Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What This Prepper Buys: The $36 Dollar Tree Spree

Dollar Tree is possibly one of my favorite places to purchase prepping supplies for stockpiling. Everything's a dollar or less and we usually find good generic replacements for high dollar goods. While cheap goods is not always a good thing for prepping, sometimes it is a good way to build up your stockpile. If you are conscious about what you are buying and try it out before SHTF happens, you will know if it is a good deal or not.



Everything shown in the picture was $1 each. I spent more than $36 on this trip, but some of the items were for everyday use. I didn't buy anything spectacular. I have a decent basic stockpile and I am adding to it. I am also starting to plug holes in my stockpile and shore up some weak areas.

Let me explain what I purchased this time. I will start with the food items. I bought egg noodles because they figure in my food storage meals like Tuna Noodle Casserole. Lasagna is a popular birthday meal here and I always try to keep those noodles on hand. I bought eight containers of spices and herbs because I never want to run out of seasonings. Coconut oil cooking spray is a necessity in my mind. Seasoned bread crumbs also figure into some of my food storage meals as well as my garden fresh meals. Canned chicken is also considered a necessity in my food storage.

I always pick up those four packs of emergency candles when I can. Candles are not a great source of light, but they will light up a room enough to see and provide comfort.

I am also adding to my first aid stock too from Dollar Tree. I like the smaller packages because they are easier to pack for vehicles and bags. This time I got a couple of bandage wraps for sprains and other injuries. I also got 2x2 gauze pads after using some when I had nose surgery. By the way, they are a perfect size for drip pads under your nose! I also got a pack of 8 mini-size facial tissues for bags and bug-out bags. They are the perfect size in my opinion and light to carry.

I have started buying more of the hand soap refills rather than hand soap dispensers. I got two this time. I have plenty of hand soap dispensers already and I think refilling them is a better answer than keep buying them.

I also bought a fair amount of cleaning supplies this time. I needed more dusting spray and glass cleaner. I try to keep plenty of bathroom cleaner to keep the bathrooms sanitized. I wanted to buy more spray cleaners, but I didn't like their selection today. I have also started to keep more air freshening items on hand too so the house doesn't stink when things are starting too.

I also bought more Krazy glue because I also needed more of it. And really, can you have too much Krazy glue? It can fix and hold together a lot of stuff!

You can build up your stockpile cheaply. You don't have to spend $36 like I did, but $5-10 a week would be doing more than doing nothing. Look at what you need and start stockpiling!

By the way, you can check out my "What This Prepper Buys" here and here

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In October


October is here and so is fall. This is a great time to work outside, take care of any projects you wanted to get done during the summer, and wrap up any loose ends before winter arrives. October is usually pretty mild in Iowa with an occasional snow storm thrown in the last part of the month. I try to get as much done as I can in October because November is fairly unpredictable here.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In October

1. Get the outside of the house, garage, and other outbuildings winterized. Home maintenance is an important part of prepping. Trim bushes away from the buildings. Compost and mulch any garden areas that need it. Seal up any cracks or holes. Get plastic over the windows that leak. Take care of any loose boards. Make sure the doors and windows seal up tight. You know what you need to do. October is a good time to get these things taken care of.

2. Stock up on pasta, rice, and potatoes. I know these are carbs, but they also provide calories and energy when you need it. I like to keep all forms of pasta on hand. I generally only keep brown rice on hand, but white rice does store longer if stored properly. I keep instant mashed potatoes and canned potatoes on hand as well as fresh potatoes. I also keep freeze dried potatoes on hand as well. Just store pasta, rice, and potatoes that yourself and your family will eat. I would like to remind you to keep extra water or broth on hand for cooking pasta and rice.

3. In light of recent events, I urge to add at least three more gallons of water per person in your household this month. If you have pets, add at least three more gallons of water for dogs, one more gallon of water for cats, and one more gallon of water for any other creatures besides livestock. One thing I have read from the recent natural disasters is that people did not have enough water and other liquids stored. Please add to your water storage this month!

4. Time to clean out your vehicles and switch over your emergency kits to winter supplies. Time to take out the sunscreen, insect repellent, and anything that can freeze. Time to add gloves, hats, scarves, and extra coats and blankets. There are several good lists about what to keep in your car during the winter, but this list is probably my favorite by The Homesteading Hippy.

