Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves (For Preppers and Non-Preppers)


We all like to think we are straight shooters. We are pretty honest with ourselves and with others. However, being humans, we all have the ability to put our heads in the sand. We don't want to see when something bad is going to happen. We don't want to recognize the signs that trouble is on the way. We don't always want to take precautions to prevent problems.

Why is this? Because of the biggest lie we tell ourselves:

That will never happen to me (us). 

Most of us say this at one time or another. I know I have. We then find out we were wrong. Bad things will happen to us. That is just an universal truth. It doesn't matter if you are a prepper or not. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. Bad things will happen, but how you handle it will be your doing.

For preppers, we like to think we know what is going to happen to us. We know what natural disasters could hit us, what catastrophic events could happen, and what every day life events could rearrange our lives. We like to think we are prepared for anything.

However, we can get arrogant. We think we have it all planned out. "That will never happen here or happen to us" is a phrase that gets thrown out to prove how much we know and what we expect will happen. However, when I see what some preppers are prepping for, I cringe.

Here are some of the things I don't always see preppers think about:

  • Are you ready to see what happens when you lose your job or income resources?
  • Are you ready to lose your home through fire, natural disaster, or foreclosure?
  • Are you ready to bug out somewhere else besides your home or one and only bug out shelter?
  • Are you ready to be handicapped due to an accident?
  • Are you ready to stranded in your vehicle or another location away from home for several days?
  • Are you ready to deal with limited supplies if trucks can't deliver goods or there is a gas shortage?
  • Are you ready to deal with having your supply and other things stolen?
  • Are you able to defend your home and family without a gun and ammo?
  • Are you able to live without running water for several days or deal with a tainted supply?
  • Are you ready to relocate yourself and your family quickly when a situation does happen?

We like to think we have planned for all of these things, but that is pure arrogance. Life throws curve balls. I know I don't have all things things addressed and they are things I really need to address. We might have things standing our way to get these things addressed. Money is a factor. Time is a factor. Life is a factor. These things need to be addressed. By saying "That will never happen to me", we are saying we don't want to think about or address these things. We are being ignorant and foolish.

For non-preppers, all those questions pertain to you too. I know by talking to some of you that you have all the confidence in the world that nothing bad will happen to you. You almost act surprised and offended by even suggesting such a thing.

However, you need the biggest wake-up call. I understand wanting to be optimistic and wanting the world to be a happy place. I also want those things and would even call myself an optimist. I am also a realist who understands I have no control over some of these bad things happening. You really need to be too.

Do you want to know why you need to realize that these things can happen to you? Because:

  • You are the ones on television wondering why FEMA isn't there with supplies yet.
  • You are the ones wondering how you will support your family after you lost a job that you never thought you would lose.
  • You are the ones who will be relying on the kindness of others to help you after you lost your home.
  • You are the ones who will be on government assistance because you cannot support yourselves anymore due to an accident.
  • You will be the ones who are helpless when your home is invaded and robbed because you have no means to defend yourselves. 
  • You will be the ones with no place to go when you are forcibly evacuated from your home.
  • You will be the ones who will starve or die of thirst because you had no food or water set aside for crisis situations. 

Do you think I am kidding? I am not, but I really hope you are never in those positions. I hope you start to believe that bad things can happen to you and you need to be prepared. Even FEMA recommends at least a week if not three weeks of emergency water, food, and supplies.

Do not lie to yourselves. As preppers and non-preppers, we can be too arrogant to realize that bad things can happen to us. We can always be better prepared.

And non-preppers? You are not too late to the party. Start prepping!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why Is A Whistle Important To Carry With You Every Day?


Many people have things they carry with them every day. Also known as everyday carry, we all have items that we carry on a key ring, in our pockets, on our belts, and/or in a holster. These are items we couldn't live without or wouldn't want to be without in case of an emergency or a situation. 

One of things I carry on my key ring which I carry in my jean pocket is a whistle. This is absolutely one item I wouldn't want to be without. I work in a place where we can not carry a weapon although our customers can. While this can be a problem (but never has been), a whistle can help me in a few ways. 

