curtains to reduce heating from sunlight.

 

Shading with window awnings helps reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the home. Old-style window awnings are deep. They’re designed to protect starting fairly early in the morning, all the way through midday into afternoon.

However, they were typically placed so they don’t actually cover much of the window. That protects from the brutal summer sun when it’s taking a high arc, while allowing for natural light early in the morning and late in the evening as the sun is setting, and for more natural light during winter when the sun’s path is at a lower angle.

Covered porches have the same effect – creating a buffer around doors if not the whole side or house. The deeper the porch, the less light will get through. There are programs available online that can help people at various latitudes figure out exactly what depth is most ideal by the compass directions, but generally 6-8’ will reduce summertime heat while still allowing for decent winter light to enter.

Deciduous trees are ideal for the southern face of a building and are regularly used on the east and west sides as well. They shade in the summer and then allow light to pass through their empty limbs in winter.

summer-house-veranda-villa

Image: The more shade we can generate, the cooler our interiors will stay.

Seasonal Window Dressing

Window dressing didn’t start out as the “just window dressing” that makes some of us crazy now. A lot of history is in all those fancy-do’s we drape around. While lace became vogue and sheers and tier curtains became the providence of rich folks, they started out as a way for poorer folks to gain some comfort without spending as much on fabric.

Sheers allow both light and airflow to enter the home, while the pale and white colors reflect back a lot of heat for us. Tier curtains originally protected the lower half of a window that wasn’t originally shaded by deep awnings or a shallower porch.

Today we also have light-blocking or “blackout” curtains. They’re typically a white backing that faces outward to bounce light and heat outside again, and any color at all that appeals on the inside. We can replicate them with white or pale green-sign Dollar Store/Tree shower curtains, or the real deal can be found even at Dollar General.

curtains

Blackout curtains reduce noon to daybreak, but because they also impact airflow, they’re more for our air-conditioned world with selective, judicious seasonal use in an outage or grid-down scenario.

Those light-blocking curtains with a solid surface are designed for an air-conditioned world, however. Pier 1 to Dollar General, they dampen airflow as well as light. If we’re going to be opening windows, we’d be better off hitting Goodwill/Salvation Army or a fabric store and picking up the oldest, thinnest white or pale-colored sheets or loose-weave blankets they have. Sheets have the bonus of a band at the top that makes for easy hanging, but there is iron-on fabric/sewing tape that can help even the most needle-challenged soul make some curtains.

Bonus Tip: We can get dark fabrics, sheets, blankets, towels, and shower curtains to get the reverse effect and create more passive solar heating in winter.

Elevated homes

In the time before air conditioning, a lot of homes were raised, with open airflow underneath. It’s still seen in some places, although it’s now more common in areas that flood or get damp in North America now.

 

-summer-house-veranda-wooden-house

Even outside of flood plains and when windows were expensive, simple Southern shacks were elevated slightly to increase airflow and decrease inside temperature.

We can’t do much about getting a preexisting home up off a foundation, but if we decide to build from scratch or buy a new one, it’s worth thinking about. Trailers are elevated, but even modern trailers aren’t usually insulated to the same degree that a house can be, even retroactively. Unless it’s the only thing besides a windowless brick that fits the budget, being elevated isn’t enough of a selling point to go for a trailer.

Thick Construction

Houses used to be nice and sturdy, built thick and dense. In some cases, that can create an oven, but with some shade and some windows for airflow, dense construction can create very much a cave-like atmosphere. That functions both ways, heat and cold, working to keep the house or building a more constant temperature.

We can sometimes cheat our way to denser walls and ceilings even in a home we already own. The thicker we pack our insulation – and the higher the grade of the insulation we use – the more solid our walls become. It’s not that difficult to pop off drywall and replace insulation, or add additional layers to it, overlapping the edges and layers as often as possible, and it can make a big difference in our daily life energy costs as well as during grid-down times.

If we don’t want to do the whole house, we might consider doing it either on the south or west side where the sunlight and heat are most brutal, or we might consider re-insulating the ceiling of a basement to create a heat-relief cave. We could also consider buffing up the insulation if we have an interior washroom, an isolated kitchen, or some other space that generates a lot of heat.

Airflow

We can’t do much about lifting our ceilings or putting in more or wider windows without a lot of expense, but both contributed hugely to cooling homes pre-A/C.

Tall ceilings allow heat to rise and collect up out of the human-use space nearer the floor. The advent of fans increased this hugely. A fan blowing just down or across us from the ceiling or a stand feels pretty darn good. Switching the rotation or blades so that fans are actively drawing air upwards instead of blowing down was a big help.

Even with A/C, a floor fan tilted to blow cool air up away from the floor and into our living space helps lower our electrical power use even in modern times.

Fan

Even a small fan set to blow back up from the floor can make a huge difference in our power draws (and bills). They function similarly to the historic use of ceiling fans to draw heat up but instead, they keep cool air from settling at our ankles.

 

Fans can also be placed in windows. In cool weather, they’re set to draw air inside. In warmer weather, they get flipped to help shove hot air out – especially helpful in the kitchen, just like when we set off the smoke detector while frying chicken.

Fans in windows can be a big help anywhere, and make a ton of difference for homes with few windows, a lot of turns, and little natural airflow.

Homes were originally designed not to block airflow, with room flowing into each other, large pocket or double doors in central areas, and copious windows that were arranged for cross ventilation. If we have the chance to buy or build, or renovate, they’re something to add to the list to check for. We can also find out where the weight-bearing walls are and remove one or widen doorways into arches to improve airflow.

Fans can also be used to help direct airflow from one end of the funky corners or dead spaces we get a lot in modern construction to another, but with kids and pets, the oddball placement required usually isn’t worth that one. However, since fans run off so much less power than an A/C, it’s an idea to stick in the back of our heads for an outage.

Whole House Fans

These aren’t just an attic fan. These are a specific cookie that does a specific job, and does that job best under specific conditions.

This guy http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/fans-attic-do-they-help-or-do-they-hurt does such a good job explaining a whole-house fan and the conditions, I’m just going to thumbnail it. There’s also a comparison here http://www.airscapefans.com/learn-about/whole-house-vs-attic-fans.php.

Basically, a whole-house fan is specifically for cooling the house, not the attic. A whole-house fan gets turned on at night with all the windows open. It’s function is to suck all the hot air from the day up into and then out of the attic. The vacuum draws in the cooler nighttime air, especially early in the morning when it’s coolest. Then the windows and vents in the house all get shut, holding that cool air for as long as possible. The denser the construction, the better the insulation and tightness of windows, and the more shade in the afternoon, the better it works.

It’s not like opening the house to cool off when we’re pretty sure we’re running the A/C almost all day tomorrow, because the A/C is actually more efficient without having to pump out all the moisture we’re going to let in.

