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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Yes, You Can Live Without A Clothes Dryer!


There are some modern conveniences I would not want to live without: running water and a washing machine for starters. There are some modern conveniences that are not really necessary, but they make life easier. I lived without a microwave for over four months until someone took mercy on my children and bought one. I was fine without it.

Another appliance I lived without is a clothes dryer. I lived for over two years without a clothes dryer and I really didn't miss it! The clothes dryer would no longer dry the clothes. I didn't want to hire an appliance repair person to come out to my place. I knew it was a minimum $85 for them to come out, plus parts, and any additional labor. I don't like spending my money like that because sometimes I am cheap (not frugal).

I didn't fix the clothes dryer myself because I was slightly baffled by my clothes dryer. I don't always have faith in myself when it comes to fixing things. So I lived without it while having four kids (two in sports and dance) in the house. How?

1. Get yourself a large clothes drying rack. I know this is an investment and I had mine long before my clothes dryer broke. I hang up a lot of clothes anyway to keep clothes lasting longer. I suggest getting a heavy duty, wooden clothes drying rack. Buying a cheap, small, flimsy clothes drying rack is not going to serve you well. I broke two of them before getting this one. One of these large ones typically hold 1-2 loads of laundry.

2. Find a way to hang clothes outside. You can have a clothesline or an umbrella drying rack. There are so many options for clothes line outside! I have an old-fashioned one that was rebuilt two years. I love it! However, you can get one that pulls out from the house and attaches to a post. You can use a pulley system. Also, invest in some good quality clothespins.


3. Be creative. I strung up lines in my business to hang even more clothes, but I wish I would have known about this pull-out clothes line! I used hanger to hang shirts. I used back of chairs for other items. If you have an outdoor balcony, use that to lay clothes over (clean it first)!

4. Create a system for laundry. I was already in the habit of washing 1-2 loads every day which is perfect for living without a clothes dryer. I could wash and hang a load before I went to work every day or at night before I went to bed. In the summer, hanging clothes outside means they dried very quickly unless the humidity was high. Then I didn't bother. In the winter, clothes dried fairly quickly in the house because the air was dry and sucked away the moisture. Also, I am one of those people who like to wash, dry, and fold the clothes in one day so this system was actually perfect for me.

5. What do you do about crunchy clothes? You can cut back a little on laundry detergent. You do not need as much as the manufacturer says. You can add vinegar to the rinse cycle on the washer to help with this. You can add liquid fabric softener. Or you can just deal with it. Crunchy clothes and towels did not honestly bother me. I would give them a good shake after taking them off the line to loosen them up. In the summer, pick a windy day to hang jeans and towels. They won't be crunchy!

After a little over two years, we decided the clothes dryer needed to be fixed for various reasons. I started doing some research on the internet and YouTube. I found out the two biggest reasons my clothes dryer wasn't probably working. I ordered two parts for a grand total of $13.00. One of those parts was a thermal fuse which solved the problem. Crazy, right?

Fixing the clothes dryer wasn't bad at all. The worst part was getting the dryer moved away from the wall enough to take the back panel off. While we had it off, we cleaned the dryer and replaced the dryer hose and vent.

Still, I enjoyed living without the clothes dryer and never really considered it an inconvenience. The clothes lasted longer, didn't shrink, and didn't fade. The only time I went to the laundromat was when I washed quilts and large comforters. Truth be told, they didn't really fit in my washer or dryer so this was going to happen anyway.

What modern convenience could you live without?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Start Planning and Prepping Your Garden Now For A Successful Garden This Summer (And Years After!)


Gardening is a wondrous thing. You just go to the gardening center and buy whatever looks good. You put seeds in the ground and plant some plants. Voila! You have growing things and eventually some produce to eat. Gardening just seems that easy, doesn't it?

Reality check! You spent all that money on seeds and plants. You watered. But your garden isn't growing very well. Some of your plants have died. Whole rows of seeds didn't come up. Rabbits ate your tomato plants. Your garden is starting to look like a disaster!

Most people have this idea that you can just stick some plants and seeds in the ground and you have a garden. I read about a lot of people who plan to garden after some disaster, but never have gardened before in their life. I read about how they used to garden with their grandma 30-40 years ago and they think they still remember how to do it. Most people do not understand that gardening is more than planting.

You need to start planning and prepping your garden now if you want a successful garden later on. You can do things now that will ensure success this summer and will yield a better producing garden for years to come.

How do you start planning and prepping your garden now? There is still snow on the ground and winter is still here! Trust me, there is a lot you can do now!

