Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts

Monday, April 3, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In April


April is a great time to really kick your prepping into gear. Besides the rain, the weather is warm enough to actually want to be outside. April is a great month to make lists and you will see that on at least two of the items this month. I am a big believer in making lists so I can prioritize what needs to be done or bought. By making these lists, you will be able to plan out your Spring and Summer. 

1. Walk around your house and your yard. Make a list of anything that needs to be repaired, replaced, or maintained. Prioritize the list and get cracking on the projects. If something bad happens, you don't want to have to worry about regular house maintenance.

2. Add meat (proteins) to your food storage. One of the most overlooked areas of food storage is meat. I know beans can provide protein also, but I believe meat is a better solution. I am not saying to not stock up on beans, but meat is also crucial. Buy several cans of canned chicken, turkey, and ham. Buy corned beef in a can and, if you can stomach it, Spam. Better yet, get your pressure canner out and can your meat!

3. Garage sales are getting started this month (at least in the Midwest). It is always great to save money on your preps and a lot of times used things are just as good as new. Make a list of what you want to add to your preps, get some cash, and start the hunt! I have found a good deal of my tools and my preps from garage sales. If you have kids, add their future needs to the list too. Being prepared for their next size and the next season may definitely be a game changer in the case of job loss or financial collapse.

4. Earth Day is in April. Celebrate by planting some trees for privacy and some edible perennials for a continuous food source. A lot of renewable, reusable, and kinder to the environment products will be on sale too. Consider adding stainless steel water bottles to your preps as well as solar chargers for devices and phones.

5. Protecting your home is a must. Do you have a plan to protect your home in case of an invasion or just an unwanted visitor? Come up with a plan, practice that plan, and refine the plan. If you aren't already doing this, lock up your house every time you leave. Teach your family to do the same. If you are afraid of them losing the key, keep one hidden somewhere. Teach your family to not allow strangers in the house unless you approve of them first (ex. repairmen). The list goes on, but keeping your home safe is a must!

What prepping things do you hope to accomplish in April?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, March 30, 2017

What Is Motivating Me To Prep Now? A Story of Losing Interest and Getting My Prepping Mojo Back!


I have a renewed interest in prepping.

But, Erica, I thought you were a prepper!

I was. I still am. But, for the last four months or so, I quit actively prepping. I did talk about it in one of my YouTube videos, but I was trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do. I didn't know what exactly to stockpile anymore. I didn't know which direction to take. I didn't know how exactly to take care of my family near and far. 

That happens. Preppers sometimes need a break. They lose interest a little bit. They get burned out. Family and job situations change. They need to reassess their situation. They move to a different area. The reasons are usually personal.

Sometimes those reasons aren't always personal. They look at the big picture and feel some security in the world. They thought there might be a war or crisis in their area or country and now the threat is gone. They liked the people in power and felt comfortable with the direction of the country. They didn't feel the need to prep anymore.

I admit I was caught up a bit in the election and post-election. I didn't care for any of the candidates, but I chose the one who was most aligned with my views on several issues. After the election, I thought with this guy in power, maybe America can be strong country again. He is a strong leader and businessman. He is making mistakes and learning the job, but he is going to have a rough time of being President.

However, he is not the reason for my renewed interest in prepping. The government is. In particular, Congress is. Our Congress (both houses) are going to be the ones that take down our country. They are just a bunch of power hungry, power drunk elected people who don't give a damn about the American people. Their carelessness, lack of empathy, and selfishness is a detriment to our government and to us. A few of them are in touch with their constituents and know what is going on. Most of them don't care. Quite a few of them are so out of touch with the reality of living and earning a living in America. 

They are one of the main reasons I prep now. Every day, the news and social media is plastered with their ineptness. They do not know what is best for our country. They just know who and what is going to line their pockets and that is who they serve. Do you think they care about you? Only during election time do they care. 

I have become so jaded about our country and political system. I was brought up to respect our President and I do. I was brought up to respect our country, flag, and the people who have fought and continue to fight for us. They have my utmost respect. 

However, I have lost respect for our governing leaders. I have become disgusted with the multitude of laws and bureaucracy that have entangled our services and our ways of life. The tickle down effect from Congress has infiltrated our state, county, and city governments. Just because you own property and pay property taxes (legal theft) doesn't mean you have the right to do as you please on your own property. That is wrong, folks.