5. Take stock of your own home winter emergency supplies and fill in the holes. We don't always realize how much stuff gets used throughout the year and what may need to be replaced. How is your unscented long lasting candle situation? I would check them to make sure you have enough and they didn't melt last summer. How are your C and D cell batteries? Most radios and heavy duty flashlights take them. How is your ready to eat food situation? Can you make it a week on just that food alone? How is your water storage? Do you have enough to drink, flush the toilets, and do any emergency washing?  There is a lot more things to think about, but these things would be at the top of my list in an emergency!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Preserving The Bounty: How To Freeze Sweet Corn


One of my favorite ways to deal with my garden bounty is to can it. I love canning! However, when I am putting up sweet corn, I like to freeze it. Freezing sweet corn is so easy. Let me walk you through it!

How To Freeze Sweet Corn:




1.Pick and husk your sweet corn. Make sure you have as much of the silks cleaned up as possible.

I tend towards picking and freezing mine in smaller batches because of my time constraints. If you want to do a lot all at once, go for it!

2. Fill your stockpot about 2/3s full with water and set it to boil.


3. In the meantime, fill your sink or a big bowl with really cold water and add a significant amount of ice to it.


4. Once the water is boiling, you will be blanching your sweet corn. I do this with the cob still on the cob because I find it easier to deal with that way. Boil the sweet corn for three minutes and immediately put the sweet corn in the ice water to cool quickly. I leave the corn in the ice water for 1-2 minutes. You will have to do the corn in batches. Doing the corn all at once will result in unevenly cooked corn.


5. Remove the corn from the ice water and let drain on a pan or towel.

6. After you have all the sweet corn blanched, you can start cutting it off the cob. I use my biggest baking sheet pan with sides to do this. Starting at the top of the cob, I slice down the cob using a slightly serrated knife.

The aftermath plus some seedy summer squash. The chicken were grateful!

7. After I get through all the sweet corn or have the pan full, I start filling freezer bags. Sometimes I just use zippered freezer bags and sometimes I use my Food Saver. Just depends on what I have for bags. I like to put 2-3 cups in each quart size bag because that is perfect for my family. If you have a large family, you might want to put more in a quart size bag or use a gallon size bag!


8. You should label each bag with "Sweet Corn 2017" or whatever year it is when you read this! Trust me on the labeling. I used to be a lazy labeler, but that hasn't worked out so well for me!

9. Put the bagged and sealed sweet corn in the freezer. This will be delicious in the winter!

I know some people put sugar or salt in their water when they cook sweet corn. That is a personal preference and I don't personally do it. If you want to, do it. It will not negatively affect the flavor of the sweet corn.

That's it. Easy peasy! Have fun and let me know if you have tricks or tips to freezing sweet corn!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Have An Overwhelming Urge To Prep? Here Are 25 Things To Do Now!


Some people are now finding an overwhelming urge to prep and/or prep harder. Whether it is world events or personal crisis driving that urge to prep, they just feel this need to prep or to get their preps in order.

This is not a bad thing! While some preppers will caution you against panic prepping, getting yourself and your family prepared for the next crisis is a good thing. In fact, you should take advantage of this urge to prep!

Some preppers, myself included, are feeling a need to get their preps in order and make certain we have enough water and food to last a while. I certainly don't have a good feeling right now about world events and that has made me look at what I need to do too.

So what can you do to take advantage of this urge to prep?

1. Get your water situation in order. Make sure you have enough drinkable water for at least two weeks, but a month would be better. They say a gallon of drinkable water per person per day. I stock up on the gallon size jugs and 24 pack cases of bottled water.

2. In addition to your water situation, keep some bottles of juice, tea, soda, and other drinks on hand. You can also stock up on powdered drinks to add to water. Water gets boring after awhile and having something to break up the water monotony will certainly keep the loved ones from getting crabby (hopefully)! Just be aware if you stock up on powdered drinks, that you might need more water to have with those.

3. Stock up on easy to eat food. If you lose power for any period of extended time, you will want food you can open, eat unheated, and be filling. That means having a healthy supply of canned vegetables, fruits, ready to eat soups, meats, and prepackaged meals (canned spaghetti, ravioli, etc.). You will want crackers, granola bars, cold cereal, muffins, survival bars, protein bars, and anything else you can eat without heating it up. I know most of you will have access to a grill, camp stove, volcano stove, and other methods to cook food, but you may not be able to go outside either. Again, I would have enough for at least two weeks, but a month would be better.

4. Buy a manual can opener. Scratch that, buy at least three manual can openers. Just in case one breaks or is misplaced. In addition to that, buy a bottle opener too. They also come in handy to open canning lids.

5. Buy trash bags. You will want the small kitchen size, the 13 gallon size, and the large black (33 gallon) ones. You may need the small ones for bathroom using purposes and to take the trash out every day to keep the home sanitary. The other sizes are just handy to have for all purposes.