1. What planting zone do you live in? You need to figure that out. That will make a difference in when you start plants, when you can put certain plants in the ground, and what you can plant. Not all planting zones are equal. Some plants do great in zones 7-9, but won't even work in zones 3-5 without a greenhouse and a lot of coddling. You may be able to start planting some cooler crops in  April in zone 5, but wouldn't even consider it in zone 3. Check out your planting zone here!

2. What do you want to plant? Look at what you eat. You might want to try all these cool vegetables you find in the gardening centers. However if you or your family won't eat them, then you just wasted time, space, and money. Do you eat a lot of salads? Plant lettuce mixes, spinach, radishes, cherry tomatoes, etc. Do you use pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and salsa? Plant tomatoes, peppers, oregano, onions, etc. Look at what you eat.

However, don't be afraid to try 2-3 new things just to see what they are like - just don't go crazy and plant several rows. A couple of plants each will do just fine for experimentation!

3. When should those plants and seeds go in the ground? Make a schedule of when you should be starting plants in the house and when plants and seeds should be planted outside. If you don't want to start your own plants, that is fine. It is a skill you should learn, but can be intimidating for a beginning gardener. However, make a plan for when you should be planting in your garden. Find out when your frost date is for your planing zone and make a plan from there. Some plants can handle being nipped by the frost, but a lot of plants can not!

4. Plan out your garden on paper. You know what you want to plant, now how do you want to plant them? I would recommend getting the book Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Some plants should not be planted beside other plants because they will not grow well together. You also need to research how much room your plants need to grow. Sometimes you can plant closer together, but squash, pumpkin, and cucumber plants will need room to spread out.

5. Are you considering edible perennials? Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, asparagus, and more are great additions to any garden. You might want to consider planting these outside of the garden, but definitely include them in your gardening plans. Any plant that can produce year after year with some minimal maintenance is a great idea.

6. Do you currently have a garden? If you currently have a garden, you need to add to your soil. Compost, manure/used bedding, and peat moss will help get your soil into a growing state of mind. If you are not sure what your soil needs, take a sample of dirt to your local extension office to get it tested. Most soils will need some kind of fertilizer whether it is organic or non-organic. You can add compost or manure to your garden now by just laying it on top. You can always till it in when the ground thaws.

7. Do you need to dig a garden bed? Are you considering raised beds? If you are starting a new garden or building raised beds, map out where you are putting them in your yard. Do some research on your soil and what you may need to add to it. If you are starting raised beds, you will need good black soil, compost or manure, and maybe a little sand to keep the soil from compacting. Make sure your new beds are big enough for what you want to plant or you may need to amend your planting plans.

8. Do you need a tiller or do you need to find one to rent/borrow? I firmly believe in tilling the garden every spring to loosen up the dirt and break up the first weeds trying to grow. I have heavy black clay soil so it needs to be broken up every year. If you don't have a tiller, you need to find one to use. A lot of rental centers have them available for a couple of hours or half days. However, you might be able to find someone to till your garden for you which is great! They might want some compensation, but would be cheaper than buying or renting one.

9. How do you plan to manage weeds in your garden? You do this in a few ways. You can weed the garden yourself which can be great therapy. You can lay mulch down, but research what plants like to have as mulch. You can lay plastic or card board down between the rows to block out weeds. Figure out what works for you and how much time you have on hand to weed the garden.

10. How do you want to water the garden? As much as it would be nice to have a gentle rain soak the garden a few times a week all summer, that is not going to happen. Last year, we had one wet month followed by one and half very dry months. We ran hoses and sprinklers to the garden to water. You need to have a plan for watering the garden. How will you do it? Do you have an outside water source or will you be hauling buckets of water? Can you add an outside water source (faucet, rain barrels, etc.)? Some people use a drip system or soaker hoses to water their garden which would be worth looking into?

This covers the basics of gardening and getting your garden started. The goal of gardening is to produce vegetables and fruits. From someone who has been gardening for awhile and learned the hard way more than once, you will have successes and failures. Your first year garden may not be the best garden, but there are things you can do to ensure good results.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Disaster is Coming! A 20-Point Checklist to Get You Prepared for the Next Disaster!


We have the potential for so many things to happen right now which means we need to be prepared. We have had very damaging natural disasters in the last year that has woken up a good deal of people. We have the potential for more to happen. A nuclear war could happen and we are now being told to prepare for that possibility. As a country, we have enemies who have biological and chemical weapons to take us out. They could get mad enough to attack us.

In other words, a disaster could be coming! What should you being doing?

There are several things you should be doing. Hopefully, you are not home alone because this is a good time to recruit anyone who is living with you to help. In fact, they shouldn't be given a choice about helping or not. Time is of the essence here.

