HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 23)

As a child I grew up in a house named The Orchard and although the land had long since been sold off several large apple trees remained which gave us a reasonable harvest each year. I have fond memories of the delicious fruit pies and crumbles my mother used to prepare. Growing fruit is one of the most efficient forms of gardening – once the trees are established you can expect an abundant supply for decades with only a little pruning and mulching to keep them happy.

Without doubt, the cheapest way to start a mini-orchard is to buy bare-rooted plants: those sold without a pot and delivered while the weather is still cold and the plants are dormant. As well as saving money, you will often find a much wider selection of varieties and sizes available as bare-rooted trees. Many wonderful types of apples, pears, plums etc can be grown by the home gardener that are never available in supermarkets and the trees can be trained to fit the area you have.

However, bare-rooted trees need to be planted correctly and given careful treatment during the first year in order to establish healthy root systems and give a reliable harvest…


The biggest stresses on a new fruit tree are usually below ground. Getting sufficient water and nutrients in the first few months after planting is essential and that’s why the timing is crucial. The number one priority is helping your new tree establish a healthy root system. The best time to plant bare-rooted trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring – once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

It’s usually worth consulting a tree nursery that know your area and can advise on the window of time when they lift the young plants and deliver them and when conditions are right for your area. In the mild maritime climate where I live, trees can be planted from November onwards and this gives them a few extra weeks for the roots to establish but in harsher areas you’ll want to wait until spring. You will need to plant them quickly once they arrive – usually within a couple of days, though it’s possible to pack the roots with moist earth to extend this period if conditions outside aren’t favourable.

If you miss the ideal window of time for your area but still want to plant this year, it’s worth paying more for container-grown plants. These will already have roots that have grown into the soil around them and as long as you don’t disturb these too much when planting, they’ll be ready to draw up moisture and nutrients during warmer weather.

Location, Location, Location

Fruit trees don’t like to be moved so it is important to get the location right first time. Things to consider are:

  • Sun or Partial Shade: Nearly all fruit trees require plenty of sun but by carefully scouring catalogues you’ll find there are some less well-know varieties that are tolerant of partial shade. Don’t just consider the ground – it’s the leaves that need sun and this often opens up possibilities for otherwise unproductive areas.
  • Soil: Most fruit trees will want free-draining soil, enriched with compost. Avoid areas that regularly flood or higher ground that dries out quickly.
  • Wind and Snow: Be aware of the direction of prevailing wind and any large buildings nearby. A wall or fence may create a sheltered environment perfect for heat-loving fruits, or it could funnel icy winds during winter. Roofs can dump a ton of snow on an unsuspecting tree below, snapping its branches. Observe your garden closely to choose the best spot.
  • Other Plants: Trees are remarkably good at drawing up nutrients and water from the surrounding area. Unless you’re using raised beds, remember that a nearby fruit tree or bush may compete with your other plants.

Planting Tips

Many good fruit-tree suppliers will sell reasonably priced kits that include a stake, tie, mulch mat etc and I think it’s a false economy to skip these items.

Follow these simple steps to give your tree the best start:

  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. Although it’s natural to dig a round hole, a square one is better as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground. Keep the soil you have removed in a wheelbarrow or on a large plastic sheet.
  2. Add a few inches of good garden compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Mixing is important so that the tree’s roots don’t meet a sudden boundary between compost and regular soil. Also, mix some compost into the soil you removed.
  3. Look for the slightly darker ‘watermark’ on the tree’s trunk that indicates where the soil level was when it was first grown. Place the bare-rooted tree in the centre of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown. If necessary, add or remove soil to achieve this. Most fruit trees will be grafted onto a rootstock and the join should always be above ground.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground using a mallet.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole, position it so the trunk is close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mixture back around the roots. Gently firm this in with your boots, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Once all the soil has been added and firmed, use the supplied strap to fix the tree to the stake, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem. At this stage I also sprinkle a little seaweed meal fertilizer around and cover it with a bio-degradable hemp mat to suppress weeds.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

The First Year for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees always seem to be such strong, healthy plants that we forget how vulnerable they are when first planted. Yet during the first year, the tree can easily die from not getting enough water or nutrients. Until the root system is at least as large as the tree it supports, it is particularly vulnerable to environmental stress.

During the first year or two, keep the tree well watered, especially during dry weather. A good soaking once or twice a week is much better than surface watering daily, though during very hot weather it can be worth doing both. It’s also vital to keep the area around the tree completely free of weeds and grass as they will compete with the young tree, which is why mulch mats are very effective.

Finally, don’t forget to remove all blossom from the tree in the first year. Although it’s tempting to let some fruit develop, doing so will again place more stress on the tree as it establishes and forgoing the first year’s fruit will result in a much healthier tree and better harvest in years to come.

As a child I grew up in a house named The Orchard and although the land had long since been sold off several large apple trees remained which gave us

There are two sides to most of the more opinionated comments and occasionally articles I read out in the blogging world with respect to any hypothetical grid-down scenario. The first side (let’s call them the “Experts”) goes usually something like “if you don’t have any real world experience, you will die if the SHTF”. The second is more optimistic, to put it mildly and goes something like “When it goes down I will kill anyone who gets in my way with my bare hands” (we’ll call them the “Commandos”).  I can appreciate both opinions and viewpoints, but I think reality for the majority of the rest of us lies somewhere in the middle.

The “Experts” side does have a point. In any type of disaster situation, the most prepared usually have the best odds at survival. If you have been in life threatening disasters, combat or wilderness environments where you had to make it through some event solely on your wits and skill alone, you are doubly prepared. Having experience surviving or being self-sufficient is a huge advantage so those people would seem to have the upper hand. If Bear Grills is a direct relative, skip ahead 3 spaces.

The “Commandos” side also has a point because I know of countless times in history that ruthlessness and aggression make up for brains, skill and luck far too often. The saying is that “Fortune favors the bold” and sheer willpower can overcome all sorts of obstacles. Not giving up for a second, even if all manner of logic dictate that you should, has won battles time and time again, so we can’t rule them out either.

As I said, if we do go through some form of collapse of society, I think there will be people from the “Experts” side as well as the “Commandos” side who are able to survive and perhaps thrive. What about everyone in between? What if you don’t have any survival skills, military experience or sheer “I’ll rip your face off and eat it” psycho mentality? How can you prepare yourself without joining the Marines or some bizarre street gang called the Fuzzy navels? What if you are just beginning to prepare when it all goes South? Does that mean we should cash in our chips, throw in the towel and go home? Of course not. How can the average everyday person get some decent combat training and experience without signing their life away to Uncle Sam or breaking any laws?


Yes, I said it and before you throw your mouse at the screen, I ask that you hear me out. I am fully aware that Paintball is not a realistic combat scenario from the truest sense of the word; however, you can learn skills that will help you in a combat situation. It is easy for the novice to join in and fun for people of all ages. So how can Paintball teach you combat skills you ask?

Strategic Tactical Thinking


Paintball allows you to learn strategy

Combat is won and lost on strategy and thinking tactically. In order to outwit your opponent you have to analyze all sorts of variables. What is your terrain like? Where do you need to travel to and how will you best get there without exposing yourself. Where will your enemy be and how will they most likely attack?

Paintball allows you to practice these strategies without getting hurt, unless you try to act like Rambo.


Many paintball teams play without any uniform, but some are geared up just like the military and take advantage of camouflage to avoid detection and hide their movements. Learning how to use your foliage and shading with face paint, the natural surroundings to your advantage can help with a potential future where you may have to hide or evade detection.

Paintball also teaches the concepts of Cover and Concealment. The difference between the two is less harsh with paintball, but the theory is still the same. Cover refers to structures that will prevent a bullet from hitting you. Examples of cover are foxholes where you can drop below the surface where the rounds are flying, concrete walls, cars, etc. Concealment won’t necessarily protect you from any rounds, but may hide your shape. Examples of Concealment are large bushes or high grass. You can get lost in there, but a bullet will still hit you.


This was the same mistake I made. Pick a good tree.

I was playing paintball one time with some guys at a weekend retreat. It was my first time at paintball and I generally knew what to expect, but I wasn’t taking it seriously. My team ran into the woods first and the second team would come after us in a few minutes. I took up a position in a shallow depression. The problem was the depression was way smaller than I thought it was and my body was barely covered. I was also behind a big bush but I figured I was hidden ok. I saw the guy on the other team come around to flank me and waited. Apparently he saw me too because he got behind a big tree and pretty quickly took me out with a few well-placed rounds. That was the last time I made that mistake.

A complaint I hear about paintball and airsoft is that cover could really be a thin sheet of plywood. In both of those games, the plywood would keep you safe, but the concern is that we are learning bad habits that way. That is a fair comment, but I would say if you go into Paintball with the mind-set and focus of training for potential combat and keep items like that in the forefront, you can still practice, have fun and learn.


In paintball, you are playing on a team with the idea of either wiping out the enemy or capturing a flag. You learn to communicate with your teammates in a different environment than elsewhere except maybe in sports. You get to plan and see how everyone executes that plan. Who does what they were supposed to? Who shows natural leadership? Who is fearless and who hides behind that same tree every single time.

Shooting Skills


Teamwork is key in any combat scenario.