That is why I prep now. This whole system(s) of government are going to implode sooner than later. What we have is not sustainable. The whole system(s) need an overhaul and that will also hurt a lot of people. In the process of imploding and overhauling, we will all be left to fend for ourselves. Worse, we might all be under martial law. 

We need to prep now more than ever. We need to be ready to defend ourselves and our loved ones. We need to be able to stay home for several days and feed ourselves. We need to be less dependent on the government and more independent. We need to do and care for ourselves. 

If more people were less dependent on the government and more dependent on ourselves, the government would be less effective. In the culture we live in now though, that might be hard to do. So many people find it easier to depend on the government than to truly work for what they need. Instead of being independent, they want someone else to take care of them. 

I prep so I don't find myself in that situation. When the government decides to implode, I won't be one of those who will be lost and destitute. Although those people will be a threat and a dangerous one at that. Mothers who have hungry children will definitely be a threat and a danger. They might even cause martial law because of their desperation. 

Does our government cause you worry? Does our country give you sleepless nights? What has gotten you back into prepping? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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



Friday, February 10, 2017

10 Lessons Learned From The Victorians, The Pioneers, and The 1800's


The Victorian age in Britain was a fascinating time. Many changes were made from the beginning of the century to the end. Britain experienced a massive industrial upheaval becoming more mechanized and more advanced as the century went on.

In the United States, we went through many upheavals resulting in the Industrial Age at the end of the century. We were exploring the West as pioneers, experiencing mass immigration from other countries, went through the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Spanish American War.

Many similarities were experienced between both countries.The daily life of people were essentially the same. A lot of people nowadays think they want to go back to this time, but they don't always realize the work that was involved.

I just got done reading How To Be A Victorian: A Dawn-To-Dusk Guide To Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman. What an eye opening book! I also have read a lot of pioneer books, industrial age books, and immigrant life in America books from the same time period as Ms. Goodman's book.

We do not realize how good we have it and how hard our lives would be if we had to go back to those times. I am focusing on the poor mostly in these lessons because most of us would be considered poor then. We would be working in factories, mines, or farms. We would be living in tenements, small houses, or in one rented room. We would have a lot to learn. 

10 Lessons Learned From The Victorians, The Pioneers, and The 1800s

1. Life was hard unless you were rich. Everyone including the children had to work. Money was scarce, food was expensive, and city living was not cheap. Working conditions were often dangerous and harsh. Many people worked 12-14 hours a day, six days a week. Chores were often back-breaking and labor-intensive.

2. Everyone was expected to contribute including the children. Everyone had to work including the children. Without the children working, families often could not afford rent and food. By the end of the 19th century, goods became cheaper as the ability to transport them became easier.

3. Being a stay at home mother was rare. You hear more about stay at home mothers from pioneers and the well-off families. However, with the poor, the immigrants, and the servants, mothers needed to work as soon as they could. There are testimonials of women bringing their babies to work with them or leaving them home with older children.

4. Medical science was far from good and reliable. People often died from diseases like cholera, diphtheria, typhoid fever, small pox, etc. People often died from the so-called cures too. Anyone could make a "cure" and sell it from door-to-door. These cures may contain laudanum, cocaine, opium, mercury, and other dangerous substances. Although medical schools existed, many doctors did not have the tools to perform surgeries successfully or safely. People would often rather suffer or die than to have a doctor treat them.

5. Schooling was a luxury. Many children either went to a country school or a city school from ages 5-12. After that, many children started working in factories or were needed at home. However, quite a number of children did not go to school in the poorer classes until reforms were made in Britain and America in the middle to end of the 19th century. These reforms included children going to school at a certain age, being in school at least part time, being in school until 12 years of age, and knowing the basics of reading and math. Very few children pursued schooling beyond age 12 unless they were in the upper middle class or upper class. Very, very few girls pursued or were allowed to pursue higher than elementary education.