6. Buy paper plates, cups, bowls, napkins, and towels. Buy plastic cutlery. You may not have a way to wash dishes. You will want something you can eat off of and throw away/burn easily.

7. Buy toilet paper. You really can't have too much of this stuff. You will always use it.

8. Buy a few more five gallon buckets. You can store water in them, use one as a toilet, wash laundry with a plunger in it, use to clean, and much, much more. Having a good supply (10-20?) of five gallon buckets will help tremendously.

9. Stock up your pets' and livestock food and water. You don't really want them to go hungry or struggle to feed them from your supply! We keep our dog food and chicken feed in steel trash cans with a tight fitting lid to keep the critters out of it and keep it fresher. We keep the cat food in five gallon buckets with a tight fitting lid for the same purposes.

10. Buy some more ammo and practice shooting more. Having a little more ammunition on hand will only help your cause. In times of crisis, you never know who might show up at your house. Ammo is also a good bartering item if you need to use it that way. Practicing your shooting will only help you feel better about your skills and gain confidence in using your gun of choice.


11. Have a way to cook outside the home? Whether you use your grill, camp stove, volcano or rocket stove, a campfire, and more, you need to find ways to cook food in case of no power or limited power. If you are using any of those methods, you need to keep your propane tanks filled and firewood stocked. You would not be out of line if you got more propane tanks (1, 5, 10, 20, or 30 pound) and/or had a very healthy stock of firewood and charcoal. Don't forget to get some matches and lighters too!

12. How are you going to see in the dark? Stock up on candles, flashlights, lanterns, lantern oil, matches, lighters, wicks, a few candleholders, and batteries.

13. Get your bug out bags and 72 hour kit ready to go. You may not be able to stay where you are and you will need to leave quickly. Having these ready to go will be a time saver and possibly a life saver!


14. Buy some external battery chargers, battery packs, and solar chargers for your cell phones. I know the other devices can be important, but having a working and charged cell phone can be a life saver and a game changer. Keep these things charged at all times for emergencies. Some of you might say that in certain situations a cell phone will be worthless, but I don't really want to take that chance. I would rather have one charged and ready to go than to be stranded without a way to communicate or get warnings.

15. Have things to entertain yourself and your kids. You should have a healthy supply of books, games, puzzles, craft projects, word searches, workbooks, and other toys to keep everyone from killing each other. If it is just adults, most of that stuff is still good to have on hand. If you like to knit, crochet, and do needlework, have some projects on hand to work on. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this stuff. The thrift stores are usually well-stocked on these things.

16. Consider your personal needs. Keep plenty of baby wipes, body wipes, toilet wipes, hand sanitizer, sanitary items for women, deodorant, baby powder, foot powder/spray, and whatnot on hand for times when the power is out. Other people's body odor can really be a bad thing. Being unsanitary can cause illnesses. Staying clean as possible will help you feel better.

17. Check the first aid kit and get it stocked up! Bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape, adhesive bandages, and more are all things you do not want to run out of. You can make your own first aid kit or buy one, but make sure it is ready to go at any notice. I would keep a really good one in the house and shop. I would also keep them in the cars just in case you need backup in the house.


18. Check your over the counter medications. If you are fond of taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen now, you don't really want to run out during a crisis. I would make sure to have multiple bottles of those pain relievers. I would also have on hand cold medicines, cough syrups, acid reducer medicines, multivitamins, Vitamins C & D, and any supplements or other medicines you take on a regular basis. Research and start practicing natural remedies too.

19. Keep up on laundry, dishes, and anything that takes water. If you lose power for an extended period of time, the last thing you want to worry about is how to do dishes and laundry without running water. Make sure the dishes are done every day and the laundry is done at least 2-3 times a week.


20. Get your plans in place. What will you do if you are at home and need to leave? What if the kids are at school? What if you are at work?  How will you get home and how many ways can you find to get home? What will you do if you are at home? What if you are stranded in another town or at another relatives' house? Play all the scenarios you can think of in your head and make a plan on paper for them. Memorize those plans and make sure your family knows them too. Then practice, practice, practice those plans.

21. Do you have addictions? How will you cope? Whether it is to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, social media, and more, you will need to figure out if you can quit cold turkey, deal with the withdrawal, or have a plan in place to slowly wean yourself off these things. Ideally, now would be a good time to quit or at least cut back, but that is your personal decision. Just be aware that you may not have access to those things and will need to live without them.