Blowing a whistle while in distress can alert co-workers that there is a problem. A loud, repeating whistle generally will get their attention or a customer's attention that I need help in some way. Whether I am inside or outside the building, I will almost guarantee to get someone's attention to get help. Yelling can work, but a whistle is usually louder and shriller and will get attention quicker.

Outside of work, having a whistle on the farm is also handy. If I am in distress on the farm, I can get attention faster using a whistle. While we try to work together when we are outside, that is not always possible. Having a whistle can be used more effectively to get attention and help.

Being out in public, a whistle can be your best friend if you are in distress or being attacked. When you are in distress or being attacked, the best thing you can do is blow that whistle if you do not have another way to defend yourself. Even if you can defend yourself, blowing a whistle can still get you help faster. 

Having a whistle can also help you get help for someone else. If you are near someone who is hurt and you don't feel comfortable or safe to leave them, you can blow the whistle for help. If you see someone in danger or being attacked, you can blow the whistle foe help before you try to help the endangered person(s). 

Having a whistle is not a replacement for defending yourself. It is a way to bring attention to yourself if you need help. While I would still defend myself or others with all that I have and can, having a whistle can definitely be a life-saving measure. That is why a whistle has a permanent spot in my every day carry items. 

What else should you carry in your every day carry? Let the other Prepared Bloggers tell you!

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations. Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge! But, even if you're just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?


Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends. 


John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have. 

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won't be caught without her handy water filter

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day. 

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate. 

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you'll always go back for...your cell phone.

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe. 

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes. 

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it's gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Please check out everyone listed! They all have great advice!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, March 13, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March


March is a fun time of the year! You never know what kind of weather you will have, if Spring will actually come in March, and if Winter will ever end. Below, I have a few things you can do this month to keep the winter doldrums at bay and make the time go quicker!

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March:

1. Buy plastic and plywood for your windows in your house. We recently had a hailstorm near us that caused a lot of damage. Many homeowners had broken windows from golf ball sized hail. Having a some plastic to put over your windows will keep your home protected from the elements until someone can come and fix it. Also keeping a roll of black plastic will be handy in case you need to black out your windows for any reason. Plywood is another good way of covering up your windows if they break or have the potential to break in a bad storm.

2. Make your evacuation plans. While winter is still here for another month or two, the fun Spring and Summer weather is coming. Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and other wonderful weather will be here before we know it! Now is the time to make an evacuation plans or review your current plans. Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:



  • Where will you go? 
  • How will you get there? 
  • What alternate routes can you take? 
  • Where is everyone going to meet? 
  • Which vehicle(s) will you be taking? 
  • What will you take with you?

Put a copy of this somewhere safe or in your bug out bag. Make sure everyone in your household knows the plan. The most important part? Practice, practice, practice this plan!

3. Add foods to your food storage that do not require cooking. Sometimes, in times of crisis, having food that you can just grab and eat is wonderful. You might not always have time to cook or the resources to cook food. Some good ideas to have in your food storage:



  • Meal replacement bars
  • Protein bars
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Jam or jelly
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Packets of chicken or ham salad and crackers
  • Packets of cheese or peanut butter and crackers
  • Cereal bars

4. Sharpen your tools. If you are a gardener, now is a good time to sharpen your shovels, hoes, trowels, and other tools. If you have knives, now is a good time to sharpen them whether they are for the kitchen, personal carry, shop, or outdoor use. Keeping your tools sharp can make a job go faster and prevent injury from dull tools. And no one likes a dull tool.

5. Daylight Savings Time means check your batteries time. Daylight Savings Time is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you do not have these, now is a good time to get them installed. March is also a good time to check your fire extinguishers to make sure the pin hasn't been pulled and nothing has gotten rusty. You should also take the time this month to make sure the kids and the adults know what to do if there is a fire: how to get out the house, use the fire ladder, where to meet outside the house, and how to call for help.