6. Meals were much, much simpler. Meat was not eaten at every meal. It was too expensive to eat every day unless you could hunt or raise your own. If any meat was served during a meal, the first and biggest serving went to breadwinner of the house. He needed his strength to keep working long hours. Most noon meals were bread, potatoes, butter, maybe a piece of bacon for flavoring, a sort of savory pudding, and/or a savory pie. Vegetables were not easy to acquire in the cities nor were they affordable to most poor people until the end of the century. Sunday meals may have a more meat based meal, but only if they could afford it.

7. Daily chores were not easy. Many innovations were made in the 19th century to help women in the home, but everything still had to be done by hand. From cleaning out the wood stove or coal stove to getting water for dishes and laundry, many tasks were grueling, dirty, and back-breaking. Laundry was a multiple day process with stain removal, soaking, heating the water, the actual plunging and scrubbing, wringing the water out, hanging to dry, starching and ironing. Some people were lucky to have water indoors which made laundry, dishes, and cooking a little easier.

8. Pioneering and homesteading was dangerous ordeal. After a man or woman found land to buy or discover, he had to get there in good time to claim that land. It took money to initially purchase land or you could "prove" a homestead claim with ownership after five years. If you had a homestead claim, you had five years to "prove" the claim. You had to live on the land, build a house, till the land, plant crops, plant trees, and improve the land you were trying to claim. A person had to do this all by himself or with the help of neighbors. You brought only what you could carry in your wagon and you hoped you could purchase the rest when you got to your claim. If you were lucky, you might have a new town within a few hours walking or horse-riding distance to purchase supplies including food. You took the risk of claim jumpers, robbers, Native Americans, and greedy land agents stealing your land and maybe taking your life.

9. Even in the 1800's, very few people were living exclusively off the land. Many pioneers, homesteaders, and farmers did the best they could, but still had to go to town for flour, sugar, salt, nails, and material for clothing. Neighbors helped each other. They did as much as they could themselves, but even people living in the country still needed trading posts and general stores. They sold eggs and fresh vegetables to earn money or to trade for needed goods. Yes, they did as much as they could for themselves, but they couldn't always grow wheat for flour or produce their own goods for building houses and barns.

10. Living to old age was a rarity in the 19th century. The average age of males was 40-45. The average age of women was 42-50. People could and did die from so many things then. Life threatening illnesses, workplace accidents, unsafe equipment, unsafe medications, child birth, and many more things than what we have to worry about now. Now we live longer due to advances in safety for the workplace and medical advancements, but we have our own killers that were rare in the 19th century. Advances in personal hygiene and workplace safety helped increase the chances of living longer as the century went on, but the average still seems like a very short period of time.

Many people think now a days that they could easily go back and live in these times. While having the knowledge we have now would make a big difference, most of us simply could not handle the amount of work and labor that our predecessors had to do. We are not conditioned for a hard life, hard labor, working long hours, and being physically fit enough to do it.

Do you think you could live in the 1800s? Do you think your families could handle this?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, February 9, 2017

How An Online Book Store Will Work For Me After The Collapse


As I have mentioned before, I have an online book store through Ebay. At any given time, I have at least 400 books and magazines listed with more always ready to be listed. I don't just sell books and magazines, but that is my main focus. I really like selling on Ebay so I keep going.

I believe in first, second, and third streams of income. I have a regular 7:30-4:30 job that provides me with insurance, 401K, and income to pay the bills. I have this blog, another new blog, and an often neglected YouTube channel. Then I have the online book store. The rest of these provide supplemental income. I have never intended them to be more than that, but would never mind if they became more than that.

What has been on my mind lately is what will I do if we have a collapse of any sort. All my current streams of income rely on a steady internet connection and electricity. How will I survive in a collapse situation? Can I reasonably do any of these jobs without internet and electricity? Can I convert any of these into other income streams?

The answer is yes. My everyday job might be harder to do because of the twelve miles I drive to work. We would also need a good-sized generator to run the pumps. Everything that is on computer would have to be done by hand accounting. I would need access to fuel to drive to work, but depending on the situation that can happen.

The blogging and vlogging would be harder to do or would not happen at all. However, I could apply my writing skills in other areas to keep people informed. 

However, I have a plan for the online book store. If the collapse happens, the online book store would become a regular, walk in the door book store. I would keep it in a separate building away from the house. I have more than 400 books, magazines, and other goods to sell or trade as of right now. I am continually growing the online store so I keep increasing the inventory.