22. Do you have a way to heat your home without power? If you don't, now would be a good time to figure out how you are going to deal with the cold. There are many ways to keep yourself warm, but finding a heater that works indoors without electricity would be ideal. If you can do a propane fireplace, that would be good. If you can do a woodstove, get one installed. Just make sure you have a way to stay warm. Also, have a battery powered carbon monoxide detector and extra batteries. No one wants to die that way.

23. Go for a walk. Get some exercise. Work out and get your body in shape. Whatever you need to do to handle the physical demands that a disaster or crisis may require of you. There are plenty of armchair preppers, but being in shape will give you the advantage. You will feel better, have a clearer head, resist illness, and be able to handle the stress better.


24. Practice living without electricity and running water. Spend a day doing that will be a big eye-opener to you and your family. One day will not compare with being without power for a week or longer, but you will have an understanding of what you need to do to be prepared.


25. Do you have a baby? Someone with special needs? An elderly person living with you? What special considerations do you need to make for them? Do you have extra diapers, wipes, and formula? Do you need to deal with oxygen tanks? Write down everything they need in a day and a week and figure out how you will deal with those things. Having a plan and being prepared now may mean the difference between life and death later.

Some of these things will be easy to do and easy to implement. Some of these things are harder and will take time to practice and implement. Some of these things will cost money and some are free. Some of these things involve self-improvement which is part of prepping too. Most of these ideas involve living without electricity and running water which will be a big problem for most people.

If you are getting started in prepping, these things are key for getting started. If you have been prepping for awhile, you should take the time to review these things and find your holes. You may think you are totally prepared, but there is no room for arrogance in prepping.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, August 4, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In August


There is so much you can do in August! Summer is still here, the weather is mostly nice and hot, and the days are still long. People's gardens are producing like crazy and the farmers' markets are overloaded with the garden goodness. Kids are getting ready to go back to school if they haven't gone back already.

We still have plenty to do though with prepping. Prepping shouldn't ever stop. I am half way through Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles. Talk about an eye opener! This is a fictional novel, but that shouldn't stop you from reading it. The scenarios presented in this book so far are very realistic and has made me think about a few things in a new light.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In August: 

1. Time to stock up on office supplies. Back to school sales are going on right now. I like to get stocked up on reams of printer paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, printer ink, and flash drives/memory cards/SD cards. This is also a great time to replace printers and/or laptops because they are marked down almost as well as on Black Friday sales. You can also find good quality backpacks for bugout bags, get home bags, and everyday carry bags.

I justify stocking up on office supplies as prepping because I will still need these things if I still have access to power and WI-FI. Most of my work can be done on a computer and I need these things to keep up with business. If the grid is down, I will be back to doing a lot on paper.

2. If you haven't learned how to can food yet, you need to learn this month. If you are starting from scratch, I have a very good blog post about what you need to start canning. Whether you planted a garden, got produce from a friend, or went to the farmers' market, now is a good time to learn. You can start with something easy like canning green beans or using Mrs. Wages packets to make salsa and pizza sauce. You do not have to start our canning anything complicated. I try to only can food that my family will eat. Even I have had some hits and misses. However, in my opinion, canning is one of the top ten skills you need to learn for homesteading and prepping.


3. Whether you are canning your own fruits and vegetables or need to buy them, this would be a good month to get stocked up on cans of fruits and vegetables. If you think you have a good supply, now would be a good time to inventory your fruits and vegetables stockpile. Take note of what needs to be eaten up and what needs replacing or replenishing. I would pay special attention to anything tomato based. I have come across a bulging can or two in the last year and eating those are a definite no-no due to botulism.

Even if you think you have a good supply of canned fruits and vegetables, I would still add more. I would try to buy these by the 12 packs if you can. Being in flats makes the canned goods easier to stack and store. Aldis is a good place to buy canned fruits and vegetables by the flat or case if you cannot can your own.

4. Now is also a good time to get your important documents and pictures onto a flash drive. This flash drive may save you a good deal of headache and time when you lose those important documents or insurance cards. I would scan them into the computer and save them to the flash drive. If you have this done, you may want to update the information if you need to.You may want to do this twice and keep one on you and one in the safe. I would also take pictures of your vehicles, license plates, recreational vehicles and plates, VIN numbers from those things, and upload them to the flash drive. You never know what you may need to report to the insurance company and have replaced. I would also do this for anything valuable in your home. You can also take a video of each room and upload it to the flash drive also.


Do not forget about your kids' valuable information. If they have state provided IDs or driver's licenses, get those uploaded. Our school sends us a Student ID card with their school picture on it and I would also scan that on to the flash drive. Any birth certificates, social security cards, life insurance policies, passports, and even important medical documents should be on this flash drive.

