Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Survival Savvy Family: A Book Review



I just got done reading The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski. Julie is a fellow blogger that asked for others, including me, to review her book. I love her blog, Home Ready Home, and thought she would write a pretty good book.

I was wrong. This book isn't just pretty good. This book is fantastic! If you want to get your family prepared and ready for survival, this book is it! 

Julie covers critical survival and preparedness topics such as:
  • Having a family emergency plan
  • Getting an emergency kit together
  • Getting your pantry in order and getting your food storage built up
  • Being medically ready
  • Being financially ready
  • What to do away from home
  • How to deal with power outages
  • Whether to bug in or bug out
  • Dealing with natural disasters
  • Preparing for house fires
  • What to do if your home is broken in
  • Personal safety
  • Getting the kids prepared and teaching them to be safe
Julie also has worksheets and comprehensive checklists in her book that will help you and your family to make sure you have everything you need to be prepared. She has a checklist for what to have on hand for your pets in an emergency situation, what and how much to pack in your child's to-go bag, and more.

She tells her story about why they started preparing and also gives a lot of personal examples throughout the book. I like when an author can help the reader by personally relating to the reader. It helps the author be more credible in their subject matter. 

Even though I was provided a copy of this book for review, I would have bought it anyway. Julie is a great blogger and author and she really proves it with The Survival Savvy Family. I think this book should be in your preparedness library as well as given as a gift for those families you know are struggling with being prepared. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Happens When The Computers Suddenly Don't Work Anymore?



Back in 2011, I wrote an article about being without a computer for three weeks because the computer died suddenly. I have been thinking more about that lately. So much has changed with computers and technology in general in the last four years.  

Our phones can do dang near anything we want them to. We have so much more social media options now. We now have notebooks and pads that function as mini computers. Four years ago, I had a Kindle that did nothing, but download books without graphics. Now Kindles are all that and more. 

The point is we all depend on computers and relevant technology way too much anymore.

Need proof? 

We "pin" every thing on Pinterest to remember it for later. 

We "google" almost every topic we could possibly interested in.

We look up videos on YouTube to find out how to do just about anything. 

We save links on Facebook to remember them for later reading or for super cool ideas.

We bookmark pages, posts, and anything else we might want to remember for later on the web.

We get updates by email that we can put into a folder and save for later. 

I am not saying these are not great tools to use and have because I am just as guilty as you all are. If you have managed to avoid these traps, kudos to you. However, most people have not which then begs the question:

What happens when the computers suddenly don't work anymore?

Step back and think about all the things you use in a day that requires a computer. That alone might scare you! Would your life as you know it be over with? 

I know mine would take a hit. 

Here is what you need in order to survive without technology:

Print off the materials you need. You found a great reference site on the net. You love that one blog post so full of great information. Awesome. Now hit print so you aren't lost without that information later. Better yet? Put that into a binder marked with the topic it pertains to so you can find it even easier later.

Start buying and using the reference you need to live without computers. Shop the thrift stores and garage sales to pick up cheap reference materials. Make a list before you go for the books you want. Keep an open mind though. Also check out Ebay and Amazon. They have a lot of used books for cheap prices. Read the books and make yourself a reference library. 

Start learning the skills you think you need to live a life without technology. Here is the thing. Having all those books are great. Reference materials are invaluable. However, you need to actually learn the skills that those books talk about. Do you have books on hunting? Great. Start learning how to hunt then. Get your hunting license and start aiming/shooting. 

Practice everyday living without computers. Put down the phones. Find something to do that doesn't involve having technology. Build a garden box and start a garden. Use a hand saw and trim some trees. Get use to some hard, satisfying work. Go for a walk and pay attention to the flora and fauna around you. You might need that information later.

Develop some hobbies that do not rely on technology. Some people are caught up in technology. Their phones are their hobby. That needs to change. Start reading those aforementioned books. Take up needlework and hand sewing. Practice whittling on sticks. Buy your kids toys that don't need technology to run them like blocks and Legos. Go camping. 

Learn to live without technology altogether. If we don't have computers anymore, we will lose a lot of other services too. Like almost single one. Make a plan to deal with loss of garbage, electricity, sewer, water, gas, and transportation services. Start to live a life without the need of those services. They might come back after awhile when they learn work without technology. 

What would you do without technology?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, May 29, 2015

How My Favorite Books Have Influenced My Homesteading Life


I grew up in love with the Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables books. I still love them. I still read them all the time. I love the adventures of Anne, Laura, and the people they loved and encountered. I love how they dealt with the situations they found themselves in and their daily lives.

What I loved most was the lives they led. I realize that Anne was a fictional character, but she was based upon a life that Lucy Maud Montgomery knew and lived. I also realize that while Laura was not a fictional character, some of her stories was a bit embellished. That really does not matter to me.

What I took away from those books was the principles, ethics, and morals of those stories. I love how work was valued and laziness was considered an abhorrence. Even when they appeared to be relaxing, they mending or knitting in their hands. Sunday was their day of rest and they treated as such for the work they knew they had to do in the coming week.