There is questions and situations that will need to be dealt with. 

What about currency? That will be a tough one. Of course, I will always consider gold or silver as currency. If the current currency is still in place, that will work too. As I mentioned before, I will also trade for items that I need or others may want. 

This book store may become more of a trading post after awhile. I am good with that. I see books being necessary for reference materials, for knowledge, and for escaping reality for a bit. I would also put out items that we no longer use or need in the store too. Good used clothing will be necessary to people and worth the time to sell. 

I am not sure what I would use as a pricing scale yet for trading, but I think keeping prices low will help the business. I despise it when I hear people talking about jacking up the prices after a crisis. Taking advantage of desperate people is wrong and I plan on keeping that philosophy in my business. 

I would also consider turning the book store into a sort of consignment store if the conditions were good for it. If currency is not a problem, then I may allow other people to bring good, used items to sell. In this case, we will all need any money we can get. Selling for others allows me to make money as well as them. 

I hope, over time, to pick up for more skills and ways to make a living after the collapse. I know a lot of the living done after the collapse will be for survival, but we will need to also start working on rebuilding an economy. We need to start rebuilding cities and towns. 

Someone will need to provide the goods and have the ability to trade for other goods. I think flexibility will be key for running any business after the collapse which is why I discussed expanding the book selling and turning it into more. Keeping the options open will mean a better business for me. 

What are your plans after a collapse? Do you plan to run a business? How do you plan to stay employed?

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


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Paper or Not? What Is Best For Your Preps?


Paper goods can be a pretty decisive part of prepping. They are handy to have on hand when you have to reserve water, when someone gets sick on the carpet, and to escape the pressure of doing more laundry. I know a lot of people think you should keep paper goods in your prepping supplies because you might have to ration water and they will be easier to use and can be burned. 

I know a lot of people disagree and think that you should keep non-paper goods in your preps because they can be reused. Using cloth napkins, rags, towels, and family cloths are undoubtedly better for the environment and less costly on the wallet and the trash bill. 

I happen to agree with both sides. I keep both, but mainly use non-paper goods. However, just to state this now: I will give up toilet paper when I run out of toilet paper and not a day sooner. I am not sure you can have too much toilet paper on hand either. But I digress...

There are pros and cons to using paper goods versus non-paper goods. Obviously be the best choice. I will break it down for you below:


It seems like a prepper would have less problems using non-paper goods than paper goods. Paper goods have their place, but they can be easily replaced by non-paper goods in almost any situation. 

Those that do believe in using just paper goods should have an outdoor fire pit or a burn barrel to burn that kind of trash. Those preppers who believe in non-paper goods, practice a zero-waste, or minimalist lifestyle will use non-paper goods and should be planning ahead for that. You can always stock more water for washing.

What side do you fall on? Do you use both? Let me know below in the comments!

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, December 22, 2016

My Mind Is Literally Going In A Hundred Directions...


I haven't done a post like this in a long time, but the end of the year is coming. This post may be a little long, but I want to explain where I am at right now, what I am interested in now, and where I am at in life. I haven't even looked at my goals for this year in about six months. I know some have been accomplished, but not all of them. I don't think, as of right now, I will set specific goals for next year.

I am okay with that.

Because my mind is going in a hundred directions. Literally.

My life this year has been crazy. In January, Rob and I started living together and there continues to be a lot of adjustments for both of us as well as the kids. The kids at home are busy and continuing to live the life of a 16 year old and a 12 year old. Although I do have to say having a 12 year old boy after three girls is quite different. Not always in a good way either.

However, my interests are the same and different. This is where my mind is going right now.

I still love and am interested in what this blog is about: prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I struggle to separate the three of them in my mind most days. I wonder how much more I can do and what I should do. I always plan to be more frugal in the next year even though I can't always figure out how to be even more frugal than I already am. However, there is always more to be done.

Our finances are going to change in January a bit and that will be an interesting challenge. As for many people, health insurance rates are going to rise for us too. We are also taking on a couple bills that the landlords had paid for in the past which will need to be added in the budget. We have separate accounts and separate budgets, but we usually discuss and decide how joint bills will be paid.

I am going to try to participate in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge by The Frugalwoods. I adore their blog! I saw their post about this challenge and knew I should participate. I love a good challenge once I have my mind convinced to do it.