5. Time to check your everyday carry. Do you have an everyday carry? This is what you carry in your pockets and purse. These are the things that you will need if there is an emergency or you may need to defend yourself in some way. These are the things you cannot and should not live without. I keep a lot of things in my everyday carry, but I noticed the other day that my everyday carry bag needs updating and possibly some rethinking about what I want to carry. You should do this every so often just to keep what you have on hand fresh in your mind. While you are at it, if you carry an everyday carry bag, clean it up and organize it too.

Some additional things to do in August:
1. Check your planting zone. If you can, plant some more things in your garden. We have a second planting of peas right now and I hope to add beets and carrots to the garden soon. If you use hoop houses or cold frames, you can plant more and really extend the life of your garden. 
2. Now is a good time to order strawberries, blueberries, and garlic to plant in the fall. When they come in, plant them right away and water often and well. You will have a great crop of strawberries and garlic next summer.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Clean Out Your Freezers With Me In August!


I declare August as National Clean Out Your Freezer(s) Month.

Why? The reasons are endless...

  • School is starting soon for us and may have already started for you.
  • Summer bounty is flowing in from the garden.
  • There may still be meals in the freezer from last year's freezer cooking binge.
  • There may be meat from 2014 in the bottom of the freezer.
  • There may be frozen vegetables and fruits from 2012.
  • You may have a storage shortage in the freezer.
  • You may have to get really creative in order to put even more in the freezer!
  • You may have leftovers from two Christmases ago still frozen in your favorite containers...

Most of those, if not all, are a true story in this house! I bet they are true for your house too, but I will not point any fingers. I have a full-size chest freezer as well as the freezer in my refrigerator. I am going to concentrate mainly on the chest freezer, but the other freezer will be looked at too.

No matter if you are a prepper or a homesteader, this needs to be done. You need to keep rotating your stock or you might lose it to freezer burn or worse. You have to make room for any garden produce you might freeze. If you are into frugal living or sustainability, food waste is your enemy. Losing food to sheer negligence or lack of organization is a detriment to everything you are trying to attain. 



How should we go about cleaning out the freezers? However works best for you.

I would recommend doing an inventory of all the contents of your freezer and using up the oldest food first. If some of that food is badly or obviously freezer burnt, pitch it or feed it to the chickens if the food is safe for them. You don't need to eat bad freezer-burnt food for the sake of saving money - trust me, I have done that and it wasn't pleasant!

If you want to put the freezer inventory on a spreadsheet, I would recommend this one from Lesa at Better Hens and Gardens. If you want to do just printable freezer inventory sheets, I really like the printable from Fun, Cheap or Free. She also gives great tips!

Now I am one of "those people" who think food that frozen and still looks good is edible. I don't take much stock in dates on frozen food. However, for this freezer cleanout, you should probably eat the oldest food first due to making room for new and better tasting food.

Now, if being this organized makes you twitch, you can do a simpler method(s) that I have also used myself. You can work from right to left/left to right in the freezer. You can just grab a basket, find the oldest food, put that food in the basket, and vow to eat that up first. You can just open the freezer, grab the first thing you see, and make something with it. You can do whatever floats your boat in this challenge.



At the end of month, when you have eaten down your freezers, you should probably spend some time on Labor Day weekend or before cleaning and defrosting your freezers. Goodness knows they will need it! You will be able to see how gross they have probably become!

For this to be fun for everyone and to follow me while I do this, you can follow me on Instagram where I will post regular pictures of what the freezer looks like and what we are eating. You can also follow me on Facebook where I will also post pictures and encouragement for you all.

Please join me in this Freezer Cleanout Challenge! I would love to see what you are all doing as well! You can tag me by using the hashtag #lifeinruraliowafreezerchallenge. If you all use the hashtag, you should be able to see what each other is doing too! We can encourage each other!

Let me know in the comments if you are joining and what you want to accomplish in this challenge!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In July


July is the time of the year that flies by so quickly. There is never enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. The weather is hot and very humid (at least in Iowa it is!). The garden is growing like crazy. The grass and the weeds are either having a competition to see who can grow the fastest or the grass is burnt up and the weeds still need to be mowed.

For July's prepping accomplishments, I tried to keep the list easy to do since this is a busy time of the year! Some people might find some of these things a challenge and that is good.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in July:

1. Make a meal list using only food storage foods. I am including everything in the food storage. However, I am going to make two lists. One list will involve the refrigerator and freezer foods because, in some instances, you will still have access to those foods. If you lose power, those foods need to be eaten first. My second list will only include foods that are shelf stable. Those meals will come from canned food, commercially canned food, food buckets, freeze dried food, and whatever else doesn't involve a refrigerator/freezer. In this list, I will also make a note if the recipe needs additional liquids like water, broth, and juice so I can be sure to have plenty on hand.