This isn’t a “today” deep-summer fix for most of us who deal with 90-100+ temperatures, although it can reduce temps by 10-15 degrees even into afternoon, which helps keep us from running our A/Cs at times when it’s more comfortable (reducing power costs). However, in an outage of any duration, a whole house fan – which is pulling a lot less energy and requires a less robust generator – dropping the house from more than 95 degrees F down to 85 or 80 is something of a gift. Even if it only lasts to midday and then we have to reopen the house and run house fans with the temperature creeping up into “totally miserable”, it gives us more time to do canning chores and it can make for much, much more comfortable sleeping.

Alternate Sleeping Quarters

When it was really brutally hot and sticky, folks used to take to their fire escapes and front porches to sleep. Hammocks and cots indoors or outside under mosquito netting or a fly film pavilion help by increasing airflow compared to a standard mattress.

Air mattresses and air beds are fabulous little creations that can help keep us indoors, but accomplish almost the same thing – a fun fact I learned very recently as furniture made it one way, the wrong way, and faced delays in a move. They need to be fairly decent, though. I’m partial to Coleman. I’m not allowing another Intex into my house. Others’ results may vary.

air-bed

Air beds aren’t just for camping. A good air bed or air mattress on top of existing box frames or mattresses can help reduce heat while sleeping, providing more relief in summer the way hammocks once offered a cool-air option on the porch for sticky southern nights and afternoon siestas.

 

I have no idea how exactly air beds/mattresses manage it, but I can guess that the big pocket of air they store acts like insulation and then becomes a cold sink. I came to this conclusion because I’ve found that air beds are cooler than air mattresses. With an air mattress, I’m comfortable a few degrees warmer than usual. With an air bed I’m sleeping like a baby and reaching for a light blanket at the temperatures where I’m normally tossing and turning on our (stupidly expensive, was-going-to-be-perfect) $1K mattress system and crazy expensive stay-cool pillows. It was significant enough a reduction while I was by myself for a month, I threw one on the guest bed and I just sleep there when I’m hot (most nights).

Cooling Homes & Selves

There are lots of ways we can cool ourselves as well as our homes. Certain animals, the elderly, young children, and people with respiratory issues (even just allergies) are more sensitive to heat and heat stresses, and it’s important to know ways to help them and have somewhere for them to retreat from the heat. That might mean rigging an Egyptian cooler so there are cool, damp cloths for wiping down, or it might mean putting together enough of a battery bank or quiet generator to keep fans going. We’ll adjust, to some degree, but if a crisis hits during summer or it’s just a temporary outage, knowing some ways to cool a house can help with the adjustment.

This is about houses, but I can’t miss the chance to plug water. In high heat, I consume a gallon and a half of just water, and another gallon of things made with water. Getting some fans, getting fixed-shut windows opened, and installing screens are important, but we also need to be budgeting for water, whether it’s storage or catchment or our backup well or spring systems. Being 10 degrees cooler isn’t going to save us from dropping due to dehydration.

The more of our buildings that we can ring with shade of some kind, the cooler the building will stay. Even so, just shading the entrances and windows of homes,

When it comes to self-sufficiency, replacing the grocery store seems to be the biggest hurdle for most preppers. Gardens are most commonly thought of because we as humans collectively seem to think, ‘how hard can it be’ to dig a hole and put a seed in it? Regardless of how prevalent gardening and farming are and have been in our culture, most people do not have a garden or expect maintaining one will be quick and easy.

The rude awakening comes the first year when the summer months cause weeds to grow like evil vines choking out everything that in the spring was nice and tidy. Bugs begin to eat all our tender vegetables and the idea of eating one more zucchini makes you sick. The first year of gardening can make you think that there is no way these tomatoes are worth all that effort. For us, if you consider the cost of time, materials and effort that went into our first garden I know the vegetables were about $10 a piece and many lessons were learned.

Having a garden that is growing and producing fresh food that your family eats is a tremendous benefit, but what about protein? Aquaponics is another growing hobby, but the initial setup can seem daunting and still requires an alternate power source. Sure, it would be nice if we all had a working farm with livestock but that simply isn’t going to happen. For one thing, most people don’t have the land or money but more importantly experience, to keep a farm going. There are ways that preppers can provide all the meat you would need to live on in a smaller and easier package. Enter the humble rabbit.

The interest in raising rabbits for meat is growing as preppers are constantly trying to find ways to feed their families in the event the local supermarket is out of commission. Once you have considered the prospect of having your own source of food, the question turns to how to raise rabbits and that is what I hope to discuss today. Raising rabbits gives you the benefit of fresh meat, but it is also healthier and devoid of the chemicals and hormones found in most grocery store meat. While you are feeding your family, they are also getting healthy food that has been raised by you so you know exactly what has been put into the food that makes it to your families table.

A lot of people know that rabbits are prolific breeders, but exactly how many rabbits would you need to feed your family? A single female has on average about 8 babies or kits per litter and rabbits have a gestational period of 28-31 days so it is feasible for your rabbit to have one litter per month but more likely a little less. If you start with three rabbits (2 females and one male) you could have well over a hundred rabbits in the first year.

Of course you would be eating these rabbits so the population would need to be controlled to support your family, but it is easy to produce enough meat so that your family could survive on a relatively small number of rabbits. You would just need to figure out how much meat you would want to produce and adjust your breeding accordingly. This gives you the ability to raise more meat though so it could be used to feed other people or barter.

rabbitcage

Building a rabbit cage is simple.

What type of rabbits are the best

There are three breeds most commonly used as meat stock: the Californian, New Zealand, and Florida White. The American Chinchilla, Satin, Silver Fox, and Champagne d’Argent are also great choices. It is best to speak to a local provider as each breed has their own advantages. For breeders in your local area, you can check out RabbitBreeders.us who has a searchable rabbit breeder’s directory.

What do Rabbits eat?

There is commercial rabbit food, but primarily they need hay. You should have a hay rack in your rabbit cage and make sure it is full of hay. Some recommend using Alfalfa, which you can easily grow yourself right in your home. Making sure your hay is cut into manageable lengths will help the rabbits out as well as keeping their cage clean. Rabbits can also eat vegetable scraps and lawn trimmings but make sure you are watching what they eat to remove anything they turn up their noses at. Carrots are always a favorite, but monitor their intake of too many green vegetables as it can cause them to get bloat or diarrhea.

How do you make a rabbit cage?

There are many ways to prepare a home for your rabbits from buying new manufactured rabbit cages online or used rabbit cages for sale at yard sales, in the local paper or on Craigslist. The more industrious can also find free plans to build your own rabbit hutch all over the web. The basics of any rabbit cage should give them shelter from the heat, protection from predators and enough room to move around. You also want something easy to clean because everything that goes in the front of the rabbit has to come out the back. A close wire mesh floor will allow the manure to drop on through and not be trampled under their feet.

How do you kill a rabbit?

For most people I assume the act of having to kill and butcher your own meat is the biggest psychological hurdle to raising your own food. Some even have a complete disconnect with the fact that all the animals we eat have to be butchered and killed before they can make it to those shiny packages in the store. It is one thing to pluck a tomato off the vine, but quite another to chase a chicken down that you have been raising for eggs and wring its neck, let alone plucking it and the butchering process.

Are rabbits a food source you would consider for your home?