What do you have planned for March?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, March 3, 2017

Prepping and Decluttering


I have a new video on YouTube today talking about prepping and decluttering. While the two things seem like they might be in conflict with each other, I talk about the process we are going through. 

Some things I will never get rid and I talk about those. Some things are not worth holding on to and are taking up valuable space. What you keep and what you get rid of is a personal decision, keeping too much can cause problems in times of crisis and even bugging out. 

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks,
Erica



Monday, February 27, 2017

12 Must Have Items For Prepping For The Elderly


One of the areas of prepping that does not always cross one's mind is prepping for the elderly. We all have older people in our lives who will need us in a situation or a crisis. Most of us are planning on our parents or grandparents joining us if they need a place to stay. We may have the elderly neighbor who may need our help. We may have an aunt or uncle who need us.

The elderly have things they need that we may not think of. We may not want to think of us ever needing them, but the truth is we probably will. Having these things on hand will make life much more comfortable for the elderly as well as making them a more functional part of the household. In a SHTF situation, every capable person will be needed in any way they can contribute. Keeping these items on hand will make that situation better for them and for you.

12 Must Have Items For Prepping For The Elderly

1. Eyeglasses. Many will have their own, but sometimes people do not need glasses until much older. Some older people will only need magnifying reading glasses or "cheaters" to see for reading. I would keep a few of these on hand in varying strengths (+1.25, +1.50, +2.00). I would also keep an eyeglass repair kit on hand for maintaining the glasses.

2. Canes and Walkers. The elderly people staying with you may need some help getting around. Canes and walkers help provide stability when an elderly person is not walking as steady as they used to. They also help to regain mobility after a fall or an injury.

3. Incontinence Pads and Underwear. Elderly people have a harder time with their bodily functions sometimes. The bathroom might be too far away. Their muscle control may not be what it used to be. These are handy to have on hand, just in case.

4. Denture Cleaner and Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste. A lot of elderly people have dentures or teeth that are worn down. Keeping some denture cleaner on hand will keep the dentures in better condition. I would also recommend getting a denture repair kit to have on hand too. For those that have teeth are a bit sensitive, keeping some sensitive teeth toothpaste will help with that problem.

5. Easy to Dress Clothing. Hands and fingers may not work as well as we would like them to when we get older. Elastic waist pants, tee shirts, and shirts with snaps are easier to put on and will help them keep their dignity. You may want to have velcro shoes. You may also want to get some dressing aids that will help them dress themselves.

6. Warm Clothing. One of the things that happens to the body as we get older is that we lose our ability to keep warm. Older people get cold quickly and need layers to stay warm. Warm cardigans, sweaters, sweatshirts, and heavy socks all help to maintain body temperature.

7. Compression stockings. These will help with muscle fatigue in the legs, keep the varicose veins and leg ulcers from forming, improve blood flow, and help with swelling in the legs. During a crisis, the elderly may need to be on their feet more and compression stockings will help with their comfort.

8. Safety items. When hosting an elderly person, you need to realize they do not get around as well as you do. Showers and bathtubs need railings to hold on to. The stairs will also need railings, even just 2 or 3 steps. You will need lights or the ability to light an area in hard to see spots. You are trying to minimize accidents that could seriously impact your home in times of crisis. An elderly person falling will add more work to what can be an overburdened workload.

9. Food. Of course, the elderly need food. However, their food needs change as they get older. While they may enjoy the same foods as everyone else, they may also have special diets. They may need to follow a diabetic diet or a gluten free diet. They may need softer foods that they can chew easier. They may need easy to digest foods if their digestive system has issues.

10. Medications. You will need to have over the counter medications for them. Some medications are geared towards older people and you should pay attention to that. I would also keep vitamins and supplements for them also because their bodies need more immunity and functional support. As for prescription medicines, I would encourage them to get the longest supply they can get. For example, if they can get a 90 day supply, I would do it. Hopefully, you can find a way to stockpile their prescription medications without problems. I do not encourage withholding medications from them to start a new stockpile.