2. This month I am focusing on stocking up on breakfast foods for my food storage. I want to make sure I have a good supply of oats (steel cut, rolled, and quick), cereal, granola ingredients, granola bars. oatmeal packets, powdered eggs, pancake/waffle mix, and whatever else we like to eat for breakfast. Your breakfast stock up will depend on what your family likes to eat for breakfast. I am including quick grab and go breakfast foods as well as homemade breakfasts because you do not know what you will need and if you have the means to make a from scratch breakfast.

3. Find three ways to disconnect from the grid this month. Electric bills in July can be horrible because of so many people using air conditioning. This drives up the on-peak demand usage which gives you a higher bill. Nevermind, the additional stress on the grid which can cause blackouts and brown outs. Find a few ways to disconnect from the grid. You can used propane powered items like a smoker or the grill to cook your meals. I have done enchiladas and casseroles on the grill just to keep the heat out of the house. Make your own solar oven to bake bread in. Use your solar chargers to charge your electronics. Dry your clothes outside. Do what you can to use less electricity and practice being off grid however you can.

4. Buy some extra gas cans and stockpile fuel. Buying your gas cans now will save you later when a crisis happens and everyone wants them. I would buy at least 2-3 each for gasoline and diesel. If you don't have anything that runs on diesel, you can skip that. I would fill them with unleaded gasoline if you can find it. We can still get 91 gas as opposed to 87 which contains more ethanol. Gas with ethanol goes stale quicker than unleaded gas does. You can add something like StaBil in the gas to make it last longer.

I would also stock up on propane, butane, and kerosene if you have items that use those fuels. You can buy propane cylinders in 20# and 30# that will work with majority of space heaters and grills. If you are not sure, ask your local propane serviceperson. They will be able to help you. We keep 3-4 20# propane cylinders for our grill and heaters. For kerosene and butane, buy an extra few gallons depending on what you use and your storage capabilities.

5. Time to take a good look at your vehicle. Is it ready for emergencies? Is it well-maintained? Does it need something fixed? How are the tires and brakes? Now is a good time while the weather is nice to give your car a thorough cleaning and restocking. Organize your emergency supplies so you can find what you need without tearing the car apart. Fix the broken lights and make sure all the rest of the car is in good condition.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, June 5, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in June


Summer is here! I find that prepping in the Summer is so much easier than any time of the year. While we do have to worry about storms and the "gentle" breezes that try to blow us down, we have decent weather that makes us want to be outside.

June is a good month to get things done. You can do so much outside! Your time should be more available unless you have kids in a hundred activities. Then you need to do your best to fit this in!

Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in June:

1. Fire starting skills. Most people have access to a fire pit whether it is fancy or just a hole in the ground. Otherwise, you can use a camp site, charcoal grill, or a spot in the yard you don't mind being torched. Now is a good time to work on your fire starting skills. While lighters and matches are awesome at starting fires, it is good to know how to use a striker and a flint and/or a magnesium stick. Research different ways to build a fire and start a fire. Then practice, practice, practice. This is one skill that will not let you down.

2. Freeze dried foods. Freeze dried foods are a great addition to any food storage. If you are unsure about them, many companies have small cans for you to experiment with. I personally think freeze dried fruits are pretty tasty right out of the can. I believe in a diversive food storage and pantry. Freeze dried foods do have a shelf life, but can last a lot longer than some canned foods. You will not be disappointed in having these in your food storage.

3. Get your eyes checked. One of the things that would be absolutely devastating to any prepper is the loss of your vision. Getting our eyes checked is not very high on anyone's list, but I would rather be looking through a good pair of eye glasses than wondering if that was an animal or small child coming at me while holding a gun. I have put this off for a few years too, but this is a definite must on my list this month. I know some of us are vain enough to not want to wear glasses, but your eye doctor might have some other options for you like contacts or corrective laser surgery.

4. Purchase and/or gather your personal safety equipment. We have talked about first aid in the past, but a critical component of first aid is preventing injuries in the first place. Having safety glasses, dust masks, gloves, hearing protection, arm protectors, and more will protect you from a serious injury. In a crisis situation, being protected from injuries can mean the difference between life and death. If you already have this equipment, please put in a clear tote by the tools you need to use it with so you remember to use it!