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When it comes to self-sufficiency, replacing the grocery store seems to be the biggest hurdle for most preppers. Gardens are most commonly thought of because we as humans collectively seem

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda

I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in my house. Baking soda is one of those items that has about a hundred and one uses, only some of them limited to the kitchen. It’s nice and cheap, and while I don’t think it’s one of the things that runs off the shelves in any crisis – snow storm, hurricane, or larger – it’s hugely beneficial to have plenty of it on hand.

To me, the price and the usefulness put it way up on any must-have list for preppers (or pretty much any adult).

First we want to be sure of what we’re talking about. On store shelves, baking soda is most usually going to be a box, although it can be found in big bags for those of us who use it a lot. It’s the one with sodium bicarbonate listed as the active ingredient, not cornstarch and 4-6 other things in a little round carton. That other one is what you use for bannock bread and microwaved mug brownies – baking powder.

Shoe satchels

baking-soda-for-shoes

Stomping out smells in your shoes is one of baking sodas great claims to fame.

Those of us who have ever had a fridge or dishwasher that’s been turned off for a while have probably heard of sticking an opened box of baking soda in there. Arm & Hammer even creates packages with a mesh-lined side flap for just that purpose. That same deodorizing capability combines with a low-level desiccant, and can be used to dry out and kill the sweat or swamp funk in our boots and shoes. This is the stuff that gets added to kitty litter boxes, after all. Stomping out smells is one of its great claims to fame.

The satchels can be made out of cloth, old socks whose mates have gone missing, coffee filters, or used dryer sheets. The imagination is really the only limiting factor here. As long as it allows easy airflow between the footwear and the baking soda inside, it’ll work. Add at least a tablespoon and a half of baking soda, tie up, and drop inside.

 

If you want to jazz up the shoe satchels further you can add all kinds of things from dried flowers and herbs (lavender, rose, rosemary, mints, eucalyptus) to bath crystals or salts.

This one works not only on shoes, but also on things like old gym bags, the lunch bag from two years ago, a small cooler, a tool bucket or box that has a case of the funk, or a softball bag that’s being repurposed.

Foot Soak

foot-soak-recipes-600x399

If the smell from shoes is originating because of the feet in them, you can combine baking soda with any number of things to create a foot soak.

Mouthwash, herbal teas, various oils like lavender or eucalyptus or rosemary, lemon slices or juice, Epsom salts (excellent addition), apple cider vinegar, and dried herbs like rosemary, mints, or plantain all get added. A simple soak of 1-2 cups in a gallon or two of warm water for 15-30 minutes can soften and rejuvenate feet, and help control various fungus that want to live in warm, sweaty environments.

Surface Cleaner

cutting-board-plastic

We know that baking soda is one of the things we can stock to use as a toothpaste alternate, or to concoct our own toothpaste. It cleans more than mouths, though.

Just sprinkling it on carpets and wooden decks or porches, letting it sit, and then sweeping or vacuuming it up works wonders for some odors and fungi. We can also clean our cutting boards by rubbing with baking soda and-or salt and a lemon, or just scrubbing with a brush and the dry ingredients and then letting it sit for a bit. The powders create a habitat that discourages many microbes, like the kind that live in tiny scratched crevices and outlive even dish soap and the dishwasher.

 

We can use that trick on dog bowls, sinks and counters, as well, using fresh lemons or limes or bottled lemon juice, or just scrubbing and allowing it to sit, then sweeping it and wiping it up.

Pipe & Drain Cleaner

Getting rid of shower and tub mildew and *that* smell in any pipe uses basically the same ingredients as above: baking soda, salt in some cases, and lemon. Vinegar of pretty much any kind can be substituted for lemon juice if somebody likes that price enough for a different smell, or wants to go with apple cider vinegar.

I like the method where you boil 2-8 cups of water to pour down the drain, then throw a cup of baking soda in and let that sit for 5-60 minutes, and follow it up with 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a cup of water.

baking-soda-scrub-sink

There are a few variations, so poke around a bit. Some say to cover it to direct the reaction downward (not so sure about that), and some to limit the fumes in the air (just don’t use white vinegar). Some say to give it 6-8 hours, and some say to just wait until the bubbles stop. Some suggest just rinsing with tap water, and some suggest boiling more water to flush the remnants away. Up to you.

It doesn’t always work, especially in the bathroom where *somebody* sheds 2’ hair with every shower. Sometimes a repeat or upgrade to/of vinegar to the stronger cousins works. Every once in a while, you have to go to a snake or “real” drain cleaner, but a lot of the time, whether it’s a slow drain, a for-real clog, or a smell, the baking soda does the trick.

There are apparently schools of thought where this is bad and degrades things, so research that too.

Fungicide (Outdoor)

spray

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

One of the things that helps baking soda kill smells is that the sodium bicarbonate is an antacid, a highly reactive one. A lot of growing things prefer an acidic environment. Fungi – from mold to mildew – is one of those things. The beauty is that baking soda is a stabilizing antacid. It’ll react with anything in an extreme, and go through a severe reaction initially (which can also kill bad stuff) but then it’ll self-regulate and return its surroundings to a near-neutral state.

No wonder this stuff is called miracle powder, right?

 

 

That miracle powder can help us in a big way with some common crop and garden pests – mildews.

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

Powdery mildew on any plants can be prevented and treated with the same, however, the addition of a teaspoon of dish detergent and a teaspoon of vegetable oil per half gallon will help it stick better. Once powdery mildew gets started, it’s a constant battle, so having the spray last longer on the plants can save us a lot of time and heartache.

Creepy-Crawly Pests

destroying-ants

Fungus gnats aren’t usually harmful, but they are annoying, and there are times there are so many that the soil-dwelling larvae stage start stunting plant growth because they’re consuming the tiny root hairs of plants. A teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dish detergent in a full gallon of water can also help remove or reduce the populations, without changing soil pH so much that acid-loving veggie plants and perennials can’t handle it and die, too. As with mildews, all soils in the area need treated and the treatment will have to be repeated to break the infestation completely since there are multiple stages and locations in the gnats’ life cycles.

Mixing baking soda 1:1 with powdered sugar and surrounding an ant hill with a 1”x1” wall of the stuff can help reduce those garden pests, too. I’ve had it decrease the visible numbers, but they seem to pop back up. Still, it’s nicer working in beds and playing fetch or weed-eating with a few less ants getting aggravated with you. A ring of baking soda will also help deter slugs. (Grits and cornmeal help with ants and slugs, too.)

Pest Sting & Itch Relief

 

Baking soda recently got crowned the Most Prized Possession in my house. I was attacked by some sort of not-bee striped flyer, and ended up with welts roughly the sizes of eggs, from dainty little quail all the way up to jumbos, with 3-6” red raised areas around the big welts. Yay! A poultice of just baking soda and water reduced the swelling and pain.

That poultice is best applied with large Band-Aids already open and waiting, especially if you’re trying to doctor your own elbow and thigh.

If the poultice is allowed to dry, it will come off in big flakes or shingles, and can actually help extract a broken-off stinger, fang or tick head.