Also, you have many unknowns. You don't know if the water will be available or safe to drink. You might or might not have power. You might have days or only hours to get ready. You might have a chance to get to the store for last minute supplies or you might not. You don't know.

This checklist is to keep you on track and give you a way to plan for getting ready. This list is not necessarily in order of priority except the first two items. Water and food are non-negotiables and should be your top priority after shelter which hopefully you already have.

20-Point Checklist to Get You Prepared for the Next Disaster!

1. Secure your water storage. You should be filling every container you can with water for storage. You will need drinkable and non-drinkable water. If you have the chance to go to the store, pick up more water. No matter what, water should be your number one priority to have on hand.

2. Take stock of your food storage. Do you have everything you need to not leave home for a week, two weeks, a month, or three months? If you think you have enough food, I would be adding more food to your storage. Make sure you have a good mix of ready to eat, easy to prepare, and ingredients to make meals.

3. Take care of any chores that take water. Throw in a load of laundry. Wash dishes. Clean what needs to be cleaned. The last thing you want to have to worry about is dirty laundry and dishes.

4. Get your auxiliary power sources ready to go. Make sure you have fuel for the generators. Make sure your solar chargers and external batteries are charged. Whatever you need to do for power, get it ready.

5. Gather your supplies to cover windows and doorways. You need heavy clear plastic and duct tape to cover windows and doorways. You can also use plywood and screws to cover windows, but you want to seal up anything on your structure that could leak or be broken. Get ready to cover windows and doors or go ahead and get started.

6. Gather your cold weather clothing. If it is winter and you could lose power, you want to be able to stay warm. Make sure you have stocking caps, gloves, scarves, warm shoes and socks, coats, boots, and lots of layers to stay warm. In case of a nuclear war or an exploding volcano, you might have to worry about the resulting ash cloud which would keep your climate considerably cooler.

7. Be prepared to stay in one room. Ideally, you only want to heat one room when having to use auxiliary heat. Be ready to seal off a room by hanging heavy blankets over open doorways and having emergency supplies in that room. Add extra seating by moving chairs or couches into that room for everyone's comfort.

8. Have your auxiliary heat sources ready to go. If you have a wood stove, get your kindling in the house and your firewood stocked by the house or in the house. If you are using kerosene or propane heaters, be sure you have kerosene or propane filled and ready to go. I would also have battery powered carbon monoxide detectors ready to use with the batteries checked for freshness.

9. Make a plan for your pets. If you need to bring them in, make a plan for that and add extra water to your preps for those pets. You need to have a safe place for them. They are your responsibility and leaving them to fend for themselves is not a good plan. If you have to leave your home, be ready to take them with you with a pet carrier, food, water, and leashes.

10. Do you have gas stored? You should check your gas stores and if the gas is good. You might need that gas for your generator, chainsaw, and/or your vehicle. If you don't have any gas stored, you will want to get some in case gas pumps are not working or have run out of gas. I would get non-oxygenated gas and a gas stabilizer for long-term storage.

11. Check your batteries, flashlights, and radios. Make sure you have plenty of batteries for your flashlights. Some flashlights take AA, AAA, C and D batteries depending on the size of the flashlight. A lot of your LED lanterns take batteries too. You also need a dependable radio to listen to the news and for any emergency alerts. Make sure you have batteries for that too. Also, make sure all your flashlights and radios are currently working.

12. Get your bug out bags ready to go. You might have to leave your home. Even though bugging in is usually your best option, you may have no choice but to leave. Get your bug out bags ready to go by the chosen exit door. You will also want your 72 hour kit and some cases of water ready to go too. If you have time, fill your chosen bug out vehicle with gas and get your vehicle emergency kits in order too. Be ready to leave.

13. Get everyone home if possible. If your spouse or yourself is at work, you should be heading home and doing what you can to get ready. If your kids are at daycare or school, get them home or keep them home. You want everyone at home when a disaster is about to strike. You don't want to worry about everyone and you will need the help getting ready.

14. Make sure you are ready to defend yourself. This is important especially if you live in an urban setting. Looters can and will be coming. Be ready to defend your home and your family. Have a way to block doors and ground level windows. Have your gun ready to use. Be mentally ready to defend yourself by any means necessary.

15. Secure or store everything that is outside inside. Put your cars and bicycles inside if possible. All your lawn/patio/porch furniture should be put away or stored inside. All your outdoor plants should be brought in. Your grill should be put in the garage, but in a spot that it can be used easily. Anything that could be become a projectile outside should be put away. Usually most bad weather can bring high winds that will blow your outdoor things into another building or your home. You want to eliminate as many problems as possible and having a patio chair through your window would definitely cause more problems.