11. Hearing aids and/or batteries. Many older people will need hearing aids or will have hearing aids. You can purchase hearing aids used, but some hearing aids are geared towards a specific problem. You also need to keep several hearing aid batteries on hand. Batteries will last for only 3-14 days on average and depending on use. I would also keep a kit on hand to keep the hearing aids clean and in good condition.

12. Items that are easy to use and will make life easier. Large barrel flashlights, large barrel pens, and other items are so much easier to use for arthritic hands. A magnifying glass will make books and papers easier to read. Item grabbers will be great to get items that are too high and it will keep them off a chair or a ladder.

What would you add to this list? What things do you think you would need if you are an older person?

Thanks,
Erica


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Monthly Update From The Homestead - February Edition


February is here! The month of love, the month of cabin fever, the month of boredom...

Actually, we haven't had much in the way of cabin fever. The month started out cold, but today we will be in the 60's for temperatures! In February! I will take it!

Just to have a thunderstorm and snowstorm at the end of the month...February you fickle....

We are just patiently waiting for Spring to come by trying to get stuff done indoors. We are still working on that bedroom that I hope to have the painting done by the end of the weekend. We have the floor done. (YES!) The walls have been given a couple coats of paint to freshen it up, but we decided to go back and do the trim. It needed to be touched up and I couldn't match the original color so I decided to do it again. While I am doing that, the ceiling will need to be done again. And the quarter round will need to be bought, painted, cut and attached. So much fun!



I still want to get the upstairs hallway painted too this winter. That should not take as long, but I am not sure what to do about the trim. The paint on the trim is enamel based which means it will not be painted over well. I might just rip it off and put new trim on. We haven't really talked about it yet.

All the upstairs doors also need to be addressed. A few of them need to be sanded down and stained or repainted. Hinges are the big problem and will probably need to be replaced. Rob has been constantly re-tightening screws and they seem to come loose again.

All those things above? The joys of living in an old house. The reasons I hate tackling remodeling projects. One thing turns into another thing to fix and to do. Plans get bigger and more work becomes involved. Ugh. I love the finished project, but I don't love the mess and constantly changing plans to get there.

Otherwise, I have been still hauling things to the thrift store. I am stunned by how much stuff we have gotten rid of. I have been finding even more things that I really thought I needed, but really don't need or use. However, I am going to start entering the sentimental things area of decluttering and I am not sure what I will do then.

I hope to start tomatoes soon in the seed pods. I might get a grow light to help with the growing since I lack good southern exposure in my house. I really want to start growing my tomatoes from seed. I spend way too much money on tomato plants!

Since I like to save money, Rob and I have been really examining our utility bill. We are both fully committed to seeing that bill drop considerably. We have ideas as to what we want to do and what needs to be focused on. We are both appalled by how much it has gone up. We are also baffled by a few fees on the bill, namely an access charge that costs us $37 a month no matter what. 

We haven't done a lot of prepping lately. This is not because we are comfortable with the state of the world today. We are far from being comfortable. We have been looking at guns and did go to our first and second gun shows in one day. We walked away with empty hands, but it is great to handle the guns and know what feels comfortable in our hands. We have also been exploring off grid options so we aren't screwed if the electricity disappears for awhile. 

Sometimes, prepping isn't about what you purchase. Sometimes, prepping is about the research and the decisions to make the future easier.

What have you been doing in February?

Thanks,
Erica



Monday, February 20, 2017

20 Things You Can Do On Your Spring Homestead


Spring! The promise of hope. The start of the growing season. The warmer temperatures and fickle weather. The possibilities of what can be done!

I love Spring! Winter is over except for the possibility of a late snowstorm. Summer is coming. You can be outside most of the time without freezing your gluteus maximus. Which is a good thing because there is so much to do in the Spring on a homestead!

20 Things You Can Do On Your Spring Homestead:

1. Start seeds inside. Check out your planting zone, but now is a good time to start onions, tomatoes, peppers, and other things you might buy as plants at the store.