 

Like the satchels, the poultice can be improved on. Chamomile tea is awesome, but any kind of tea contains fabulous stuff that helps reduce swelling and pain more and faster. Let it cool and add it to the poultice, open a bag to mix in before the water, or open a used bag to add to the paste. Aloe can be stripped and chopped and added, as can commercially available gel. So can witch hazel, chamomile flowers, lavender oil or flowers, fresh or dried plantain, Echinacea (purple cone flower), chickweed or jewelweed, and lemon balm.

Some people also apparently make their poultice with milk. Not my thing. Likewise, I’m not adding to the mess or pains by using honey or honey crystals in there, but there are proponents of honey as well.

Go as crazy as you like with that one.

Maybe the sting or bite isn’t making you crazy enough to coat your wounds with paste and Band-Aids. Sometimes we’re just hot and itchy and can’t really identify a single place to treat, and a shower or bath isn’t really cutting it.

Baking soda in a tub with or without soothing additives like oatmeal can help.

You can also make a satchel similar to the first use listed, although you’ll want it to be bigger. Again, alone or with things like chipped aloe, oatmeal, chamomile flowers or oil, or tea leaves from a regular grocery-store brewing bag (Camellia sinensis species) can be added. You use the satchel to dab yourself while you’re in the shower.

Baking Soda

There are just so many uses for baking soda, with these the very tip of the iceberg. Run any google search for uses, and you’ll find dozens more, from killing weeds to repelling rabbits and silverfish. It goes in laundry and it gets used for facial masks. Use it to deodorize dogs, make Play Dough, or get gum/caulk out of your hair. The stuff is so cheap, so easy to find, and does so much, it’s worth filling a box or drawer and keeping handy, especially if we live well outside shopping areas.

It’s not one that I expect there to ever be massive runs on, not like generators, snow shovels, tarps and plywood, peanut butter, and toilet paper. However, in a long-term disaster, we could potentially run out. For me, it doesn’t replace a fire alarm and fire extinguisher, some extra batteries that fit that alarm, or having spare oil and coolant in the truck, but it’s right up there with the food and water supplies as a must-have item.

Hopefully you’ll explore its uses a little more, print out some of the many 11, 30, and 50+ uses lists, and stock up at least a little.


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A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in

Wherever you are working or living at some point you will have to use vehicles, for most people they are part of their everyday lives. Driving itself can be a dangerous task in many places and as we have seen many kidnappings, robberies and assassinations occur when people are in or around their vehicles.  In times of civil unrest or if you’re traveling to a potentially hostile area your vehicle security and travel must be planned for and taken seriously.

Vehicles should be regarded as an important piece of your equipment and should be well maintained and never treated as a toy.  Before you take a vehicle out basic maintenance checks need to be done, like checking the battery, oil, fuel level, tires, water, spare tire, break down and vehicle emergency kit. You should always ensure you have a good means of communications and that you regularly check in with trusted people who can send assistance in the case of an emergency. You should also always know the routes you are driving and the location of any facilities along those routes that could be of use to you whether it’s a coffee shop with a bathroom or a hospital with an emergency room.

Basic Vehicle Security

Vehicles need to be secured or manned at all times, if they are left unattended, they, and the area around them, must be searched for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices, contraband and anything suspicious. The area around a vehicle must be searched as you approach it for any suspicious vehicles or people; the criminals may have found your car and are waiting for your approach it to kidnap or assassinate you. I always try to park my car as far away from others as possible, that way there is no cover for anyone to hide and if any other car is parked close to mine they are immediately suspicious.  If you keep the vehicle in a locked garage still always lock doors and trunk, you will also need to search the exterior of the garage for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices and signs of forced entry in a high-risk environment.

If the vehicle cannot be garaged, try to park it in a secure, guarded area or somewhere that is covered by surveillance cameras. Drive-ways and regularly used routes from your residence to main roads should regularly be search for IEDs and signs of criminal activity. A vehicle needs to be searched after being serviced or repaired and after being left unattended for any length of time, here are some guidelines on how to search a vehicle:

  • 100 Deadly Skills – Great information for people who want to make sure they can survive any dangerous situation.

    Always search the general area around a vehicle for any explosive devices or suspicious people waiting to ambush you. Always check the outside of a garage for any signs of a force entry before you go in and check garage doors and drive ways for signs of booby traps, land mines and ambushes. The roofs of garages need to secured!

  • Turn off all radios and cell phones and check the immediate area surrounding the car for disturbances, wires, oil/fluid stains, footprints, etc. It helps to keep vehicles a little dirty as you will be able to see smears in the dirt if someone was trying to break in.
  • Visual check through the windows for anything thing out-of-place or wires, etc.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and check underneath the vehicle, inside fenders, wheels and arches for any devices. Also check for cut tires, lose wheel nuts and devices placed under the wheels. This is where a flashlight and a search mirror can come in handy.
  • Check the exhaust as it is a very easy place to put an improvised explosive device. You can have bolts or wire mesh put in to exhausts to stop IEDs from being placed in them; if you do this, make sure the bolts or wire mess is not visible as this can draw attention to the car.
  • Slowly open the car doors and check the Interior of the vehicle even if there is no signs of a forced entry. Do the same for the trunk and make sure to search the spare tire and break down kit.
  • Open the hood slowly and check the engine. Again it might be helpful to keep the engine dirty as new wires and hand prints are easy to see.
  • Final turn on the engine and check all the electrics.

This is just a guide to searching vehicles but as you can see to do a thorough search can take time and would require someone to be watching the back of the searcher. Your best defense is to deny the criminal access to your vehicle but this can prove to be very difficult in the real world.

Vehicle Drills

If you are consider undertaking some advanced driving training, I see little need for evasive driver training but can see applications for people to learn to be able to handle vehicles at speed and in hazardous weather.  Again, vehicle drills cannot be learnt from manuals or videos, you will need to learn them from an experienced advanced trained driver. Always check out the instructor’s background, qualifications and reputation, look for those that offer sensible driving courses and not wannabe spy holidays.

The main thing you need to learn is how to drive safely and to be able to identify any possible threats and avoid them. In most large towns and cities you will not be able to perform such things as J turns or other evasive maneuvers due to lack of space and traffic, so you must always be aware of what is going on around you.  The main thing I tell people is to keep as much space as possible between you and the car in front as this can give you some space to maneuver in congested traffic.

When you watch the movies and there is a car chase and the cars are skidding all over the place check the state of the roads they are on. Chances are the roads will be wet, and the tires on the cars will have minimal tread. This is the same on most evasive driving courses, but these are also usually done on private roads or open areas where there is no other traffic.  Think about why you put decent tires on your vehicles; to stop them from skidding and spinning out of control right? When you are driving around you always want to be thinking of where you could take evasive action, in urban areas there will be few places where you could spin your car around and drive against the traffic flow; that’s Hollywood.