I know that shooting a paintball gun isn’t exactly like shooting a hunting rifle, or AR15. While they are fairly accurate, you aren’t generally using scopes with high precision sighting. We would spray paint-balls most of the time, but you could dial in a shot if you had good cover to hide behind while you locked in on your opponent. Practicing the art of hitting someone from behind cover, while they are moving is good experience and can be beneficial to someone who hasn’t done much more than shoot paper at the range before.

The flip side is learning how easily you can be shot and what doesn’t work. I tried to be a Rambo and ran through a gauntlet of people from the opposing team yelling and shooting like crazy. They calmly lit me up and I had the bruises to remember that for a few days. I was also hit trying to take cover behind a tree that was a little too narrow and got shot in the side of my rear. Ah, memories. Useful though because I learned that I would get shot if I wasn’t careful, moved quickly from cover to cover. All things I learned in the Army, but had neglected to remember and didn’t think this “game” required all of that discipline. It does.

Physical Condition

If you have a really good game with younger players who are enthusiastic about playing, you will definitely get a good work out. At the bare minimum you are going to realize that running for your (play) life is something that requires you to have a modicum of physical conditioning. This should appeal to some of the Commandos who haven’t really moved off the sofa for several years. Get out on the field and see how you do. It certainly won’t hurt now and may save your life if the time comes when the real bullets are flying.

There are two sides to most of the more opinionated comments and occasionally articles I read out in the blogging world with respect to any hypothetical grid-down scenario. The first

A lot of people plan to bug out if the SHTF with all of their survival gear stowed in their vehicle or pulled in a trailer. What if you have to turn around quickly? Do you know how to swing that trailer around so that you don’t get stuck? Can you execute a turn on a blocked road so that you aren’t trapped in an ambush?

This is what I was thinking as I watched my neighbor this weekend. I was mowing our yard which is my favorite twice weekly activity this time of year (not) and my neighbor was working in his yard. He had hauled a little potting soil for some plants he was planting in a small trailer attached to the back of his SUV. The trailer was one of the less substantial types, perfectly suited for small jobs like hauling a washer and dryer but as he finished I watched him drive up the street to turn around. He pulled into a driveway and attempted the first backup. It was obvious he hadn’t given himself enough room or the trailer wasn’t straight enough and it quickly was wedged at a 90 degree angle to his car.

I watched him attempt this a couple of additional times and then finally, he stopped the car, got out and unhitched the trailer. It was when he unhitched the trailer that he realized that he had stopped on a hill and he quickly started jogging down the hill all the while trying to navigate his trailer into a position where he could back up his SUV, reattach and go back home.

What if this was you and you had hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds of stored food, ammunition, tarps, generators and survival gear piled onto the trailer. Could you turn this around without getting out of your car? How many attempts would you have to make to get the trailer and your vehicle pointed in the right direction? Could you do this under duress?

Backing up a trailer isn’t hard, but it does take practice. I like to lump this into the same category as sweating pipe. The concept itself is simple, but unless you know how to finesse the materials you will probably screw it up a couple of times. This is the main reason why I go ahead and call a plumber if I decide to get my handy-man hat on and mess around with anything on the back side of the wall in our bathroom or kitchen. If I ever build a new house I swear everything will be PEX.

Backing up a trailer is easier to do if you can see your trailer in my opinion, but that is probably because I don’t have any other experience. I do know that we have some professional truck drivers who follow this blog who are probably laughing right now and I am counting on for their comments below.

The Approach

Backing a trailer into a specific spot at a specific angle is mostly in the set-up. Like most things, preparation is key.

First things first: roll down your windows. Driver’s side and passenger’s, and it doesn’t matter if it is raining. If you have a passenger, it is best to kick them out before you even approach the actual boat launch, driveway, or campsite. You are probably going to want a spotter anyway, and they will either distract you or block your view if they stay in.

Forget about your rear view mirror, and don’t turn around and try to look out the back window. Chances are, you can’t see much over your trailer, and who cares what the front of that trailer is doing? You want to make sure your side mirrors are adjusted properly, because they are going to show you where the sides of your trailer are, allowing you to deduce what the back is doing. It may be more showy to do the big turn around and hug the back of the seat thing, but how much cooler to pull up and back that baby in without turning around? Appearances aside, it really is the proper way to do it. Proper mirror adjustment means when your rig is straight, your trailer is visible in about the inside third of your mirror. It is good to be able to see your trailer tires. This gives you a good view of where you are going and how you are doing.

Now you are almost ready to approach. For the sake of a consistent example, let’s say you are backing a camper into a campsite. It is coming up on your right-hand side. Stop short and get out of your truck. Go check for obvious obstacles that you will have to avoid. Don’t forget to look up. Even if you have a straight shot to the back of the site, will you clear all the tree branches? This sounds like retentive health and safety advice, but backing over a stray chunk of firewood or someone’s leftover wire roasting stick is going to be a rough start to your weekend. Try to make a mental map of where the picnic table is in relation to the fire pit and the back of the site. Pace off distances if you need to (you do know how wide your camper is, don’t you?). Have your passenger(s) stand near major obstacles so they can shout if you are too close. You may not always be able to see them, but your windows are already rolled down, right?

The Right Set-up

The moment of truth is at hand. If you do this next part wrong, it doesn’t matter much what you do after. Get it right, and you will look like a pro. It is the S-turn. You are in a forward gear with your campsite coming up on the right. Get that vehicle over to the right as far as you can without hitting something or rolling into the ditch and pull up alongside the entrance. How far along you go really depends on how long your rig is and what kind of hitch you have, but probably somewhere around when your truck bumper is coming up on the far end of the entrance, you want to swing out left. Don’t go all the way. Before you drive into the left side ditch, crank it back to the right. This will make the smaller angle between the truck and trailer be on the right-hand side. Stop with your truck somewhere around midway between road shoulders. Congratulations, your trailer is ready and begging to be backed into the sweet spot.

The Moment of Truth

The next part is where everyone gets nervous. People will offer “helpful” advice here, about how the steering wheel works in reverse now, but I’ve seen people start thinking everything in their vehicle works backwards and forget which pedal does what. So, take a deep breath and imagine you are a kid playing with toy trucks. You will probably need to make your turn angle a bit sharper, especially if you have a narrow entrance or a longer trailer. To accomplish this, turn your wheels as though you were going to steer to the left if you were going forward. Don’t turn it all the way. Put the truck in reverse, and let off the brake. Stay really calm at this point and constantly ask yourself “Is the right thing happening at this instant?” If the answer is yes, don’t change anything. As soon as the answer is “No,” stop. You aren’t going fast (I hope), and hopefully you didn’t choose a busy spot for your first attempts.

So, you are in reverse, with your wheels pointed left, causing your trailer to turn sharper. You won’t be able to keep that up for long before you fold your rig like a jack knife. It only takes a little distance to do what you need here. It is kind of like putting a crease in a piece of paper, where you only need that instant of pressure to kink it over. After that, you can lighten up and it will stay. So, after a couple feet (literally), start turning the wheel to the right. Think of following the trailer with the truck. My trainer always told me once I had the kink to “follow the trailer around.” Turning your wheel to the right will begin to straighten out the whole rig. I always think of it as “unsteering.” How soon you do this, and how sharply you turn depends on the relative sizes of everything. One of the biggest mistakes people make in reverse is over-correction. If the trailer starts going one way or the other, don’t crank the wheel all the way over. Unless you are in a really technical spot, needing to crank the wheel more than 180 degrees probably means you need to pull ahead and try again. Never shout when a whisper will do.

Words of Warning

Throughout this exercise, keep an eye on what the front of your truck is doing. Watch for ditches and obstacles. I once blew a steer tire on a set of stairs because I was too focused on the back end. This is another reason to back up like a man, using your mirrors, not wrapped around your seat trying to see out the back window.

Don’t be afraid of taking multiple runs to get into your spot. Obviously it is better to take a few runs and get it right than to hit something first shot. Some spots require multiple runs no matter how good you are. Also, don’t be afraid to put it in park, get out, and walk around to see what the back end is doing and how close you are to that fire pit. I did this constantly, even once I had some skill and confidence.

A word is necessary here about having someone “guide” you into a spot. Don’t. Having people to help is great, but give them specific jobs. Just like you have a limited perspective from the driver’s seat, they will have a limited perspective on what the far side of the trailer is doing. Tell your helper something like, “Stand so you can see my face in the side mirror of the truck and let me know if it looks like I’m going to hit the fire pit.” If they can’t see you, you can’t see them. Give them a specific signal that is verbal (your windows are still rolled down, right?) and visual. Inexperienced guides will usually run eagerly to the back of the trailer and start waving incomprehensibly while standing somewhere you can’t see and then yell after you’ve run over the picnic table.

Please practice this before you get to the boat launch with your new boat. Get your wife or your kids to come out and practice spotting you while you back up. How great will it be to pull up and have everyone know what to do? Don’t be that guy with the shiny new boat weaving and winding your way down the boat launch stressing everyone else out.