16. Get your entertainment supplies together. Otherwise called boredom busters, have some things to do to entertain yourself and your family. Make a pile of books to read, games to play, knitting or crocheting to do, and anything else that takes no electricity to do or play. You will have down time or will need to distract during a disaster. Plan for this because (1) if you have little ones, they will need to be distracted and (2) we all need to be distracted in times of stress and will need something to do to pass the time.

17. Make that last trip to the store if you have time. As preppers, we would like to think we have everything covered. However, that last minute trip to the store might not hurt. You can grab more water, food, batteries, and any holes you found getting ready for the disaster. If you only have a few hours before the disaster, I would skip the store trip unless it is an absolute emergency. The stores will likely be cleaned out anyway.

18. Get some extra cash for after the disaster. If you have time before the disaster, grab some cash. You don't know if you will need it or not, but you likely don't want to be without it. At least $100 would be ideal to have on hand, but get the amount of money you can afford and be comfortable with.

19. Have a plan for sanitation. What will you do for sanitation? If you are using toilets, you will need to have extra water for flushing. You will need to explain to the others about when to flush and when not to. If you are using a buckets and bags, you will need a way to dispose of the waste. Also, have plenty of toilet paper and flushable wipes on hand. You will also need a plan for trash. If you can compost, you will need a place to do that. If you can burn trash, you will need a way to do that. I would also make sure the trash cans have good tight-fitting lids.

20. Assign everyone a chore or responsibility that they are in charge of. Getting through a disaster is mostly about survival, but one person should not be doing all the work. Everyone can pitch in and make life a little more bearable for everyone during a disaster. There is plenty for everyone to do before, during, and after a disaster. Give everyone something to do.

This is a basic checklist. Some of you will not have to worry about all these things. Some of you will have more to worry about than these things. I would print out this checklist and personalize it for yourself to develop your own plan. While you will be worrying about these things leading up to a disaster, a lot of this checklist can be done long before any disaster hits.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top Ten Posts for 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

10 Prepping Goals You Should Be Setting For The New Year


The new year is coming quickly. While I think goal setting can be done any time of year and should be, this seems to be the time of year for most people to set goals. If you are a prepper, winter is a good time to get your goals figured out, written down, and a game plan set to accomplish them.

What goals should you be setting as a prepper?

1. Increase water storage and/or create a way to procure water without electricity. We often do not have enough drinking and non-drinking water in our stockpiles. While the experts say to have at least one gallon per person per day of water, most people use more than that for cooking and bathing. We also don't always remember to store water for pets and livestock. If you can, look for a way to install rain barrels or a cistern to procure and use water without electricity.

2. Increase or double your food storage. Many preppers only have a month or less of food storage. You should concentrate on doubling your food storage. If you have a month, build up a two month supply and so on. Make a meal plan with your food storage and you might realize you don't have enough food storage for a month either.

3. Sharpen your shooting skills and learn new ways to defend yourself. Take a self-defense class. Learn taekwondo or another martial art. Learn how to defend yourself in close combat. Learn how to use another weapon. Learn how to better use your own weapons. I believe in using weapons and self-defense to defend myself. I think both methods are important to your safety and should be learned.

4. Lose weight and work on physical fitness. Being in shape and being in good health is crucial to being the best prepper you can be. Being one hundred pounds overweight means you are susceptible to a host of diseases and will easily run out of energy when you need to be in the best shape possible. Even if you walk a mile every day and do fifty jumping jacks twice a day, you are doing more for your health than most people will ever do.

5. Learn new skills. Make a list of three skills you really want to learn in this next year and make a plan to learn them. Watch YouTube videos and buy some books in those areas. Gather the materials and start practicing those skills. Learning skills is never a waste of time.

6. Increase or double your emergency cash fund. If you are into gold or silver, increase that. Most of us do not have a really good emergency cash stash at home. We might have some coins and a few dollars which will not get us far when an SHTF happens.

7. Start gathering or buying non-electric items. When you have no power, you will want things that do not use electricity. Having good manual tools will just make life a lot easier in the end when a SHTF happens and most of us do not have enough manual tools on hand.

8. Read a prepping book every month. Most of prepping is the knowledge inside your head and how you apply it. Read a prepping book, apply something you have learned from it, and stick that knowledge in your head.

9. Get your affairs in order. Get your family information together and put it in a binder and on a flash drive. Get your will written. Make bug-in and bug-out plans. When SHTF happens, you have your information together and you are ready to start putting your life back together again. If you have this already, review and update the information.