If the criminals or terrorists are in any way professional they will attack you when your car is penned in and you cannot take any evasive maneuvers, not on wide open roads. It’s a common street kid tactics in a lot of Latin American cities to rob cars at traffic lights that are at least two cars back from the stop light with other cars behind them; these cars are stuck and cannot escape. If street kids on bicycles with at most a rusty revolver have worked out how to jack people in cars don’t you think their big bothers have also?

I am regularly asked about whether I favor armored cars or not, as with everything they have their pros and cons. Armored cars do have an application, the first thing you need to consider is what level of armoring the car your buying or using has. I have come across people driving around in cars armored to stop pistol caliber rounds in areas where the bad guys carry assault weapons, they thought an armored car was all they needed and were unaware of the different levels of armoring. You will also need to confirm where the car is armored; doors, windows, floor, engine, roof etc. Some cars may only have some armored panels in the doors and rear seat, always check for yourself and do not believe what people tell you.

Now think like the criminals, if you knew your target was driving around in a SUV armored to B6 level are you going to shoot at them when they are driving around or wait for them stop and get out of the car, or stop them and make them get out of the car? Think about how can you get someone out of a car; what would you do if a female driver bumped into the back of your car, get out to inspect the damage and then possibly be kidnapped by her two armed accomplices crouched in the back seat of her car? Always be aware of decoys that are intended to make you stop and get out of your vehicle, such as accidents or even bodies next to the road. Basic rule, stay in your car and keep moving between safe areas.

A criminal tactic when targeting armored cash-in-transit vehicles is to box them in, cover the van in gasoline, then give those inside to option of throwing out the cash, surrendering or being burnt alive. An issue with armored vehicles is that you cannot shoot at the criminals from the inside. There was one incident I recall from the mid 1990’s where an unarmored van that was moving cash was stopped and ambushed in an Eastern European country, the fact the van was unarmored enabled the security personnel inside to be able to shoot through the sides of the van and drive off the criminals, which they could not have done if they had taken an armored van that day. There have also been numerous incidents where criminals have assassinated targets traveling in armored vehicles with IEDs, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and improvised shaped charges. An armored vehicle can assist you in your security program but it should not be all there is to your security program.

Security Considerations when using vehicles

  • Always check the area around the vehicle before you approach it.
  • Search the vehicle prior to use for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices and contraband.
  • Always keep a spare set of keys for the vehicle on you in case the driver loses his or is taken out by the criminals.
  • Be aware of the vehicle’s capabilities; make sure the driver has experience driving that type of vehicle.
  • Always drive safely at the maximum, safest speed, within the legal speed limit.
  • Always carry out basic maintenance checks, before you go anywhere and check that communications work before leaving a safe area.
  • Make sure you know what to do if your car breaks down; will someone come to get you or will you call for roadside assistance?
  • In rural areas things that should be included in your break down kit should include cans of fix-a-flat, air compressor, jump leads, tire plugging kit, tube to siphon gas, gas cans and a tow rope.
  • Know which routes your taking and keep maps in the vehicle for all areas you’re traveling in. Also have alternative routes prepared that have been driven and checked out.
  • Inform personnel at a location 10 to 15 minutes, before your arrival.
  • Constantly check behind you for criminal surveillance vehicles and be suspicious of motorbikes, especially with two people on them.
  • When being followed by a motorbike always watch to see if both the rider’s hands are on the handle bars, if you only see one hand, what is the other holding or doing?
  • Make full use of your mirrors; put a mirror on the passenger side for the passenger to use.
  • Regularly carry out counter-surveillance drills and always be watching for any cars following you or suspicious people along regularly used routes.
  • Keep a good distance from the car in front, so you can drive around it in an emergency and try to avoid being blocked by other vehicles.
  • Never let the vehicle fuel tank to go below half full and know where all gas stations are along your route.
  • Keep doors locked when traveling between locations and in urban areas do not open windows or sunroof more than an inch, so things cannot be thrown in.
  • Always be prepared to take evasive action, be aware of danger points on your routes and drive towards the center of the road to have space for evasive maneuvers.
  • Blend in with your environment; don’t drive expensive cars in poor areas, etc.
  • Be suspicious of all roadblocks, temporary stop signs and car accidents, etc. Never stop to pick up hitchhikers or help other motorists, as these could be covers for an ambush or carjacking.
  • Keep vehicle keys secure and know who has all the spare keys and access to the vehicle.
  • Remember others can monitor tracking devices and help services such as OnStar, then get the details of where you are and you’re routine without the need for surveillance.
  • Be extra vigilant at traffic lights and in slow-moving traffic.
  • Keep the vehicle in a locked garage when not in use and lock all doors and the trunk.
  • Wherever legal reverse park; this will help if fast get away is required.
  • Always use seat belts, especially when driving at speed or taking evasive action.
  • Keep a safety knife handy to cut away seat belts and break windows in the case of a crash.
  • When driving on dangerous roads or taking evasive action open the vehicles windows to make escape easier in the event of a crash.

Wherever you are working or living at some point you will have to use vehicles, for most people they are part of their everyday lives. Driving itself can be a

Many people are scared that all of their efforts towards prepping would be futile if TEOTWAWKI never actually comes. The problem with this parochial view is that they never take into account the high possibilities of disasters such as floods, snowstorms or even power-grid failures. The other thing holding them back is the “Is this worth the cash?” argument they have with themselves.

Preppers actually learn to save money and prevent spending on things unnecessarily. We buy prepping supplies that are often used to sustain our life while it can still be kept long-term. Preppers also cultivate survival skills such as gardening and home repair which can save them a pretty penny in the long-run. Since increasing your survival odds is highly correlated to the amount of survival knowledge you have, most preppers will definitely invest their time in learning new skills.

 

There are many disasters happening and most of us are not aware of it. Hence, these are 8 reasons why prepping is good for you.

Reason #1: Cash conservation

The skills that you acquire – preferably practical skills to survive will help you to save the money needed to call that repairman to your house. Planting a garden is an excellent way to prep and it is extremely cost-effective. Instead of buying commercial food or constantly eating out, learn how to cook your favorite meal and plant your favorite fruits, you will not regret it!

Do you remember that Greece had to undergo a collapse in their economy which caused many lives to be at stake where those people who could not accept it commit suicide? There were many stakeholders pointing fingers to each other but the debt crisis was actually due to flawed accounting practices and not being transparent enough.

In my opinion, having a job which is more within your control such as being self-employed or starting a blog is one of the best defenses for an economic downturn. You can even start thinking of how used items can be made into something beneficial that we need to survive. Furthermore, you can start prepping with basically no cost at all by learning the skills needed and getting free gear from survival blog giveaways. The art of preparedness is basically how to live by yourself without depending on external sources such as lending money which is the main cause of bankruptcy.

Reason #2: Security better than insurance

When a SHTF situation occurs, your life would be threatened and most people will suffer the consequences of not sufficiently preparing. The suicide rate would spike even when an economic collapse happens where people who are indebted kill themselves just to get out of the loop of debt they got themselves into.

In preparedness, we never support the idea of lending money and we would fully advocate low-cost prepping. Keep a journal with you regarding the best prep skills, fix that leaking roof in your house and stop spending money unnecessarily! Feeling safe and peaceful would be much more frequent when you are much more prepared.