5. Get your death plan figured out and in place. You might think this is a morbid thing to do, but you need to have a plan for deaths in a crisis situation. Will you bury them in the yard, attempt cremation, or what? If you have a prepping group, what are the final wishes of the members of your group? Will you make coffins or bury in body bags/old sheets and plastic? Does your people want to prolong life if they know they are dying? What kind of end of life care will you provide? This is a lot of mind searching things to think about, but this information is vital to have on hand, printed out, and put in an important place.


Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, May 1, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In May


When May comes around every year, I get excited. I like warmer weather. Nicer weather motivates me to get more done. I can usually start planting my garden in May because the ground has warmed up enough to not kill the plants or seeds. I can clean up the yard, give the house a good cleaning, open the windows for a good airing out, and generally be excited to get projects done.

While this list does not have a lot to do with being outside (except for planting new things!), you always need to work on your prepping plans, your skills, and your food storage. I even encourage you to gather more information. Have fun and let me know what you got accomplished in May.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in May:

1. Plant edible perennials in your garden or create a separate place for them. By planting perennials, you have created a continuous food source for yourself and your family. Most edible perennials require little care once they are established. Blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, and asparagus are all good examples of perennials that can yield you a lot of food to eat and preserve.

2. Take stock of your seasonings and spices in your pantry and food storage. How is your salt supply? What seasonings and spices do you use the most? How is your stockpile of them? At our house, we simply cannot overstock on garlic salt. We use it more than regular salt. This would be a good month to take inventory of seasonings and spices. You can add more of what you need and use. I suggest adding a 3-4 containers of salt, 2-3 containers of black pepper, and several containers of the seasonings/spices you normally use.

3. Add to your reference library. Back in January, I suggested reading some good books on prepping. I also believe that you should have a good reference library in your own home. You might not have access to the local library or the internet when you need information on how to make something or fix something. I would suggest books on first-aid/medical, canning, gardening, off-grid living, reference manuals, how-to-fix manuals, and anything else you think you might need information for to live day to day and solve problems. Thrift stores and garage sales are good places to pick up books cheaply.

4. Learn how to mend clothing and other fabric items by hand. A needle, thread, and scissors are all you generally need to sew a button back on, fix a ripped seam, or close up a small hole. This is not just a frugality thing. In a case of SHTF, you will need clothes to last longer than usual. Mending a small problem by hand now will save the item from a bigger repair. If you already know how to do this, expand your skills to neatly patching clothes and learning how to darn a sock.

5. Have a plan in place to deal with sanitation in the case of a disaster or crisis. In case of a SHTF, sanitation will be a huge issue. Some of that issue may depend on whether you have electricity or not. If you are able to flush toilets, great! Otherwise, you need to have a plan in place to deal with bodily waste like a makeshift toilet or an outhouse. You will also need a plan in place if you have no garbage service due to a SHTF. What will you do with the garbage from your home? You can burn it, bury it, compost it, and/or reuse it if possible. Some of this will depend on where you live as to what you can do, but you still need to have a plan in place.

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


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In February


February can be the most boring month of the year. You are still cooped up in the house. The snow and ice are still making their appearance. Valentine's Day is still a holiday. You know blah, blah, blah.

In other words, February is a prime month for cabin fever!

As usual, though, I am here for you! I have five prepping things to do in February that will definitely help your preps as well as give you a piece of mind. I did concentrate on the letter "F" for things to do. All these things are easy things to do, should be done with your family, and can easily be accomplished this month. 

1. First Aid. How is your First Aid Kit? How are your First Aid supplies? I discovered one day last month that I was out of several types of Band-Aids. I found out when I sliced open the top of my finger. Not a great time to find out, by the way. I made due with what I had, but definitely put those things on my next shopping list. 

2. Clean Out and Organize One Area of Food Storage. Some of you are super highly organized and have your food storage organized to perfection. Then there is the rest of us. However, we all still need to look at our food storage. Is there one area of your food storage that needs to be eaten up a little? Or beefed up a lot? Do you have more expired canned goods that you thought you did? Have you even touched what you canned last summer? 

Now is a good time to address these areas. Too much of one thing can be incorporated into the meal plan. Expired goods should be too. I know I mentioned doing this in January, but February is also a good month to do this. 

3. Finding and Identifying Sources of Water Near You. This is good project to do now because you can access topographic maps of your land or township online for free. You can identify sources of water near you in case you need it. No water near you? Now is also a good time to plan a rain catchment system for your home and/or buildings. Also you might want to plan a way to get water to you if needed and ways to store that water. 