We are also looking at ways to lose some, if not all, of our dependence on electricity. We have been talking about and researching solar and wind energy to either power some of our things like the well pump or to be a back-up when the power goes out. We have some ways to heat the house if we lose power. However, the whole house is electric so we need to figure out something different. We are just a little leery about the power grid and its stability...

I am now finding myself passionately interested in minimalism, zero waste lifestyle, living with less, decluttering, and methods of  organization. I have been decluttering a lot more this last year because nothing says you have too much stuff than moving in with someone! The organizing needed to happen because I was, and sometimes still am, the only person who can find things. That does not work when you really do not want the other people in your life dependent upon you!

Why such the interest in these things? I see them as an extension of prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I think they fit hand in hand. Too much stuff and too much waste can clutter up your efforts in prepping and homesteading. Not being organized means you spend precious time finding your stuff and/or buying replacements when you can't find them. Both of those things can thwart your frugal ways by spending your time and money when you didn't need to. Having order can be benefit to every area of your life.

It also can be a vicious circle which is why I spend more time studying more of these things. I want to break the cycle.

Speaking of breaking the cycle, I need to do so on my health too. I thought my yearly doctor's visit would be the wake-up call I needed. It wasn't. My blood tests and my screens all came back nearly perfect. Cholesterol was a little high. The doctor mentioned I should lose weight, but was pleased because my weight had not increased.  She still thinks I need to be on a low carb diet because she thinks everyone should be. I do agree with her on that.

So now I research and try to implement methods, meals, and snacks that are low carb. This is so hard! I have a heck of a sweet tooth when it comes to chocolate, caramel, and a certain company's oatmeal cream pies. None of which are mentioned on the various low carb plans! Right now, my research keeps leading me to the Ketogenic diet and the Trim Healthy Mama diet. I have mostly converted my sugar usage to sugar substitutes like Stevia, Erythritol, and Xylitol or combination of them. The rest of my diet needs work.

This is a switch for me honestly. I am still very interested in natural health and eating naturally. I still think some of the foods I am not suppose to have are still very healthy for me. I have a tough time giving up legumes, some grains, honey, bread, and jams made from scratch. Fruit hasn't been a huge deal for me because I can't digest a lot of it. I like strawberries and blueberries in season so I am fine with those being a treat.

I also still want to grow most of my own food. I miss my garden now that winter is here and I am thinking about getting a greenhouse. It would be nice to keep growing more cold tolerant crops in the winter. I miss having chickens, but they are coming back this Spring. I want fresh eggs again! We are planting more fruit trees next year also. My interest in being self-sustainable will never go away. 

This seems like a lot of directions for the mind to go. I get so interested in so many things! The mind is going crazy with all this information and decisions to be made!

But, as always, I am still interested in writing, blogging, and vlogging. The more I see the connections in everything I am interested in, the more I want to talk about it. This blog will probably expand more into all these areas as I learn more and experience more of what I am interested in. I think prepping, homesteading, and being frugal can and does encompass all these things.

All this has made making goals for next year very difficult. I will probably do monthly goals and make the changes a bit more bite-size. I want to learn more, do more, be more, and have enough to live life.

Where is your mind going? What is your next year going to look like?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 15, 2016

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere!)


Winter can be brutal in the Midwest. The wind blows like crazy, the temperature drops with only an overnight notice, and the snow can really mess things up! 

For example, this is today's and this weekend's forecast:




Just lovely, eh?

However, I am here to help you stay warm, dry, and hopefully safe. Winter can catch people off guard. They aren't dressed properly, do not have the right gear with them, and can totally underestimate how cold they can get. Some people can get caught in these conditions by taking going in the ditch during bad road conditions, having a vehicle break down on the side of the road, or having a car not even start due to the cold conditions. 

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere):

1. Always have and wear insulated gloves, a hat that covers your ears, and a scarf. These three things go a long ways towards staying warm.

2. Wear a good heavy coat. This should go without saying, but I see so many people without them!

3. Wear layers. It is easier to peel off layers when you are warm then to put them on when you have to in an emergency. Today I am wearing a tank top under a long sleeve shirt with a fleece vest over the top. I am pretty cozy right now. Think about adding a thermal, another long sleeve shirt, or a sweatshirt would work too. 