Even recently, retrenchment is rampant in our current economy where most people lost their active source of income. Preparing for a SHTF situation by having a side income, running your own business, stocking up on food and water or even having a surplus of cash would definitely help you to get back on your feet. Is this not better than conventional insurance? What if a snowstorm hit your place? Will your insurance be able to take the pain or would being prepared more likely to mitigate the amount of pain and loss?

Reason #3: Cultivation of critical thinking

When you are preparing for a crisis, you have to pan out what items you should bring and what are the steps you should do for survival. With the constant thought of how to prepare in your mind, you will naturally put in unremitting effort to cultivate the skills needed. What do I need to do to find a safe shelter? How can I ensure that my family would be able to survive at least for a week without external aid? All of these questions are at the very core of the preparedness journey. To increase your survival rate, you have no choice but to cultivate critical thinking, practice it in everyday life and survive!

Since we do not know how a TEOTWAWKI situation will look like, we have to be well-rounded and prepare for the worst to come. But of course, it is wiser to get ready for a more frequent disaster that may occur in your area. Use your intelligence to solve the problem.

Reason #4: Keeping your body healthy

The first rule of thumb to preparedness is keeping your body healthy so that you can think on your feet when a life threatening situation happen. This all involves knowing what food to eat and how much of it you can consume.

 

Basically, there are situations where we are met with water shortage. Storing water is very essential and learning how to purify water is a must. Keeping a body healthy means, you have to know what is the amount of water and food your body needs.

Learning the art of bush craft or how to scout will also be beneficial to your physical health while increasing your chance of survival. The very essence of preparedness is to have great physical capabilities. Can you walk for a few days non-stop in search for safety? If the answer is no, time to get on that treadmill.

Reason #5: Acceptance of the current condition

Knowing that an economic downturn and political tensions are inevitable, ultimately preppers do not complain but we do what we can now. The prepper community always keep their heads up for the recent news and practice practical skills that can help them survive.  If you are reading this post now, most likely you are one of the few people preparing rather than complaining. Preparing for the worst is something much better than complaining about it when the SHTF.

It would be great for you to bond with family and friends. Since you do not complain and you are capable of giving aid to your friends when a disaster strikes, they will trust you more. Since trust is a difficult thing to build and turning people off with your complaint is bad, it would be wise that you start prepping now.
By having enough supplies in your house and knowledge in your mental storehouse, you would have peace of mind appreciating every moment when no problems occur. Even if things do happen, you would accept it totally and put your supplies into good use.

Reason #6: Consistent supply of alternative energy

Preppers will also prep for power grid failures which will potentially happen in a TEOTWAWKI situation such as an EMP strike. Do you know how to make a cost-effective electric generator? How about getting that windmill to generate electricity? All these ideas are great to provide a constant supply of electricity which will potentially help you to save costs in the long-run.

The knowledge on how to get an alternative energy source in the most efficient way possible would definitely be great. Besides saving on certain amount of cash, you get the energy to keep yourself and your family comfortable when a power outage occurs.

Reason #7: Keep yourself safe

In preparedness, you have to learn how to shoot a gun and how to conceal it. There might be times when your life is at the line with robbers or terrorists threatening your very existence.

What happens when your car breaks down in a deserted highway with a winter storm? You would have prayed that you placed your EDC (Every Day Carry pack) or even a bug out bag in the trunk. Having some extra blankets and food to keep you warm would be great.

How about when your house catches fire? Where have you kept the important documents? This would be the time where you wished you packed your bug out bag with the important documents. When your life is at stake, you would not have time to think twice of what documents to keep. All you can do now is to prepare for the most frequent crisis and keep your faith that nothing bad would happen to a good person.

Reason #8: Save people around you (especially your loved one)

The practice of food storage can actually save you and your family’s life because food shortages can potentially happen. Do not always assume that you can purchase food in the local grocery shop, there might come a time even when an earthquake or flood happens where you will be thankful you had that supply of food.

Moreover, medicine would be scarce when the SHTF. When distribution channels are disturbed by a natural disaster for that matter, your local pharmacy or doctor may have their supplies wiped out. Hence, it is imperative that we keep a First Aid Kit and have the knowledge to use it. Who knows? You may come across a wound and get hurt when disaster strike, and knowing how to tend to your wound would be a matter of life and death!

Conclusion

I would like to congratulate you for reading this post! Most people would not even take the first step in gathering information regarding preparedness thinking that it is a waste of time. With this 8 reasons, I urge you to start preparing now because it would definitely be beneficial! What other benefits do you have in mind? Please share in the comment box below.


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Many people are scared that all of their efforts towards prepping would be futile if TEOTWAWKI never actually comes. The problem with this parochial view is that they never take

As you consider the following and plan your food storage, bear in mind that your survival in any scenario will have a great deal to do with the decisions you make now about your food. Good food—and a good variety of that food—boosts morale tremendously in difficult situations. Less palatable food causes stress and much worse. Whether you and your family survive and thrive in the coming difficulties will ultimately depend on acknowledging the essential role of a healthy, varied diet and planning for it. This article will give you some real food storage ideas to use for your family.

There is a lot of advice out there to store food for uncertain times, but how much? How much food to store depends on how long the difficult times last, and only you can decide how long you want to prepare for. First off, consider your situation. How many people are you responsible for? What are their ages? When you are calculating how much food to store, everything is calculated based on an adult and teen males consuming 2500 calories per day. Pregnant and nursing women get the same number of calories. Teen girls and other women are allocated ¾ of this amount. Children under 12 years count as ½.

Consider your food storage needs

Decide what event(s) you are prepping for. Is it a civil war, world war, EMP, financial collapse, personal financial misfortune, pandemic, etc., or maybe all of the above? There is no shortage of people telling you what exactly is going to happen when. So far, they haven’t been right, but someday somebody will be. Collapse of some sort is in our future; history says so. If I’m prepping for a pandemic, I’m going to want a fair number of heat and eat or freeze-dried meals for when people are too sick to prepare food. With a financial collapse, I’ll supposedly have the time to prepare normal meals at home. With an EMP, I better be able to make meals without electricity.

Consider what you want to eat. Do you really want to live on MREs, canned soups, freeze-dried meals, and the like, all of which are really high in sodium and artificial preservatives? Is that how you normally eat, or will suddenly changing to such a diet be a shock to your body? Do you want to just buy a package deal—and trust that someone else knows what and how much you want to eat? If so, pay attention to the number of calories per day. Some of those packages contain as little as 1200 calories per day. Who is going to be happy with that? TEOTWAWKI is not the time to lose that extra weight. Mental stress alone will contribute to weight loss. In addition, are you planning on doing much more physical labor when TEOTWAWKI hits? (You should be.) How happy are those doing the heavy labor going to be on 2,000 or even 2,500 calories per day? Hint: They won’t be happy. You need to plan on double the number of calories for those doing heavy physical labor.