A lot of people plan to bug out if the SHTF with all of their survival gear stowed in their vehicle or pulled in a trailer. What if you have

I was taught all the values of saving money but it wasn’t exactly modeled for me. Consequently, I had to overcome some hurdles as I grew up learning to budget, and more importantly, to stick to it (I still trip from time to time). My wife and I are now teaching our children about the value of their dollars and I am proud to say they are more miserly than I at their age. When they ask for a toy or a special treat and we feel it is appropriate we tell them they can have it if they pay with their own money. Our daughter is better at this than our son, but they look at their piggy banks, count the money, and more often than not are reluctant to part with their treasure for something fleeting. Financial expert Dave Ramsey says,

“There’s something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic. If spending cash whenever possible can become a habit, you’ll be less likely to over-spend or buy on impulse.”

So when was the last time you counted a wad of cash and had to make some decisions as to how much went where? You might do this regularly if you own a small business, but if you’re like the majority of debit card-swiping, electronic bits and bytes-spending, you probably haven’t in a very long time.

The benefits of liquidity

As it applies to you and me, liquidity is the amount of spendable cash on-hand such as in a piggy bank or hidden stash or cash that is readily accessible through ATM/bank withdrawal, or the quick sale of belongings. To most preppers cash on-hand is obviously the better choice for your money because you physically have it. Does the adage “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” sound familiar? The preppers who are involved in collecting precious metals (I am not one of them) will tell you quite correctly “if you don’t hold it, you don’t own it” (link includes good warning on dangers of holding valuables). Liquidity doesn’t have to be money as we know it. In a SHTF grid down scenario money will be whatever gets you something you want or need à la bartering. But for now, greenbacks and coins are the money we use and they’re still legal tender everywhere so having some on-hand mitigates your risk of being unable to buy what you need. It’s the same idea behind why we store any supply – we know we will need it later.

So why don’t we keep money accessible?

Despite the common sense and relative ease of having accessible supplies of needed items millions of Americans do not prepare in even the slightest way. We have discussed the concept of normalcy bias as a large reason behind failing to prep. When it comes to money, our society revolves around instant gratification and “efficiency” so we use credit and debit cards, electronic fund transfers, and online shopping – all made possible by a digital fiat currency system not backed by anything, which further removes us from cash as the marketplace ceases to resemble anything from even 15 years ago. In 2015, for many Americans, liquidity is limited to what sits in the bank account between bi-weekly direct deposits that isn’t automatically withdrawn due to electronic bill payments.

Three examples of why cash (use and acceptance) is still a necessity

The following examples are from my own life. They only involve human error by one or two people yet significantly impacted my family negatively. Imagine a scenario where the grid goes down or the government seizes digital wealth and you have a problem hundreds of millions of times worse.

June, 2015: My wife ordered new checks and paid a bunch of bills. We shortly thereafter discovered the account number was incorrectly printed and were hit with late fees due to the delay in us having to run out and get cash from the bank which was closed. After going in to our water utility and advising them of this problem the clerk assured me there was no problem on our account. I offered to pay cash anyway as a safeguard but she refused due to a policy about the dangers (robbery and money laundering) of cash payments. Several days later I came home from work at 3pm to hop in the shower for my next job at 4pm only to discover our water had been shut off for “non-payment”. I showered with a gallon jug of water I had left over from a road trip, rushed to the utility office, and had to pay extra fees – in cash, mind you – because I was a deadbeat and didn’t pay my bills on time. The next day I started prepping (water storage) thanks to The Prepper Journal I discovered a few weeks prior.
Moral: Cash payment would have eliminated use of checks and this problem. Acceptance of cash would have resolved this problem before it escalated.

Do you have a back-up supply of cash if electronic methods aren’t working?


December, 2016 – February, 2017: Our mortgage bank mailed a check from our escrow account to our home insurance provider. This check was never received and our home insurance was dropped for non-payment. I went to the insurance office to rectify this and was told because the policy had been cancelled we needed to buy a new one. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth later mixed with a couple phone calls to the bank, I purchased a new policy. Next stop on this crazy train was our insurance company billing our mortgage bank for this new policy as well as collecting money from us. The bank paid this one as well and debited our escrow account a second time, putting us in the negative. A lot more anger, many more phone calls, and a few steps closer to a heart attack, the bank and insurance company “fixed” the problem by giving us our original policy back and not refunding any money. Just to make things interesting the bank made a third payment to the insurance company for the renewed original policy, putting us further into the negative. We found this out because they kindly sent a statement increasing our mortgage payment by about a hundred dollars a month. More phone calls and many bad words later the bank credited us with the first faulty payment but refused to eliminate the rest of the debt that was not our fault because they “can’t just type numbers in the computer and make money appear.” Funny, I thought that’s what happens whenever we mail a check or have an automatic payment? I was unaware that money teleported or got zapped through the cable modem. This situation was resolved yesterday, just before the next example happened.

Moral: People are morons and corporations don’t give a damn about you. Cash payments by us instead of electronic payments or checks in the snail mail by third parties would have eliminated this problem from happening. Emergency fund money in the bank is a good safety net.

February, 2017: When I woke up this (Friday) morning and checked my work email before taking my children to school I was greeted with this message:

“We are aware that the automatic deposits for payday have not transferred to individual banks. The finance department is working on it and as soon as it is resolved we will let you know. We apologize for any inconvenience”.

I got in touch with my wife at her job and we exchanged some choice words. An hour or two later I checked my email again and saw this gem:

“Dear co-workers,

Due to my error, the direct deposit file was not sent to the bank in time to transfer funds into your accounts today. I apologize greatly for this error and hope you understand.

The file has been submitted for transfer by monday. If you have any questions or concerns about this delay in payment, please feel free to contact me and I will work with our bank to try and get your funds to you sooner.

Thank you”.


Fortunately, my wife works for a different company. We were spared the troubles so many of my co-workers faced, especially those who are single or whose spouses also worked for the city.

Moral: Having a system where one employee is capable of affecting over a thousand families to the tune of over $750,000.00 is insane. Payment in cash would have eliminated this problem. Emergency fund money in the bank is a good safety net.

Preppers should not only have padding in their bank accounts but should keep emergency cash in a safe location. As long as it’s the legal tender being accepted it is valuable. How will you pay when the ATMs shut down, or your card is stolen/compromised, or the banks are closed? Cash is king, make it part of your prepping plan.

I was taught all the values of saving money but it wasn’t exactly modeled for me. Consequently, I had to overcome some hurdles as I grew up learning to budget,

I used to think people who were constantly talking about government conspiracies, doomsday and all the other scare tactics were spouting wild theories. I still do for the most part… Recently, I got a different point of view when I re-read the article 8 Reasons Why Prepping is Good for You.When you boil preparing for unusual situations or prepping down, all it really means is that you turn back the clock and return to a simpler time when people were independent. In simpler times money was kept in the home, personal debt was rare, people cooked the food they grew and got a lot of exercise in the process. We have situations every day that we need to be ready for so let’s see how your prepping skills work out in these situations.

Floods – in the past, Louisiana had several days of flooding rains. Roads were flooded and people were cut off from stores and medical centers, many people were stuck in their homes. If they had stored some food, water and extra medical supplies they did better than those that didn’t.

Stuck on the Road – Accidents, storms and traffic jams on the highway have caused people to be on the road for hours and even days. If you have your go bag packed with extra blankets and food you will be glad to have it, and thankful that you learned some self-reliance.

EarthquakesEarthquakes occur more often than you think and there is very little warning when they are coming. As a veteran of a couple of earthquakes I know they have a wide range of damage. Power may go out, roads are often impassable and you are left separated from family. If you remembered to make an emergency plan with your family you will find out quicker whether they are okay or not. Communications are often jammed so if power is out you will need to have a solar-powered battery charger to try to get through on jammed lines. It can take days.

Water Contamination – Water contamination seems to pop up on news stories at least once a month. Your prepper skills would have taught you to have bottled water on hand or to have the equipment to make drinkable water on hand. Stores often don’t have often have enough for an entire community.


Do you know how to make drinking water safe if what is coming out of the tap isn’t?

Hurricanes – While hurricanes vary in strength and size, they all come with a lot of wind and rain. When Hurricane Irene struck New England back in 2011 trees came down, bridges were swept away, shopping centers were flooded and power lines went down. The damage was widespread; the effects of the storm were felt long after the storm departed. The people and companies that did the best were the ones that had back up power and extra supplies.

Fires – Fires usually require a quick exit from a building or even a large area. If you have prepared in advance, your important papers will be in a place where you can grab them quickly and go. This will not only give you peace of mind, it will make the recovery much easier on you.


iBeek® Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger

Winter Weather – Ice storms and blizzards are some of the prettiest storms; and with that fresh look comes cold problems. The storms are very destructive. In 2008 an ice storm hit New England and New York. The roads icing were the least of the problems. Power was down for weeks; the grid had to be replaced in freezing weather. Many New Englanders are ready for storms but weeks without power tested even the hardiest people. The people who depended on power to heat, cook and shower and that had no other heat source had to go to shelters or to a family member’s home to keep warm. People stood in line in restaurants to charge their phones so they could check on friends and family. The sun shone strongly right after the storm, your solar battery charger will be very useful on one of these days.

Financial Health – There is one area of being prepared that we can use on a daily basis and that is finances. Many of us have gone into debt for things that we don’t really need. The prepper lifestyle encourages debt free-living and skills like cooking, and home medicine that save money and encourage good health.

Relationships – Any activity your family does together forges your relationships. Prepping activities are no exception. Getting prepared for unusual situations is an opportunity for everyone, especially children, to have confidence, build skills and learn independence.