4. Wear good, warm, heavy socks. Warm socks can make all the difference in keeping your feet warm and keeping your body temperature up. What kind of socks you wear is your choice. I like a good cotton pair, but wool is also very good. If your feet are still cold, there is no shame to wearing two pairs of socks. 

5. Wear a good pair of boots or insulated shoes. Really, warm feet help keep the rest of your body warm!

6. Take care of your skin. This might sound girly, but dry, cracked lips, hands, and feet are no fun in the winter. You feel even more miserable and the cold will just makes things worse. Use a good lip balm, thick lotion for the hands, and petroleum jelly or heavy foot cream for your feet. Taking care of your feet will also make your socks last longer! 

7. Use flannel sheets on the beds. Trust me on this one. A warm bed is great in the winter! You can turn down the thermostat at night and everyone can stay toasty warm. If people are getting cold, add blankets to the beds and tell them to wear more layers!

8. Use blankets. To keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, get out the blankets. Have 1-2 blankets on every piece of furniture that can be sat on or laid on so people can cover up. Also, put on some layers of clothes. Winter is not the time to run around wearing shorts in the house!

9. Have a vehicle emergency kit in the car. Weatherize it for winter. Always keep a blanket (or 3) in the car. Be prepared in case you are stranded anywhere. Always carry water and snacks with you. 

10. Keep an eye on the fluid levels in your vehicle. Use windshield wiper fluid designed for freezing temperatures. Do not ever let your anti-freeze get low. Get regular on the oil changes. By keeping the fluid levels in your vehicle up, your vehicle will run better and your risk of being stranded goes down considerably.

11. Develop some indoor hobbies and tackle the indoor DIYs. Really, for me, winter is the most boring time of the year. So I tackle the indoor stuff. By keeping busy, time goes faster, your mood will be better, and you will feel great getting some stuff accomplished!

12. Know where your indoor emergency supplies are and how to use them. We rarely lose power for longer than eight hours, but some people can lose power for days. Knowing where our heater is, keeping the propane cylinders full,  and being able to use our camp stove for cooking helps make life more comfortable when we do lose power. 

13. Keep some containers filled with water. The last thing you want to do is to melt snow for water if the power goes out. I keep 2-3 five gallon containers filled with water. I also keep some miscellaneous containers filled for flushing toilets and whatnot. Just remember to check the containers and refresh the water every year. 

14. Always let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. Cell phones are a wonderful thing until they run out of battery. If you are going shopping an hour away, let someone know. If you get stranded, someone will know because they will realize you aren't back yet. 

15. Now is the time for hot, hearty meals and drinks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are always good warmers. Beef stew, chili, and casseroles make good, filling meals that will keep you warm inside. Prop the oven door open when you are done cooking to add heat to the house while the oven is cooling.

16. Keep up on the vitamins. Keeping up on the vitamins and supplements in the winter will be very beneficial to you. For example, Vitamin D helps the immune system, helps with winter blues, and keeps your body strong and healthy. Vitamin C helps the immune system and keeps your body healthy also. 

17. Pay attention to the weather forecasts. I know there are wrong sometimes, but they can be scarily accurate too. People can be so brave and say things like "it's just a little snow" or "the weatherman never gets anything right". However, there is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the highway or in a ditch because you are stuck and there is a towing ban until morning. Pay attention to the forecast and give it the caution it deserves. 

18. Keep the house stocked up on food. So many people make last minute runs to the grocery store before a big storm. While it is good to get a few essentials, keeping the house stocked on food means you don't need to run to the store. You are ready to be stuck at home for a few days or weeks without having to go anywhere. Another tip: keep easily re-heatable food on hand like canned soup. 

19. Keep the vehicle's gas tank full. Do not let your gas tank get less than half. If you are stuck anywhere, then you should have enough gas to run the vehicle until help arrives. 

20. Spend time with others. Seriously, the winter seems never ending in the Midwest. We know Spring is coming, but in December that seems a long ways off. Spend time with friends and family. The conversation and the laughter is a very good mood booster which will help greatly with the Winter blues. 

What do you do to cope with the Winter? How do you survive the Winter?

Thank for reading,
Erica


Printfriendly

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...