Defining your food storage budget

Decide what your budget is. Most people can probably manage to buy a few weeks’ worth of freeze-dried meals or MREs, but if you’re prepping for the long-term and/or for a family, and your funds are limited, you are going to have to be more careful. The biggest bang for your buck is going to come from long-term storage foods such as grains and legumes.

What new skills you are willing to learn? Are you willing to learn to bake? Are you willing to learn to bake bread—without an automatic bread machine? Are you willing to grind your own grains? Are you willing to learn to garden? What about learning to can fruits, vegetables, and/or meats? Raise livestock? It doesn’t have to be cows and pigs—chickens and rabbits are much more manageable for beginners. The answers to all of these questions should govern the decisions about what you store. If you are not willing to learn to bake bread, storing a whole lot of wheat may not make much sense. You can store white flour instead—its shelf life is much shorter and it is far less nutritious, but it will keep you alive. Pick one new skill to learn each month. The most important one is probably learning to make bread, followed by gardening.

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The first items to store should be a three-month supply of foods you normally eat. Whatever it is that causes us to eat our stored food is going to be a stressful time. The last thing your digestive system needs when it is already stressed is more stress from eating unfamiliar foods. Children and the elderly are much more vulnerable in this situation and you don’t want to increase their stress (and yours!) by forcing a radical new diet on them.

So come up with your list of foods you already enjoy preparing at home and you are already accustomed to eating, preferably foods that require no refrigeration. You should really have a three-month supply of these foods. Make up a menu for one week, list every item you need for each meal, and buy thirteen of each item to have a three-month supply.

What are some real food storage ideas you can use?

Once you have done this (because how many of us really think the chaos will be over in three months and life will immediately return to normal?), consider adding longer-term storage foods. For each adult male per month, store the following:

  • Grains: 33 lbs per month. If you are grinding your own grains for bread, store 20 lbs hard white wheat (white wheat is generally preferred for its lighter, sweeter taste, and is also easier on the digestive system), 5 lbs white flour, 2 lbs rice, 3 lbs pasta, 2 lbs oatmeal, 1 lb popcorn.
  • Dry beans: 5 lbs per month. Pinto beans, white beans, black beans, legumes, lentils. Beans are among the most sensitive of long-term storage foods and must be stored in a cool, dry place. Otherwise, they will become tough and require much longer cooking times to soften.
  • Sugars: 5 lbs per month. This is only for baking and cooking meals, no desserts. It is about 3 tablespoons per day. It does not include amounts needed for canning, making jam or syrup. White sugar and honey store indefinitely. They don’t even need to be kept particularly cool, though they should be kept in a dark place if possible. You can also store brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, pancake syrups, jams, and jellies. Often I hear people say they don’t need that much sugar. And it is true that we should all probably eat less sugar. However, bear in mind that sugar has become an important ingredient in many of our comfort foods. In addition, if you choose to store less sugar, you need to increase the amounts of other items you store to compensate for the calories.
  • Salt: ¾ lb per month. You need both plain and iodized. Most people in my food storage classes thought far less salt would be enough because they would never go through that much salt in one month. And that is true for most of us who still buy most of our food at the store. But when you are making everything from scratch, especially bread and beans, you use a lot more salt. Children need iodine for proper brain development. The rest of us need iodine for continued brain function. We generally get adequate iodine in our diets. However, when many of the commercially prepared and vitamin and mineral-fortified foods that we depend upon are no longer available, we will need to ensure we have sufficient iodine in our diets. For those who are planning to make their own bread (and we should all be planning to do that—bread is the staff of life), it bears mentioning that iodine actually retards the fermentation of yeast and thus hinders the rising of bread dough. So you really want about half of your salt to be plain and half of it to be iodized.
  • Oils: 28 oz of oil per month really is the minimum. Not only is oil an essential ingredient in many recipes, but it can also render normally unpalatable foods rather tasty. Store a variety of oils—olive oil and peanut oil for frying and baking, coconut oil for some frying but more for a long-term storage butter substitute. Avoid vegetable oil (it’s all soy, and almost all soy is GMO). Some food storage experts place peanut butter in the oil category due to its calorie content, but really, do you want to use peanut butter in your baking and frying recipes? Not generally. Peanut butter is indeed high in calories and high in protein and as such makes an excellent addition to the pantry. It just shouldn’t be classed with the other oils. Call it comfort food and store a goodly amount of it, at least 1 lb per person per month. Store all oils in a cool, dry place. And for longest-term storage, store all oils in glass—they will last much longer than in plastic.
  • Dry milk: Store 1.75 lbs of dry milk per month. This amount includes not one drop for drinking—this is only for baking and cooking. If you want to be able to drink some milk, you will need to store more. If you want to improve the flavor of your powdered milk, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract per quart of milk. And of course, make sure your milk is well-chilled. Dry milk is the most sensitive of all long-term storage foods. It must be kept dark—light will degrade the vitamins and cause deterioration in flavor. It must be kept cool, and of course, it must be dry.

Once you have stored the basics, start adding in other items.

  • Baking essentials–baking soda, baking powder, yeast, powdered eggs, cocoa.
  • Canned items—fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  • Spices—pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, mustard, ginger, herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, sage).
  • Condiments—Ketchup, mustard, relish, soy sauce, salsa.
  • Comfort foods—chocolate chips, candy, gum, Jell-O gelatin, and pudding mixes.

As you build your food storage, you also need to be learning to use it so that you will be accustomed to eating these foods—and enjoying them. It takes practice to learn how to make good bread. And your body needs time to get used to eating whole grains. Make the switch from white flour to 100% wheat in your diet, and you might find yourself with a serious case of the trots.

While doing all of the above, consider your garden. Spring is just around the corner and the time has never been better for learning how to grown your own. Fresh salad greens, home-grown tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and who can’t grow zucchini and green beans? Eating from your garden will add variety to your diet while making your long-term storage go a whole lot further.

Storing food for future uncertainties isn’t exciting. Nobody gets worked up over a bucket of beans or a bag of wheat. And that is probably because the vast majority of preppers and those reading this site have never been without food and have never seen starvation. I know I haven’t. But I am a student of history. Bad things happen when people don’t have any food, when they don’t have enough food, and when they don’t have nutritious food. Don’t let bad things happen to your family. Be proactive. Store a wide variety of long-term storage foods and learn to use and like them now. Recognize that your future and that of your family depends greatly upon the decisions you make now about your food. Start today.

As you consider the following and plan your food storage, bear in mind that your survival in any scenario will have a great deal to do with the decisions you

Emergencies can take place in a moment’s notice — at home, work or in public places — and knowing what to do next can very well safeguard you from injury or even death. There’s no point in waiting until an actual emergency happens. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can be prepared for whatever comes your way with these emergency survival tips.

Prepare for the Worst

If you live in California, you know the state has been expecting a massive earthquake for several years now. And if you live someplace where snow days are the norm, it’s important to be prepared for toughing it out if you find yourself snowed in for several days. Whatever situation comes your way, it’s important to be mentally and physically prepared for the possible events that can occur. Do your research on what can go wrong and you’ll be better prepared for anything that comes your way.