4. Find a Hidden Storage Space in Your Home For Your Preps. We all have empty spaces that can be used for storing preps. Some of you are tight on room and I understand that. However, look at putting totes under the bed, cleaning out a closet that might be full of stuff you will never use again, an empty cabinet, behind the couch, and even using a dresser. We all have places and spaces we can store more prepping stuff and perhaps a bit more discreetly.

5. Figure Out What You Are Planting in the Garden. Have you started getting gardening and seed catalogs? Now is good time to plan what to plant! What worked for you last year? What didn't you eat? What should you have planted last year? All these questions will help you plan for this year.

And...depending on your zone, you may be able to start seeds inside! Yeah!

If you are an apartment, condo, or duplex dweller, a garden may not be possible. However, if you can have some containers outside your door or on your patio, you can still have fresh vegetables! Knowing how to grow food is so important and I would encourage you to find a way to do so no matter your circumstance.

I hope you can accomplish these things in February! Let me know how you did! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In January


January can be a slow month in the prepping world. The weather is usually less than ideal to be outside. The desire to work on the New Year's resolutions is strong and you need to take advantage of that! Did you make any prepping goals for the year?

I didn't, but I have a list of things that I want to accomplish. I thought I would share a monthly list of prepping things you can do in January to get the year kicked off right.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In January:

1. Start working out. You want to be inside anyway so it is time to get moving. Join a gym, get out those exercise videos, find an exercise video on YouTube, and/or find a workout you enjoy. You can also go outside and get a brisk walk in. Just get moving! Prepping does involve your physical health and now is the time to take care of it!

If you are afraid you can't stick with an exercise plan, set up an alarm in your phone to remind you. Also remember, it takes 21 days of practice to make a habit stick. Nothing is different for keeping in shape.

2. Since winter is a good time for soups and casseroles, now is a good time to clean out the food storage. Find the out of date and soon to expire foods in your food storage. You can set them in a basket or on a special shelf so you remember to get them used up! Make these foods apart of your menu plan in January and February if need be.

3. Make out a list of projects you want to accomplish this year and set up a timeline for getting them done. I have a lot of indoor projects to do and I set up a plan to get 1-2 of them done a month. I already started with getting an indoor bedroom painted and stripping the floor. In prepping, keeping your home in good shape is very important especially if you want to bug in instead of bug out.

4. Start a home emergency cash fund. Having a stash of cash at home is very important in case debit/credit cards don't work. It also comes in handy if you need to pay someone at the door. I recommend having a variety of denominations in dollars and a jar of change.

5. Read some good prepping books. I like to curl up with a good book and now is good time to learn more about prepping. Whether you are looking to learn more about food storage, water needs, or survival living, now is good time to glean some knowledge.  I recommend these books:


It is a very simple list and I think you can get it done! Let me know what you did and what you got accomplished!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's National Preparedness Month! What You Should Do To Celebrate!


National Preparedness Month is a very important month in any prepper's year! Many of the preparedness supply companies run great sales. Many of the prepping sites offer a lot of great advice. FEMA and Red Cross even get in on the action. 

National Preparedness Month is a great time to remind the non-preppers to get a few emergency supplies. You can show them the information that the Red Cross even recommends having 3-14 days worth of supplies on hand. FEMA has on their website that this week is Preparing Family and Friends by making emergency plans. Sometimes non-preppers need evidence that other agencies recommend being prepared. 

You should take inventory of your own preparedness supplies. Is everything still working? Do batteries need to be replaced? Is the food still good or expired? Is your 72 hour kit still relevant or does it need updating? I wrote earlier this year about a checklist for the long-term prepper. It would be a good list for you to go over your preps with! 

Are you talking to your neighbors, family, and friends about prepping? This month is a great time to get started! You might be able to get a good group of trusted people together in case of an emergency or disaster. You might find out your neighbor is just as much of a prepper as you are! You might be able to open someone else's eyes about getting ready their own SHTF situation. Now is the time to address these things.

In the past, I have participated with other bloggers in the 30 Days of Preparedness Round-Up to celebrate National Preparedness Month. Their articles are still very relevant today and are a great read! 



Food Storage

Self-Reliance

72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags

Preparedness




Day 1 - Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama 
Day 2 - The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 - I'm Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 - Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 - Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 - The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 - It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 - It's a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 - Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 - The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 - The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 - Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 - How We Choose The Right Gear - (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 - Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 - Food and Water for a 72 Hour "Go Bag" from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 - 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 - Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 - Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 - Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 - Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 - Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 - KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 - Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 - Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 - How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 - How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 - Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 - What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 - How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness


I hope this helps you to get more prepared during National Preparedness Month and all year round! Celebrate by getting your family and friends ready for anything that may happen! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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