Education – Prepping is like attending a new school. You still learn plenty, you just don’t sit in a classroom. Here are just a few of the lessons you get at Prepping School:

Science: Growing and preserving your own food not only teaches children where food comes from, you create family memories for years to come. I still remember picking apples, blueberries and strawberries in the field, then coming home and helping my Mom and Grandmother cook with them. We also had a garden and I remember my Dad’s tips on planting tomatoes and cucumbers.


Solar power is an option for off grid and prices are coming down.

Physical Education: Our modern lifestyle has cut out a lot of the exercise that people in a simpler time got by walking more and doing more labor themselves instead of having a machine do it. Planting a garden and then harvesting that garden require exercise and fresh air. If you hunt for your own food you walk quite a bit in the wilderness. You can also take your family on hikes to find things like the nearest water source and medicinal plants. When you map the route you are teaching and learning mapping skills and geography.

Alternative Energy – Designing and constructing a solar or wind powered system is a lesson that gives children a useful skill that will last throughout their lives. They may even start a business based on the experience. Solar, wind and hydro energies are going to be a big part of our children’s lives. Teaching them how to use them correctly is an important lesson.

Raising Animals – When you raise animals for food you have to research which food is good for them, build them a pen and make sure they have a warm dry place to stay. Their medical needs must be taken care of as well. This is a lesson in building, responsibility and science.

Health– More exercise is just one health benefits of getting prepared. When someone is hurt and cannot get to the Dr. or clinic the medical supplies you have and skills you learned prepping will be needed. This is a good science lesson for the kids. Learning to heal others could influence their career choice. When you help someone by cleaning their wounds and healing a sick person you gain confidence. It worked for my Grandmother. One of the home remedies she used was an egg poultice which was used as a drawing agent. When my Dad welded he often got metal slivers deep in his skin. He would apply Grandma’s poultice to the sliver and cover it with a bandage. A day or two later the silver would be in out and my Dad was happy.

Peace of Mind: The peace of mind just knowing you are ready is priceless.

With all the benefits of prepping, maybe we should all live like the world is ending. We would build better relationships, get more exercise and eat better.

I used to think people who were constantly talking about government conspiracies, doomsday and all the other scare tactics were spouting wild theories. I still do for the most part…

There’s a very old and astute adage by George Santayana stating: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

How many times in the past have people condemned or criticized people that they didn’t understand for their beliefs or practices?

Let’s quickly look at just a few examples of what I mean:

In the colonial days predating our United States of America, there were women who were practiced healers, who used various extracts and potions made from various natural sources (plants and animals) to heal sick and injured people. The masses of ignorant people around them were quick to condemn what they themselves could not comprehend or understand, and called these early naturopaths ‘Witches’ and prompted rallied to have them burned at the stake.

Not more than 20-30 years ago, our so-called ‘modern’ medical institutes condemned acupuncture as hokum, and those who practiced it were labeled with many derogatory terms. Of course as of late, the masses have come to embrace the value of that ancient medical discipline.

In the movie ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, when the extra-terrestrial being emerged from his space ship, what did the ignorant masses do? Their first reaction was to kill what they couldn’t comprehend or understand. In reality, there are too many of those kind of people, some of whom are in places of power and or have the ability to influence many others.

Sadly, it seems that even today, we are still surrounded by people who are quite willing to demonize and condemn anything or anyone that they cannot understand, even if it is a function of their own lack of knowledge or ability. And possibly worst of all, some people are in fact intimidated by knowledge, and will openly or secretly lash-out against it.

I’m sure that some readers are already thinking that this is certainly the case with the perception of ‘Preppers’ by a lot of people, and I would have to agree, but that is not necessarily the focus of this article.

In the early 1900’s. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was working on an amazing project that would-have allowed people and households to capture useful amounts of energy from the empty space around them without using any wires. I am not referring to solar, wind or hydroelectric power. I am talking about energy derived from electromagnetic radiation at radio frequencies (RF energy).

Back in Tesla’s day, most people laughed and thought of his idea as ‘crazy’ and scoffed at the concept calling it insane. Not to mention that such a revolutionary idea was an affront to the wealthy industrialists who were mining the copper that would be used for wiring to electrify the nations of the world. Of course today, the long-distance high-voltage transmission cables that span the north American continent are the Achilles-heel of the national electrical grid, given their vulnerability to Geomagnetic storming.

Of course, there were a few people who realized the genius of Tesla’s ideas and inventions and realized he had knowledge of things well-beyond the comprehension of most people.

And even today, there are many people who still don’t realize that you can transmit and harvest electromagnetic radiation (not solar) and that RF energy is all around us and passing through most structures as well as our bodies on a 27/7 basis.

Here is a very enlightening video that makes this particular point clearly:

As we now clearly see; there is a lot of electromagnetic energy that exists all-around us and which happens to also be passing through our bodies, our organs and our brains 24/7.

A considerable amount of that energy is produced by man-made devices and systems, which have been introduced into our environment relatively recently in terms of the historical timelines related to the evolution of biologic systems. As a result, scientists are playing a desperate game of catch-up in their attempts to assess the effects of the myriad number of frequencies of electromagnetic/RF radiation that are being continuously transmitted through the tissues and cells of our bodies and those of all the organisms around us. This is a daunting task, given that there are likely hundreds of thousands of potential cellular and chemical structures in the organic life-forms on earth, each potentially having a unique resonant frequency (the exact frequency that would stimulate a potential adverse effect).

Bioelectromagnetism is the field of study that relates to the affects and interactions between biologic organisms and electromagnetic fields. It is science-fact that electromagnetic fields can induce various effects in animals and humans, including changes in behavior. The experts in this field are just beginning to understand and realize some of the effects that are part of a much bigger picture.

There are relatively very few people who are cognizant of the foregoing situation, and who may be taking certain precautionary measures to protect themselves. Such behavior is logical and is obviously based upon solid scientific information, not unlike an x-ray technician who wears a lead apron, or places a lead blanket on a patient before giving an x-ray. (Note: Even though I am intrigued by the science, I have not started wearing any form of protection)

There are also some people who are cognizant of these same phenomena but are taking a less measured approach in prophylaxis, and hoping for the best. However as we have seen historically, hoping for the best doesn’t always pay-off.

Occasionally, you might actually see one of the people who are aware of the potential risks associated with the increased levels of man-made RF in our intimate living space and environment. These people are sometimes called the ’tin-hat’ people. Most of them are actually using metal shielding materials other than tin, which is usually camouflaged so that they remain ’stylish’ in public, where the protective shielding remains unseen by casual observers.

I have heard (and read) people make jokes about ’tin hats’ and the people who wear them. I would caution such people against making any such jokes; the people wearing the ‘tin hats’ may have the last laugh! This is the same paradigm with Preppers who are also sometimes at the brunt of many jokes, and who may also have the last laugh, so to speak.

There’s a very old and astute adage by George Santayana stating: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. How many times in the past have people condemned

I sometimes have to go out of town on business just like millions of other people each year. The distance and locations all vary with the need, but in a lot of cases, I am unable to be as equipped as I would normally be around my home town. In some cases, I travel internationally, but that is rare. Sometimes I only travel an hour or two by car so I opt to drive. In this type of situation, I can take my Get Home Bag and usually a firearm (or two) with me. Most often it is several hundred miles away from home and to cities where firearms are not allowed. On business trips, it is harder to pack your survival supplies in sufficient quantities to last if some disaster happened and you needed to get home.

I started to consider what a person would need to think about and could possibly face if they were in a situation where an EMP was exploded over the US, total chaos ensued and you were forced to make it back home over a considerable difference. In my scenario, the distance would be about 700 miles and the assumptions with an EMP would be that there were not many electrical devices working. All cellular communications would be down as well as landlines were out of commission. TV and Radio networks had been taken offline even if some of the TV sets and radios themselves still worked. I don’t imagine every single electronic device in the world would go out forever, but it would be enough to create massive confusion, fear, and panic.

In addition to communication and access to news all access to money was cut off. Banks would slam shut and a bank holiday would be declared. Hospitals would quickly fill with the sick and injured and you would be on your own. How would you get back home and what would you need to consider if your home was 700 miles away and you had no survival supplies and no way to procure them.

Plan before you travel

The average, healthy person on level terrain can comfortably walk about 20 miles in a day. In our scenario above, with no issues whatsoever, it would take you about 35 days to walk back home if you didn’t stop anywhere to take pictures. That is a very long time to be walking. There are a myriad of issues to consider in even starting a challenge like that. Most backcountry hikers, who have plenty of gear and some expectation they are going to be roughing it, rarely set out on trips that long. Even backpackers, who hike the Appalachian Trail stop into towns, eat hot meals and pick up packages of goods they have stored along the way.  How will you with minimal supplies even begin to hope to make it home alive? There are some items that I think you would need to have squared away in your mind first.

  • Should you stay in place or set out on foot?
  • What gear will you need?
  • How will you eat?
  • What route will you take?


Should you stay or should you go?

This will be the first mental challenge that you will be faced with and could determine if you will live or die. In all seriousness, the plans you make and more importantly your actions affect the situations down-line that you find yourself in. We have all probably heard stories about travelers who had a “gut-feeling” that they shouldn’t get on a plane and the plane ended up crashing. Similarly, your “gut” is going to be screaming at you in a disaster. It is the well-known fight or flight response and you will need to figure out for yourself what you will be capable of doing mentally and physically before you set out on any expedition.