I love how everyone was expected to help, everyone had their chores, women were in charge of their homes, and opportunity was not to be wasted. The girls were taught to how to keep a house and housekeeping skills at an early age. Laura was given a chance to become a teacher and took it so Mary could stay in school and have the things she needed. Anne was given the chance to go to Queens and to college so she could support herself as a teacher. She never expected any of that, she took the opportunity, and she graduated at the top of her class.

Work could be hard, but work was never shunned. They either had the skills or learned the skills to do whatever was needed. Work was very rarely ever hired out although a hired man may be needed to keep up with the work. Sometimes Pa had to work away from home to pay the bills, but he did it knowing it was necessary. Neighbors helped each other out by lending tools, putting up the harvest, and building homes.

They all experienced hard times. Anne was very graceful about her time before she came to the Cuthberts, but life was very hard for her as an orphan and a hired girl. The Ingalls family lived a pioneer life, uprooting several times before settling down, and always starting over on new ground. Both had babies pass away just hours/days after being born. Anne dealt with her sons serving their country by joining the army and going to war. Laura and Almanzo's house burned down. They both reacted to difficult situations with dignity and grace, not complaining or playing victim, but by doing what they could to make the situation better.

Being frugal was a way of life. Neither of them had any choice. However, thrift and frugality was concerned a great thing. They didn't have closets stuffed full of clothes. Often they had just 2-4 dresses. Dresses were made, made over, taken apart so the material could be used for a smaller dress, and made into quilts. Dresses were made with extra material so the hems could be let down when children grew taller. Clothes were carefully stored away so they could be used again in some way. Clothes were hand sewn for the most part. Ma was thrilled when she got a sewing machine so she could get her sewing done faster.

Many things were fixed until they could not be fixed again. Nothing was replaced unless it was wore out. Many things were hand made. Everything was carefully taken care of so it could be still be nice and last longer. While general stores were available, money was carefully spent there. Shopping was not a daily thing. They took pride in making their own things and hand made items were treasured keepsakes.

Food was not wasted. Meals were simple and made from simple ingredients. For the Ingalls, Sunday meals were beans and cornbread because they could get the ingredients easily and beans could cook overnight. Holidays and birthdays were for special dishes. Anne's Susan would make everyone their favorite dish on their birthday or when they came home from being gone a long time. Candy was a treat reserved for special occasions. Meals and snacks were almost always eaten at home and were definitely home made.

Vacations were never heard of until later in both of their lives. A trip to see family was very occasional. Dates were rare, but Anne and Laura went to socials, lectures, readings, and church. Courting was "going for a drive" in the horse and buggy. I love the sweetness of that! Anne and Laura were not "boy crazy", although they knew girls who were. School, family, friends, and their duties were the focus of their lives.

Children were expected to behave and taught early on to behave. They were expected to be seen and not be heard. They were not allowed to be disruptive, rude, dishonest, or a nuisance in any way. They were given a "talking to" or firmly reminded how to behave. Often Ma would point out how the girls should be behaving and making sure they were not "loud" or "boisterous". Marilla would tell Anne she was talking too much and to pay attention to her chores.

In my mind, life seemed simpler for them in that time. The work was harder than we could imagine and thrift was a necessity. However, they were not bombarded with technology, activities outside the home, and other things that take us away from being home and doing what needs to be ourselves. Too many people don't take pride in caring for their homes, having a meal on the table, and being content with what they have.

I am not perfect either. My house is a controlled chaos most of the time. But every time I read those books (which is often!), I remember how I want to be and what I want to strive for.

Except for wearing dresses.

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb


Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper's 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness written by Jim Cobb is a comprehensive guide to setting up and organizing your preps, gaining skills, and becoming knowledgable over the course of a year. Jim is a preparedness expert having written five books on the subject of preparedness, writes for Survival Weekly, and is the owner and lead trainer for Disaster Prep Consultants.

What I liked about this book is that Jim broke down what you need to be prepared in an easy-to-follow, weekly plan. He tells you what you should get, what you need, and why. I like that he doesn't tell you why you should prepare, but how you should prepare. I also like and agree with him that prepping takes time. Most people do not have the money or time to be prepared in a month or two.

Being prepared, having the skills, and gathering the goods you need takes time. He also tells you that some of the weeks may take longer than a week to do or to acquire the equipment needed. He is conscious about the fact that not everybody can afford the items he suggests at the time he recommends getting them. He recommends that you put away money every week so that you can afford those items when you find them at a good deal.

What I like the most about this book is that he emphasizes skills and knowledge. Having skills and knowledge will keep you alive longer than just having things.

I feel guilty that I should have had this review out six months ago, but I actually started following the book myself. Jim gave me a few things to think about and exposed some of the holes in my own preps. I also knew that I need to increase the amount of food I needed in storage and started following his recommendations on that too.

I love this book. It will be a permanent fixture in my preparedness library. I will also be giving it out as Christmas presents this year to some people on my list that I know are interested in prepping, but aren't sure where to start. I will also be sure that my kids have a copy when they move out of the house. And I highly recommend this book to all of you!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

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