2. As soon as your planting zone allows, plant seeds in your garden. You can plant radishes and other cold hardy vegetables and greens as soon as the frost is out of the ground. Most of them will survive a late frost also.

3. Fix fences. Winter can be harsh on your fences. While the ground is fairly soft (not soggy), now is good time to put new stakes in the ground and pull up old ones.

4. Fix damage to outside buildings. Did you have a roof leak on the coop? Now is a good time to address it. Did the snow and rain damage the sides of the building? Now is also a good time to address that.

5. Get new chicks! Spring is a great time to start a new flock or add to the current one. Anyway you look at it, new chicks are cute and should be on a homestead!

6. While you are getting chicks, some new turkey poults, goslings, and ducklings would be good too. If you are looking for some different forms of protein in the form of eggs and meat, all of these are great. If you really want to and have the room and shelter for them, goats, lambs, calves and piglets are all great additions to the homestead too!

7. Build a new raised garden bed or make a new garden. If you can expand, now would be a good time to do.

8. Clean up the yard. Get the rocks out of the lawn so you don't ruin the lawn mower or break a window. Clean up the trash that has blown over from the neighbors.

9. Pick up the sticks and branches that fell over the winter. At my house, this gets it own number on the list. We have a lot of trees and we seems to lose a lot of branches over the winter.

10. Cut down the dead trees. Cutting down the trees now will give the wood time to cure if you are using a wood stove. Otherwise, make a little money on the side selling firewood.

11. Plant new trees. I am a big believer in planting trees. We need them for the environment. They provide a great wind break and shade from the sun. If you plant fruit or nut trees, you can add to your food resources.

12. Clean out the buildings. The garage, the coops, the barn, all of it. They all need a good Spring cleaning after winter and being closed up.

13. Build a rabbit hutch and start raising rabbits. Rabbits are a great form of protein and good eating. If you end up with more rabbits than you know what to do with, start selling them to make a little income on the side.

14. Spring clean the house. A good homestead works best when the house is clean, tidy, and organized. Get everyone involved and give the house a good cleaning including washing the windows and the curtains.

15. Clean the outside of the house and buildings. A good cleaning of the buildings keep the place looking neat and tidy. It also keeps the mold off the house, the dirt from building up in the crevices, and problems from happening like leaks and corrison. Don't forget to clean the gutters too!

16. Take care of the clothesline. Nothing smells better than fresh laundry and the money saved from doing it. Now is a good time to tighten up the lines, replace any lines that have cracked or rusted, and clean them. I just use a wet rag over my hand and run my hand down each line 3-4 times. You would be surprised how dirty they are!

17. If you don't have any, now is a good time to set up a rainwater catchment system. It is as easy as setting a screened barrel with a spout under a downspout from a gutter to catch the water. You will save money not having to run your well or pay for the extra water. You will also have water on hand for livestock or watering plants if you lose power.

18. Want chicks, but don't have a coop? Build a chicken coop! There are some specific things they need like an enclosed area, nesting boxes and a roost, but they don't need a lot of room. You can make one fairly cheap with reclaimed materials too.

19. If you haven't already done this, plan your garden. What do you want to plant? What worked last year? What would you like to preserve and can? What do you actually like to eat? Last year, I planted 22 tomato plants and I am glad I did. I had a really decent harvest with plenty to can and to eat. This year, I want to plant at least that many, but I need a better staking system. I want to plant more peppers too. I only had four plants out of sixteen produce. I need to plant them further away from the tomatoes that tried to suffocate them. You need to consider things like that when planning your garden.

20. Start some beehives. Spring is a good time to get some beehives started. With bees being endangered, more people need to do their part to start raising and homing them. You can purchase a beehive kit from Amazon to get started. To get bees, talk to local beekeepers or your local extension office about where to purchase them. In addition to getting bees, plant some bee loving plants and bushes around the homestead to keep them fed!

What do you want to do on your homestead this Spring?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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