Hiking for over a month is a very monumental task that not a lot of people (including me) have any experience with. In days long past, a travel plan like this wasn’t so far out of the norm. We haven’t always had cars, trains and wagons to get us around and people walked. This is certainly doable, but for a lot of very good reasons, people didn’t live as long back then. Journeys of this scale take time, planning and skills.

Deciding whether or not you would even consider a trek like this is something you can do now. I know that I personally would.  I don’t know if I would make it, but I would be on the road somewhere. In my situation above, I would stick around a couple of days most likely to procure supplies, get any information I could, plan and prepare. I think that a couple of days after an EMP attack everyone will be in shock, but that won’t last long. Eventually, people will panic and that is when you don’t want to be around. My wife already knows that if something like this happens, I am headed home but it might take me a while.

What gear will you need?

As I said in the introduction, if I am driving anywhere, I pack a lot of supplies that would help me get back home in a disaster scenario like this. If you weren’t able to pack your Get Home Bag or any firearms, what would you do?

It helps to consider the journey back home and the different factors that you will encounter. Is this winter or summer? Will you have extreme temperature that needs to be planned for. What will you use for shelter? Security?

A good exercise if you find yourself in a scenario like this is to take stock of what you have. Empty your pockets of everything and conduct a simple inventory. When I travel, regardless of where I go I always have a bandanna, flashlight, multi-tool and small hank of paracord. These items can really come in handy, but they wouldn’t be the only things I would count on to get me back home over 700 miles away. Depending on the season, I would try to acquire additional clothing if I needed it, but usually, I pack appropriate clothes for wherever I am going. What I don’t normally pack are clothes designed for living out in the woods for a month. Some modifications might have to happen.

A simple tarp and rope/bungie cords will provide shelter for you and will keep the elements off your head while you sleep. A big sheet of plastic would do the same. Is it the same as a nice backpacking tent? No, but it works and is lighter and speaking of lighter… You need an easy way to start a fire also.

Great walking shoes that are already broken in would be a huge advantage. Actually, I think sturdy leather boots would be the perfect choice, but some people might have to hike back in dress shoes. If possible, I would look for boots as quickly as you can after deciding you are walking.

For security, you have to take what you can get if the grid crashes like this. At a minimum, I would find a large stick or pole. Baseball bat would be my second choice but may be harder to find than a good old wooden stick. This needs to be sturdy enough to use as a walking stick or club to crack someone’s head open with if necessary. Additionally, it can be used to support your tent.

Money could either be worthless or crucial to you getting supplies in an EMP event. If you have your head screwed on tightly and have cash on hand, you may be able to run down to the sporting goods store and buy some needed supplies before you make your trip. When I travel I always try to have cash in my wallet. It isn’t enough to buy out the store but could get me some crucial supplies.

I would caution you though to try and maintain a low profile. If you are all set up for a big backpacking expedition with the latest bag, gear, and clothes you may be a target. Someone might want what you have (because they can’t get it) and try to take it from you. It’s better to keep a low profile and low weight will help the trip too.

I would try to fit everything I needed into a standard size backpack that most everyone has. This way you will look just like everyone else headed home.

How will you eat?

This will probably be the toughest part about a journey like this in my opinion. I think most people can walk long distances. Most people will be able to carry or find some relatively decent source of water, but most people won’t be able to find food. What do you do?

There is no way you could ever pack enough food to last you your entire journey. You more than likely won’t be able to set up traps like Bear Grylls and catch rabbits or fish from a stream with your pocket survival kit, but I could be wrong. I think a lot of people are going to be going several days at a time without food. Could you hole up somewhere and catch wild game? Of course, you could and I am not knocking those skills. What I am going to try to do though is to get home as quickly as possible.

This may be where timing comes into play. Food from grocery stores will be wiped out in days. You could be one of the early birds and grab enough food to last you a week or so and set out. After that week, you will need to find food along the way. Will people have any to sell you or will there be some form of bartering set up already? I don’t know, but I think the sooner you can get home the better. As the realization that the power isn’t coming back on hits, people will be stingier with their food I imagine. The old rule is you can go 3 weeks without food but I don’t want to try and put that to the test.

What route will you take?

The final item to consider is how will you get back home. What route are you going to take to get there and this is where having maps will be invaluable for a couple of reasons. First, you want to plan your route and make sure you know which way you are going. I have on more than one occasion gone the wrong way and had to turn around and backtrack. It’s easy to do this for twenty miles in a car, but if you are walking and realize you took a wrong turn, that could waste a day.

The second reason is I would use secondary roads as much as possible and not highways. I would also try to steer clear of major cities in my path. A highway is faster if you are traveling 70 miles an hour, but it might not be the most direct route you can take. Maps that show the secondary roads to your home will be good to have. Some may even be able to help you determine good places to stay. I would personally camp outside of cities and avoid people as much as possible, but I would want the flexibility to change that plan if needed. Everyone’s circumstances will be unique.

Hopefully, this was useful and gave you something to think about as you plan for your next trip. Please let me know if you have other suggestions in the comments below.

I sometimes have to go out of town on business just like millions of other people each year. The distance and locations all vary with the need, but in a

Being able to take care of one’s own self. I cannot express the importance of this simple phrase. We are a family of ten. Yes, ten. Our children consist of two girls and six boys and range in age from three to eighteen. The workload that is required just to keep our family clothed, fed and living in a clean environment is beyond my sole capabilities. There isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish the many tasks that are waiting for me as the sun comes up each day.

It is out of necessity that our children have learned to do many things for themselves. “Many hands lighten the load” comes to my mind on most days. I am so thankful for those small but many hands. Our family has made the concept of self sustainability a central part of our children’s training. I have felt an urgent need, from the birth of each child, to make sure that they are prepared for the many possibilities that may occur in their lifetimes. We want our children to be aware of, and have respect for, the dangers that exist in this world. Poisonous snakes (we live in central Texas), drowning ( we have a swimming pool) and fire arms (we hunt), make up a very short list. Having the wisdom to protect themselves from danger is not enough though. We also want them, as much as possible, to be able to care for themselves.

Nobody gets a free ride

From a very young age we have encouraged our children to meet their own needs. This hasn’t always been an easy thing for me to do. I get a lot of satisfaction from serving my husband and children and making their lives more comfortable in the process. Doing things for others makes me feel really good. However, I knew that this selfishness would be detrimental to their training. Thankfully, being in a large family and the life lessons that come from that, have done a lot of the training for us. Instead of sitting hungrily, waiting for me to finish teaching a math lesson, my children realized rather quickly that their stomachs would stop growling much sooner if they got a snack for themselves.

We also require, very early, that they get themselves a glass of water when thirsty, bathe independently (but supervised for the very young), and put on their own socks and shoes (backwards is fine) before going outside just to name a few. At the age of seven our children go through what I like to call laundry boot camp. It is at this age that they take on the sole responsibility of doing their own laundry. Several of my friends have expressed surprise that I require this of my children at what they feel is too young of an age. My response usually goes something like this, ” If they can work their video game controllers, then surely they can figure out how to work a washing machine”.

If our children express frustration with the difficulty of these tasks we assure them that they just need more practice. We are purposefully slow to intervene when we see them struggling with a task, thus affording them more independent practice. If they display anger, we will not intervene at all. This is to teach that there is no place for anger when things don’t come easy and we are mindful to tell them so. We always aim to push them just past their comfort zones when difficult situations arise. The look of great satisfaction that spreads across their faces when they achieve something that they never thought they could do is absolutely wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, we are a team and we help each other in many ways each day. Lots of jobs require more than one person. And the more mundane tasks always go more quickly with a little company.

However, I have repeated, “If you are capable of doing something for yourself, then you should”, more times than I care to remember. Society could stand to learn this lesson. Nothing makes me sadder than watching the pitiful tantrums displayed by selfish, impatient and unthankful children. I cannot help but think that these will be the future looters of our local businesses should a SHTF scenario arrive.

Living outside of the city, raising animals, butchering, gardening and allowing lots of free time (we love homeschooling) has caused our children to master many outdoor skills. We have paid close attention to identifying and providing the tools necessary for their individual talents. They routinely receive fishing equipment, pocket knives, fire starters and flashlights for Christmas gifts each year. They don’t want toys that entertain for a day. They would rather be provided with something they can use throughout the year when they escape into the woods each day.

Recognize their individual strengths

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My oldest daughter is our go-to for anything related to animal illness or injury. She is both gentle and patient. She has hand-raised several orphan animals, both domestic and wild. She has also brought many of our animals back from death’s door. One of my sons has mastered starting fires in less than prime conditions. I have watched him spend hours in the backyard perfecting his skill. Guess who we call on when we can’t get the fireplace going in a cold day?

Another son is content doing even the most mundane and repetitive tasks all the while remaining joyful and thankful. This is more helpful than you could ever know. It is because of his willingness to always offer help, even without being asked, that has caused him to be a jack of all trades. He is invaluable to us. In a SHTF scenario I could easily put them in charge of specific tasks that would utilize their individual skills, knowing that they would be up to the task.