Pack a Generous ‘Bug-Out’ Bag

This may be the most crucial component of preparing for a disaster. Emergency preparedness bags, or “bug-out” bags, contain a number of items to sustain and protect you for long periods of time when you’ll likely have no other available resources. Some potential items include flashlights, a first-aid kit, water and food, emergency contact information, clean clothes, and an emergency fund. Plan accordingly for any situation and pack all necessary items ahead of time, while regularly updating your bag so any perishable items stay fresh.

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You can be prepared in every aspect, but if your health is poor, it’ll make every other task more difficult than it has to be

Optimize Your Physical Fitness

In order to successfully evade danger in an emergency, it’s important to be in the best physical condition possible. You can be prepared in every aspect, but if your health is poor, it’ll make every other task more difficult than it has to be. If you haven’t already done so, begin an exercise regimen that will build your muscles and endurance. Try going on long hikes and lifting weights to build muscle mass. In addition, eat healthy meals to keep your body in tip-top condition.

Develop Safe Driving Skills

In the case of a disaster, it’s not unlikely you’ll have to relocate to a safer location. Wherever that is, it’s important to drive safely to your destination in the midst of chaos. Begin refining your defensive, offensive and evasive driving skills by refreshing your knowledge on the rules of the road.

Plan for Recreation, Comfort Foods

It’s likely you’ll end up with a lot of “downtime” during a crisis. You may be stuck at one location for long periods, so it’s important not to let panic get the best of you. One way to avoid succumbing to fear or just a bad attitude is to prepare recreational activities and comfort foods. Pack a deck of cards or your favorite board games in your emergency preparedness bag. Include your child’s favorite toys, as well as some snacks your family enjoys. These items will become a source of comfort in an emergency situation.

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Form a survival group as soon as possible to gain advantages with numbers of like-minded people

Prep as a Community

One important aspect of prepping is to become a part of a community that shares your preparedness. This way, in a crisis, you can all support and help one another to survive. Having a community with the same mindset will make you stronger in adversity. If no one around you shares your gusto for prepping, talk to your family and close friends about the importance of being prepared for a disaster or emergency crisis. Upon finalizing your plan, share your preparation tips and tricks, as well as some resources and knowledge with one another.

Emergencies can take place in a moment’s notice — at home, work or in public places — and knowing what to do next can very well safeguard you from injury

Your list of home remedies is about to get even more interesting and spicier. Although these natural herbs are have been used hundreds of years, doctors and scientists are now recommending them to be used for healing purposes. These natural medical resources can be easily substituted as traditional methods of medication. The plants have capabilities to heal and reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure and arthritis pain to name a few. Some of the best healing herbs even have the ability to treat cancer cells and also help alcoholics to curb their drinking habit.

The natural medical resources or herbs and other natural remedies are as effective as traditional treatments. In some cases, they are even more effective without any side effects. Here are some of the best medical resources that you can get from nature. These super-healers can be added into your natural medicine or herbal products cabinet along with your favorite recipes. Fitting a few of them in your daily routine can be beneficial for the body.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southern Asia

Turmeric contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. Whoever thought an ingredient used for taste in curry can help to relieve pain? This spice which is popular for its use in curry contains curcumin that helps to treat arthritis. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and an important element that works just like Cox-2 inhibitors drugs to reduce the Cox-2 enzyme which results in the swelling of arthritis.

The herb is known for doing wonders. Another reason why turmeric is popular because it reduces precancerous lesions when taken with quercetin which is found in apples, onions, and cabbage. Turmeric also helps to clear plaques in the brain that are an important characteristic of the disease.

Cinnamon

A recent study on type 2 diabetics showed that taking cinnamon extract every day reduces the blood sugar level in the body by 10%. It reduces risks related to heart and slash cholesterol by about 13%.

1 g capsules of cinnamon extract every day help to tame blood sugar while 1 to 6 g capsules reduce cholesterol. However, a large amount of actual spice is not good for health. Thus, it’s better to stick to water-soluble extract.

Rosemary

Heterocyclic amines or HCAs are some vital carcinogens that are present in several types of cancers. These amines are created after grilling, frying and broiling meat at high temperatures. Rosemary extract which is a common powder mixed in beef after cooking reduces HCA levels in the body.

Rosemary extract also prevents carcinogens from binding with DNA and stops them from entering the body. It is the first step of the formation of tumor and rosemary extracts helps to prevent cancer at an initial stage. Thus, taking rosemary extract will kill carcinogens before they turn into a tumor. This research has been only carried out on animals but the extract has a tendency to prevent cancer.

In order to reduce HCAs in the body, make sure that you add rosemary extract in any spice mix. It will also enhance the taste, making the dish stronger in flavors. You can mix the herb with oregano, parsley, thyme and onions for a perfect mix.

Ginger

Ginger can protect your stomach from various sources including motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. This is an old home remedy that we often hear from our mothers and grandmothers. They are right because it really works!

Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that blocks the effects of serotonin in the body. It is a chemical that the stomach and body produce when you feel nausea by stopping the production of free radicals which is also another cause of an upset stomach.

Garlic


High consumption of garlic have cured colorectal and ovarian cancers. People have also experienced a reduction in the number and size of precancerous growths. The benefits of garlic are not only limited to lowering risks of cancer, but it also decreases high blood pressure. There are about 70 active phytochemicals in garlic including allicin that deceases blood pressure by 30 points.

Garlic in your diet slows down the arterial blockages and prevent strokes. Fresh and crushed garlic offers the best cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits. However, one should have at least five crushed garlic cloves to enjoy maximum benefits.

Holy Basil

Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, Holy basil is effective in reducing stress by increasing the noradrenaline and adrenaline along with decreasing serotonin in the body. The herb is also popular to relieve headaches and indigestion. Tea leaves of the holy basil is a great natural resource which is more effective than traditional methods of relieving pain.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera was used in traditional medicine for treating skin disease, constipation, infections, worm infestation and colic. In Chinese medicine, it is popular for treating various fungal diseases. In today’s modern times, the herb is used in various cosmetics to make skin softer.

Surprisingly, Aloe Vera consists of more than 78 active components. Studies have shown that the herb also contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It builds up the immune system and does not cause any allergic reaction.

FeverFew

FeverFew is a natural herb that has been used over centuries to ease headaches, toothaches, stomach-ache, infertility, menstruation problems and labor during childbirth. The healing effect comes from a biochemical present in the herb known as parthenolides. It fights against the widening of blood vessels during migraines. The herb also prevents blood clots, dizziness, relieve allergies and reduces arthritis pain.

St. John’s Wort

St. Johns Wort herbs are not used to treat the physical symptoms but also used for relieving anxiety and mild to moderate depression. The best thing about it is it works effectively as any other drug without any side-effects.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is used as a supplement consumed by men to treat prostate cancer. It also contributes to several health issues related to men such as hair loss, libido and enlarged prostate. Other than that, it is said to promote relaxation, treat respiratory conditions and boost immune function.

 

The natural medical resources or herbs and other natural remedies are as effective as traditional treatments. In some cases, they are even more effective without any side effects. Here are