We spend our summers doing lots of camping. All of our children are excellent swimmers and fishermen. Even our five-year old can clean a fish. The ones who are too young to clean fish happily pull the heads off of the minnows that they caught in their minnow traps, sprinkle on a bit of lemon pepper, lay them on a sheet of foil and place it on the fire. They also know how to make a fish trap, pitch a tent and cook outdoors. They are never more happy than when roughing it outdoors. Their eyes brighten when having conversations about how we would handle a crisis and who would be responsible for what should the SHTF someday. They are very happy with the skills that they have mastered, as are we. However, we have made it a point to make them aware of the great suffering and dangers that would occur in this nation should that day ever arrive.

Having the mental tenacity to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and possessing the skills to do so is an incredible thing. These qualities are becoming increasingly harder to find. I mean, who cares about that college degree if you cannot even manage to get yourself to work on time, and then have the discipline to stay off of social media all day when you do finally arrive. Sadly, this is a true representation of many of the young people leaving college and entering the workforce these days. Many of them simply don’t possess any work ethic at all. I believe this is directly rooted to a lack of proper training. Training that should have begun when they were very young. It has been said that it is easier to mold a child than to fix a man. Our children have already, and will continue, to encounter this type of self-serving person.

I noticed many years ago that our children were very giving, even when there wasn’t thankfulness on the receiving end. I was glad that we hadn’t raised selfish children, but it did raise some red flags. How can we make sure our children are generous but not taken advantage of? I wanted them to be able to decipher between being helpful and being used or an enabler. This is where that trusty phrase “if you are capable of doing something for yourself, then you should”, comes back into play. If they can live up to that standard for themselves, then, so can others. Knowing when to say no is an important lesson as well. Ultimately, we have striven to teach them that each person is responsible for themselves. However, having a community, or family, of like-minded, self-sustaining and hardworking individuals to share in the work as well as the rewards is a wonderful thing indeed! Blessings!

Being able to take care of one’s own self. I cannot express the importance of this simple phrase. We are a family of ten. Yes, ten. Our children consist of

Don’t Fool Yourself into Thinking You Have Nothing to Worry About

Preppers can fairly quickly find themselves at the mercy of our own minds. We create the need and the solution in our lives by analyzing threats and weighing the likelihood of various disasters – natural and man-made and then craft plans for how we will deal with those disasters when they come. The problem comes when we analyze the disasters and settle upon a strategy that we think will either protect us completely or mitigate all of the undesirable effects of that crisis we are planning for. This is an issue that I think a lot of Preppers face and ignoring it can get you in just as much trouble as someone who has never prepped before. You might meet the same fate, just at different times. The problem with Prepping is that you can never be finished.

I thought about this as I was compiling my latest list of items that I either needed to acquire or wanted to sort out in my life. I even started to draw small boxes to the left of the items on my list so that when I had finished the various elements of my survival checklist, I could mark each box as complete. A fully completed list meant that I was done, right? That I would never have to worry about any of these particular issues again is how some people choose to look at making lists.

All I need is 6 months’ worth of food

So the grid goes down like it did in American Blackout and you are locked up snug as a bug in a rug inside your house. The power has been off for a week so far, but you have that covered. You also had 6 months of food inside your pantry so you should be all set, right? Wrong… If the power never comes back on or we descend into something worse, what happens when your food runs out? What if your brother from the next state rolls into town and starts to eat your food too?

Having a stocked pantry doesn’t mean you will live forever. In order to be truly prepared, you have to be able to feed yourself forever. Does that look like starting a vegetable garden or getting started with small livestock like raising chickens? What about Aquaponics? The process of feeding yourself and your family never stops until you die.

The idea here is that you can’t go out and buy a whole pallet of freeze-dried emergency foods and expect that you are finished. Having a great supply of food so that you can outlast most any temporary crisis can give you a huge leg up, but is not a magic bullet.

I just need an awesome Survival arsenal and I can handle anyone

I own guns and I have written several articles about various aspects of gun ownership like “The Best Gun for Home Defense” and “How to Select the Best Handgun” and another about what I consider our “Obligation to Carry Concealed“. We talk about storing ammo and the different calibers you need for different aspects of security and survival but simply having a lot of guns does not mean you will be safe.

Guns are an important part of my survival plans, but simply having one strapped to my side doesn’t or should not give me a false sense of security. This is a tool and that is all. With a firearm I will have the opportunity to react in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t. This isn’t an invisible shield against violence; it won’t protect me from dedicated bad guys or the stupid actions I may take myself. There is so much more to security than simply having a bang stick and we are all wise to temper our bravado in the face of disaster just because we bought a gun. This can go the same way for bad guys too who get cocky when they have a firearm. Just because you have a gun that doesn’t mean someone can’t walk up behind you and put their own bullet in the back of your skull.

I have backup generator

A generator is another one of those great tools we talk about often and I have one. Does that mean I will have power for the rest of my life? Nope. Actually, I would be really happy with 500 hours of run time out of the generator. I have plenty of fuel stored up and oil, but mechanical things break eventually. If you don’t have spare parts or more importantly the know-how to fix a generator, you have to look at this as a finite resource.

A backup power plan is excellent and I have one myself with further plans for solar backup, but this isn’t something I can count on to completely replace all of the power we have grown used to. Even if it was, in a complete grid-down scenario people would know that you have power unless this was hyper secret. Small chance of that with a generator but eventually everyone will know you have power and then we get back to that survival arsenal we spoke about earlier.

I have a hidden survival retreat

A well-stocked retreat somewhere deep in the woods is the Holy Grail of Prepping Legend and Lore. Seriously, I covet those who have the resources to purchase a retreat property with all of their gear pre-staged in place even more those that are able to live at their retreat year-round. Even if you do have a compound with electric fence, intrusion detection, mines, roving guard dogs, sentries in the watch towers on Barrett 50 cal rifles, that still does not guarantee you will ever live in peace the rest of your life.

That is one helluva head start though!

My point is that nowhere and no situation will stay completely safe forever. Are you possibly months, or years away from worrying about the same thing people in New York will be faced with? Perhaps, but to think you will stay hidden away forever without any other single living person coming across your path is far-fetched in my opinion. If you have this retreat, you will still have to guard against others who find out about what you have and want to separate you from your castle.

I have a Bug Out Vehicle

Great! So what? A bug out vehicle is only as good as where it can get you. If you are stranded in the city because you didn’t get out in time, what good is that vehicle? If it is parked on the highway in traffic what does that do to your plans?

Having a bug out vehicle is important; especially if you need to get to your survival retreat up above but simply having a tricked out Ford F250 running diesel or bio-fuel doesn’t mean that you can’t be stopped. Having that big truck doesn’t guarantee you won’t have some type of mechanical failure or be disabled by someone else in a big truck.

OK, so what good is prepping then?

My whole point with this article is that you can’t become complacent. My list that I was filling out was for the day, not eternity. If I buy some extra food today, that is like a deposit in the extra time bank. By having supplies I am buying myself and my family extra time, but I can’t teleport us out of any emergency that appears with freeze dried food. I can’t change the fact that the electric grid is wiped out (as an example) just because I have 500 gallons of water stored.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Prepping is a Journey, not a destination. You will never be completely prepared for anything. You can only work at being more prepared than you were. You can strive for being better prepared than you were a year ago. What you can’t do is think that you are done and that you can sit back and relax. Prepping is done by people who see trouble ahead and take steps to deal with that trouble. Chances are, that trouble isn’t going to go away and neither should your dedication to staying ready and striving for more self-sufficiency and resilience. You very likely will never be as prepared as you want to be, but that journey will pay you back when the time comes.

Don’t Fool Yourself into Thinking You Have Nothing to Worry About Preppers can fairly quickly find themselves at the mercy of our own minds. We create the need and the solution

Winter Property Assessments
When we think of winter prepper project idea, we commonly think of things that can help us beat or evade the cold and less about spending time outdoors. However, there’s a lot that winter (or early spring) can tell us about our properties, both for planting decisions, siting various things around our property, and for mitigating some of the weather that comes with winter and spring. A lot of it is information that’s hard to come by in late spring and summer. Winter is also an excellent time for indoor projects. This article will talk about the outdoors and assessments, but later I’ll hit a mix of projects we can tackle at the kitchen table.

Snow Drifts

Snow drifts can be useful guides for our homes – and an excellent test of how “tight” our winter gear is. Looking at where snow piles up and which sides it accumulates on tells us where the winds blow to and from in winter. That tells us:

  • Where not to site tender crops and perennials – Those winds will create a colder micro-climate even into planting season that can stunt or kill off our plants, or delay planting season for us. They can also wreck a borderline shrub or tree for our area, whereas with a little more protection our hardy kiwifruit or cherries would have been fine and full-sized.
  • Where not to plan our backup/outdoor kitchen (nothing like standing outside grilling in a gale)
  • Which direction to face doors on new construction of sheds and animal buildings, so that snow builds up on the opposite side, limiting how much we dig to open doors and how much cold air enters every time we open that door.

  • Where we want to put gates, so that something is helping to put them in the lee of an accumulation zone, again, to limit digging while caring for livestock.
  • Where we might want to create a windbreak or series of buffers for house doors – Stack wood, build a shed, or erect a screen of some kind around the doors in our homes, either panels of soda bottles or salvaged windows, or even just mesh screen, anything to diffuse the wind. It limits how much cold air enters with us, as well as can create an initial mudroom for brushing and shaking off snow before we even get to the drip zone of our house.
  • Where we might plant a windbreak of hardy, screening shrubs and trees to protect crops (there’s a specific way to plan those)

  • Where we want to stack wood, so that we don’t have to get a faceful of rain or snow or sleet collecting it, and so we don’t have to dig/chip it out as often.

Similarly to tracking winter winds, we also want to be aware of summer winds, especially in areas where summer and autumn storms will rip away flowers or drop not-yet-ripe fruit. There are other ways for finding those directions and wind strengths.

Pooling & Running Water

Water is essential for life, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Locating the paths water takes and the places it collects and stands can do several things for us. The key to reducing water damage to buildings, the land, and our plants, and to using it most efficiently, is to locate both the areas where it pools and stands, the areas it’s running fastest, and the points of origin. The origin points are both where it’s entering our property, and how it’s getting there.

Sketch a simple plat map of the property or areas on the property, and make notes during rains, snows, and melting periods. It’s as simple as looking, although some stomping to see how sodden an area is is invaluable. Winter and spring with their typically greater wetness levels are ideal for finding a property’s water trends.

Permie S’s  – Locating the pathways of water on our property allows us the opportunity to Slow It, Spread It, Sink It & Store It. That might be creating swales or keylines to increase infiltration or to move the water somewhere we’d prefer it, building hugel beds in a system to absorb some of it and redirect some of it, or seeing if we can harness it in pools or water catchment systems at the point of origin.

Frost Pockets – Those places that water pools in a storm or melt cycle are going to be the low spots. Low spots tend to collect frost early and late in the season, damaging plants that are located there. They’re also going to periodically turn into a skating rink in winter, which can make them a poor place to park vehicles or situate the shed with the feed in it.

Cold Water – Soil temperature affects plant germination and growth. Crops like corn won’t germinate at all in cold soils, and cold-soaking rains can stunt or kill off other warm season crops as well. While it’s less of an issue in later seasons, locating crop fields where they’re regularly inundated with cold spring rains and winter snow-melt runoff can damage our density and yields, or delay our plantings by weeks or a full month and a half in some places.

Oops – It looked dry enough, and it was solid getting out … right up until it wasn’t. Knowing the sodden spots of our property ahead of planting – now or in a disaster – can help us avoid losing time or seed on soils that stay soaked late in the season and re-soak quickly in rain storms.

Standing Water & Soaked Soils – Pretty much any seed can be pre-soaked to speed germination, but that’s a temporary thing, usually numbered in hours. Seed packages mention “damp” or “moist” soil because it’s one of those “too much of a good thing” cases. Inundated soils will increase rot in both seeds and seedlings, costing us days or weeks as it dries out. Our planting can also be delayed if we site our crops in areas that don’t consistently dry out until weeks after the traditional start date for our area just because we can’t get a tractor or push tiller in.

Wet fields can also lead to delays in harvesting first-cut hay, decreasing its quality and possibly preventing later cut(s). Cutting by hand is laborious and while it allows increased access over a tow-behind, there’s still loss potential from ground rot. Wet green hays that are baled also sometimes spontaneously ignite, which can cost us not only feed, but our livestock and sheds, if not our homes as well.

While most of the water checks can be done just by visualizing the surface, in this case, it would not hurt to walk around with some hollow bamboo or a steel pipe, a tulip planter, or a skinny fencepost shovel. We want to stab down into our soils every 2-3 days after heavy rains and during the periods leading up to our planting dates (and after) to see when exactly it dries out.

We also want to repeat this process after we seed if we plan to expand later, because little is worse than heavy rain cycles that leave us staring at wasting crops from our windows as our plots turn into bogs and lakes. Tracking the water on our property during the traditionally wettest periods of the year can help us avoid that.

Pasture/Paddock Damage – Areas that collect water are a bad idea for livestock. Sodden soils don’t hold grasses and dicots very well. Hooves and claws end up tearing the plants free and destroying the roots, even when the turf starts off in good condition. Likewise, damp ground increases bacterial and viral diseases and causes additional hoof, foot and feather conditions. Once those pastures and paddocks are bare earth, it’s hard to reestablish growth if livestock stay in place. Rebuilding the turf – even a mixed “weedy” field – requires feeding off hay and grains and in most cases reseeding.

Untreated pasture problems will only compound over time.

There are fixes that work for smaller animals such as chickens, but they commonly involve planting specific things that help absorb water (willow, bamboo) and then allowing those plants time to establish so the birds maintain their size without wrecking them, or mulching to depths of 6-18”. Deep mulching isn’t a terrible idea for chickens anyway, as it helps limit waste buildup and gives cooped birds an activity (poking through the mulch for critters) but that mulch does have to be replaced. It can be anything, from chips we do ourselves from firewood cuttings to pine needles and raked leaves, but in some warm, humid areas the sheer volume needed is going to be prohibitive.

In the long run, it’s typically just better to do something else with those areas.


There are always exceptions to a rule. In the case of frost pockets or saturated soils, especially the cold water of early spring and resulting from winter snow melt, we might decide the delays in planting and pasture rotations are worth it. One reason might be if the surrounding areas are elevated with thin soils, and end up dry for the rest of the growing season. We might install hugels or* swale systems on the slopes surrounding a pocket for our veggies, or plant them for silvopasture or fodder shrubs, and choose to take the delay for main crop calorie staples rather than have to find a way to irrigate those.

*OR; Or is an important word. In this case, it means one OR the other, not both unless you are a hydrologist who has crunched the numbers. We can create a potential for bad things to happen by combining the two – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

We can also buy growing season in sodden areas if we need to by switching to raised beds – conventional soil-filled bounded beds, unbounded Eden-style or lasagna-style low beds, or hugel beds – anything elevated and able to wick up only as much water as it needs. There are tradeoffs to anything in life, though, and raised beds and aquaponics are not going to produce large scale calorie staple crops for the most part.

Similarly, we might eschew one conventional wisdom about wind direction to take advantage of a different conventional wisdom or an entirely unrelated element of our property.

It’s about prioritizing what we need most. Knowing is half the battle, though. If we don’t know what conditions can hurt or help us, and where they are, we can’t even begin to prioritize which trees or woods to harvest and which to let stand, where we want to locate small livestock, a kitchen garden, pastures or annual crop plots, or perennials.

Winter Wonderland

We can take advantage of the winter wonderland outside our doors in a lot of ways, and in another article I’ll hit some that are ideal for a shed or kitchen table. The biggie in this article, though, are the ways winter’s snow and mud can help us plan.

Here are a few more projects to consider for wet and icy months:

  • Identify the slick spots and deep mud (before we run/drive across them to escape a fire or intersect a bad guy before he closes on our homes; shipping pallets or some logs may be all we need to avoid getting wet, muddy or bogged down in wet seasons)
  • Identify animal tracks and paths (wildlife, but also how many loose domestic pets we’ll have to deal with)
  • Lay out weed exclusions for beds before the weeds even sprout
  • Locate the sunny spots for greenhouses, cold frames and hoops
  • Get rid of hornets while they’re slower from the cold
  • Check the accesses to our non-faucet water options – Maybe it’s figuring out that we need to bed down our water catchment annually and come up with a new plan, maybe it’s making sure we can get to a creek without chancing frosty shores and thin ice, or devising a method for filling up our camelbacks and buckets without getting all that close. Especially if we really do plan on hauling water from creeks, physically troubleshoot it now, on the worst days, when there’s still 911 and a running vehicle available.

Running water is undercutting ice at the edge of a creek here – that’s a slick or collapse disaster waiting to happen even as narrow and shallow as they are if we’re planning to fill jugs and buckets here.

  • Check the roots of trees near buildings and fences during washouts and melts (Are any exposed enough to worry about coming down?)
  • Whack down invasives like privet, kudzu, and baby oak sprouts now when seeds are less risk and before they get any bigger – it’ll help keep you warm
  • Figure out the change-of-season habits for deer and rabbits (don’t count on rut patterns in deep winter)
  • Find the drafts/leaks in buildings, and deal with them (Draft/leak hint: When it’s snowy/icy, look for drips and steam in an otherwise socked-in section; warm air is getting out of those spots. Insulate or patch them.)

Our yards in winter and early spring can offer some of the best information about our properties. It’s worth taking a stroll and making some notes. There are also tasks that are just easier without insects, snakes and heavy growth, and while plants are dormant. Winter can still be a time to rest, but if we want our properties to be most efficient, a few outdoor tasks here and there can make a big difference in our planning.

Winter Property Assessments When we think of winter prepper project idea, we commonly think of things that can help us beat or evade the cold and less about spending time

When we start talking about prepping, or Preppers, the root of that word or concept is prepare. All prepare means and Prepping by extension, is to get ready. The obvious question that follows is to get ready “for what”? The what, in that question determines the activity that you choose to take part in and determining “what” to prepare for has already been done by most of you out there or you wouldn’t be reading this article most likely.

If your “what” is a power outage like they demonstrated in American Blackout, you would prepare (get ready) for that situation and possibly purchase spare batteries, a generator and start thinking about how to get around in your world without electricity. You would do this to offset some of the inconveniences and possibly safety risks of living without power. If the situation (what you are preparing for) is a lack of ammunition as another example, you would purchase more logically so as to not be as adversely impacted by a shortage. This has led certain people in society to label anyone who purchases extra of anything as a Hoarder. They seem to try and equate someone who is “getting ready” with the same people who have some type of mental issue portrayed on another T.V show, Hoarders.

I wanted to address this subject a while back, but got off into other things obviously. I get a little irritated when I hear preppers called hoarders and even more ticked when we are admonished to stop hoarding anything like we are little children being scolded by our parents. Are Preppers Hoarders? I certainly don’t think so and even advocate hoarding in my own way. I choose to present what the naysayers call hoarding as stocking up, but I’ll get into the differences and some of my opinions as to why this is a ridiculous correlation and why I think people who try to tell you how much of anything you can have are no better than the people who are trying to take away what you have in the first place.

Arguments against stocking up

Make smart purchases when you can, not desperate purchases when you have no choice.

I have seen a lot of posts in the past and YouTube videos complaining about most recently the ammo shortage. Six months ago, you couldn’t find ammo easily.  Now it seems to have cleared up considerably, but back then, when stores would receive a shipment, they would only get a small amount of ammo and that would be gone quickly. Prices doubled and quadrupled in some cases and everyone was running around trying to get their hands on a box or two without much success. There was ammo to be had, but it wasn’t as easy as running down to the local Wal-Mart anymore and the prices did go up.

The ammo shortage made me change my behavior in a couple of ways. For starters, I wasn’t able to go buy a box of my common calibers anymore when I went to the store. On some days I got lucky, but I didn’t want to pay $40 for a box that not too long ago was $16. I had my own supply of ammo already so I didn’t need to. I didn’t have millions of rounds, but I had enough to make up what I’ll call my minimum recommended amounts for each caliber, or relatively close to it. By tracking all of my ammunition inventory on a spreadsheet, I knew exactly what I had and what I needed. When the crunch hit, I didn’t really need anything else, but it would have been nice to have.

The second way the ammunition shortage changed my behavior was that I didn’t go to the range for a long time. It was simply too expensive and with the shortage, I had a hard time rationalizing buying any ammo to go shoot in the first place. I was not going to eat into my ammunition minimum storage so I abstained and waited.

You are being greedy

Now, I made a decision not to purchase because it was expensive, not because it was gone. You could still find plenty of ammo at online vendors and at gun shows. If you wanted to get ammo you could, it was just more difficult and expensive. I did find some deals and purchased several hundred rounds when it made sense, and I had the funds. This is around the time that people started whining about this predicament and started writing articles about how mean and even wrong we preppers were. I heard so many times about how “those preppers are causing this” or how people are panicking and that is ruining it for “the rest of us”. Who is the rest of us?

What makes anyone think they are more entitled to any commodity than anyone else? Why do you think I need to modify my behavior so that you can keep doing what you want to, the way you want to? I wrote about this in another post a little about how I heard a grown man complaining to the clerk at Wal-Mart because he couldn’t buy any .22 ammo. Life sucks pal, get over it.

These same individuals who are talking about how the people who are trying to prepare are ruining it for the rest of the world will try and give their rationale for this belief. They will say that there isn’t enough to go around; you are being greedy if you take more than you need. Sometimes they will put conditions on how much or what you can take and say, training ammo is fine, but don’t buy all the tactical ammo. The biggest reason why you don’t need any more ammo than one box or two is that “you can’t carry all of it”. I can’t carry my truck either, does that mean I shouldn’t buy one?

Give me a break!

Here’s the way I look at it. We all have access to the same information about what is happening in the world. More importantly, we all have the same opportunities to learn from history. The people who are complaining about preppers stockpiling are adults who should know better. If you choose not to prepare for a situation in which you might not be able to get something you need, that is your choice.  Don’t call me an idiot for planning ahead when you didn’t. I am not a hoarder because I am storing up food for when there isn’t any or I am unable to get to it. I don’t have some deviant medical condition because I can see the writing on the wall and I am taking steps to protect my family when there are shortages. I don’t need your permission or blessing to do what I can to ensure my family’s survival and I really could care less if you are inconvenienced and aren’t able to go plinking with your .22 whenever you want.

If you want to prevent this from happening to your family my advice is to get off your butt and start stockpiling yourself. That way, whenever the ammunition is in short supply again, you will already have your own and then you too will be one less person out there scratching around trying to find it. Be proactive about the situation and stop writing articles or making videos about how Preppers aren’t making it easy for you to be lazy. If you want something in this world, go out and get it. If you aren’t motivated enough to take care of your needs when you can, don’t cry about it when you can’t.

When we start talking about prepping, or Preppers, the root of that word or concept is prepare. All prepare means and Prepping by extension, is to get ready. The obvious


In today’s world, when a calamity knocks, people would go after one another to offer help and support each other all the way. However, sometimes, tragedies bring out the worst out of people. Some of these scheming calamities seem to target defenseless victims like the aging, the disabled and of course, women.

Most of the times men escape death because they know how to fight and to protect themselves. Their physical weight and height come in handy in most times too.

A lot of times, women are referred to as the fragile and weak ones. Favorably, many self-defense tips and approaches can trim that disadvantage and grant women the ability to shield themselves and those that they are obliged to protect, for example, their children.

Physically and Emotionally Fit

Women need to be physically and emotionally fit at all times. For example, if they have gone camping, should any danger arise, like a sign of an intruder from afar, they need to be ready to jump into action. They will need to run, really fast, to protect themselves from danger or to simply go and get help. Sometimes, the threat may not always be represented as a person. Other tragedies may be manifested in natural disasters like an avalanche, a storm or a tree falling.

Below are some of the wilderness safety tips women can put in place to be safe. Although sometimes all one may need is a survival boot knife, other regimens may be more helpful. Some of the tips revolve around things women may have been doing before, in preparation, not while faced with danger.

1. Exercise

It is important to keep fit. Otherwise, how will you jump into action if you cannot run? Exercising at least five times a week may be helpful. Other activities may also involve lifting weights or moving a log. These training tips are advisable because strength is vital in getting help.

Another idea to get in shape to be ready to defend yourself while out camping is rock climbing. This is especially easy since you do not need to go to the forest to become good at rock climbing. While the best practice would be the natural setting, today, rock climbing can be done at malls or even at the comfort of your home. Makeshift rock-climbing walls may not give the exact situation, but they prepare you for what’s on the outside for when you do go rock climbing or are faced with a situation in which you need such skills.

The good thing about exercising for survival and fitness is that one does not to be a member of a professional gym or hire an expert trainer to show you the ropes. All it takes is a simple regimen to keep fit, be it running, jogging, breathing exercises, and so on.

2. Survival Course

As much as you may be ready and willing to go out in the wilderness and enjoy the fresh air, the risk you are running is as real as a snake bite or a fractured knee. Many people may not be willing to try it out, but survival and defense classes are becoming more popular by the day.

The courses are short and have more to do with practical situations than the theory. What’s more? They are offered by professionals who may be retired Marines, medical practitioners or survival experts.

3. First Aid and Quick Response

Many courses will train you on how to avoid being in harm’s way. However, in the case of disaster, what else could you do to survive? There are a number of quite basic First Aid tips that women should have in hand to be better placed to save their lives. They are such as knowing how to stop a nosebleed, treat a snake bite or improvise and stabilize a fractured bone.

4. No Giving Up

The main thing the trainers and those who have survived tragedies in the wilderness will tell you is that you need to keep a positive attitude throughout the process. The positive attitude will help you stay focused during training and in the face of disaster. So many people have talked about going for hours, sometimes days, without water, fresh air or warmth. In the case of an avalanche, it is important to keep in mind that rescue is on the way and you just need to hold on.

5. The Mind Game

A danger is not always presented in the form of a person, but when it does, it is time to play smart, rather than showcase your mastery of the Kung Fu skills. Naturally, men are more muscular than women, and if they are your attacker, then it is time to play smart. Mind games such as playing defenseless and trying to understand your attacker’s psychology may save you more than a high kick or a blow to the face will. It is, therefore, important to keep in mind where you are, and who may be out to attack you. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself include:

This information will be vital especially if you are going camping in a different region, away from home. Read news and crime journals and reports about the general security of the area. Such information may be readily available on the internet. Reading about a new area gives Intel on what to expect, or not to expect.

In the same vein, know your surroundings. You should have contact details of a nearby hospital or sheriff’s office. This will be substantial even if the danger is not presented in the form of an attacker. In the case of a storm and the cabin is struck by lightning, perhaps reaching the sheriff’s office for assistance in the event of accidents may be essential.

6. Gun and Ammunition


Being fit may get you out of a situation, but being smart may save you faster and in a better way. Women, and indeed everyone else, need to be familiar with the gun and security laws governing their state or country. If you are going to be in a place that may put you at risk of being attacked, it only makes sense to have protection.

Most people keep guns in their houses or on them, but this is subject to the law and the permits required. If all the legislation boxes have been checked, then it’s time to learn how to load the gun, and of course, fire. Know what gun you are most comfortable using and if you need to spend some little time at the range to perfect your aim, then, by all means, do so.


All in all, security is key, not just for the women, but for everyone who is going to spend some time out of the comfort and safety of their home. Whether survival classes or keeping fit, always be on the lookout for what harm may come your way and how best to stay safe.

  In today’s world, when a calamity knocks, people would go after one another to offer help and support each other all the way. However, sometimes, tragedies bring out the worst