10. Make an effort to make more prepping friends and expand your community. Yes, you can prep alone or have a lot of online prepping buddies, but you are better off making some prepping friends locally. You would have people locally who would be there for you and understand how you think. Better yet though, find a few people to turn on to prepping. We can't have enough preppers in the world!

Prepping is a lot easier and more focused when you have goals to commit to. You will be able to implement a plan to prep smarter and create a life free from worrying about "what if?".

What are your prepping goals for this coming year?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Sunday, December 24, 2017

10 Ways to Prep When You Have No Support


You have discovered prepping. You have awakened to the fact that the world isn't right. Everything could be gone tomorrow. Your job could be over with at the end of the month. A storm could take out the power for several days. You suddenly feel an urge to get your stuff together and be ready for the next disaster. You want to buy food and supplies to have stored in case of an emergency.

You are excited to get started. You have been reading articles online. You are starting to decide what kind of food storage you want to get. You have been looking at generators and camping stoves. You have already bought some extra cases of water.

Then you talk to your family and suddenly you find a lot of cold water thrown at you. They don't understand what you are so worried about. Nothing like that has ever happened (amazing how short people's memories are)! They don't think you should be worried about the future. They don't want to have to worry about things like disasters, job loss, and financial difficulties. They think you are just being ridiculous.

That is just enough to discourage someone, isn't it? Prepping is hard when no one believes in what you do and doesn't see what could happen. A lack of support from loved ones is one of the biggest reasons people don't start to prep or quit prepping. Most non-preppers don't understand that prepping is not doom and gloom, but a positive thing that will give you and your family a great peace of mind.

If this is happening to you right now, please keep prepping. You are doing something for your loved ones that will not appreciate now, but most certainly will later. Most loved ones come around to prepping, but sometimes they don't either.

So what do you do when you want to prep, but have no support?

1. Do not quit prepping! You have started a great thing and nothing should stop you. You might have to change how you prep, but do not stop prepping.

2. You can prep in secret. Yes, you can prep undercover. Sometimes it is a good idea for other people not to know you are prepping. You usually want your family to know, but they aren't in that frame of mind yet.

3. Try talking to your family. You can try to make them see reason. You can point out different situations where being prepared is a good thing. Bring up things in the news that leads to being prepared. Just try reasoning with them a bit and see what happens.

4. Don't mention what you are doing as prepping. Prepping has a good and bad reputation. You can twist what you are doing into something else. You can tell them you are putting together some supplies for a power outage. You can tell them you are just putting some emergency equipment in the vehicles. You can tell them you found an amazing sale at the grocery store at a good price to stock up.

5. Put your prepping supplies in a hidden spot. Do you have a room or a shed that no one but you uses? Put your prepping supplies in there. Use some ordinary totes to hold your supplies in your closet. You might have to spread out the prepping supplies in different spots.

6. Hide your emergency cash and money for prepping. If you have a spouse or significant other who is going to spend your emergency cash as soon as they see it, you need to hide it. If you have a part of your paycheck that goes to prepping, you should probably withdraw the cash and hide that too. Some people will spend that money out of spite because they think you are being ridiculous.

7. You can still learn new skills and not call it prepping. If you have loved ones wondering why you are starting a garden, just tell them that it is something you always wanted to learn how to do. If you want to work on your shooting skills, just tell them that you want to be more accurate and suggest everyone goes to the shooting range as a family activity. You can buy or build a fire pit in the backyard and use it for cooking out or just learning to start fires right. There are ways to learn skills and not call it prepping at all.

8. Explain away your purchases. For awhile, I just said that I always wanted "blank" or "blank" because I thought they were cool. You can use this one on a lot of gadgets like solar chargers and weather radios. You can say that you just wanted to see if they really worked or how they worked. You can buy a lot of solar powered gadgets to say that you wanted to use them to save on the utility bill.

9. Be creative. A lot of these suggestions involve creativity on your part. If you loved ones do not come around, you will have to be creative with your whys and hows. Prepping is not something to brag about to everyone anyway because you do not want everyone coming to your house when an emergency happens. You just might have to take that OPSEC to another level with your loved ones.

10. Speaking of OPSEC...you will have to figure out a way to not have your prepping discussed with everyone. You will have to find a way to explain to your loved ones that not everyone needs to know what you have or don't have. You can explain as not liking to brag about material items or not everyone needs to know what happens in our home kind of thing.

Hopefully, these ideas will see you through until your loved ones understand why you are prepping. Sometimes, it will take a major life event or a natural disaster for them to see the light. However, you need to keep prepping, remember that you are doing it for them, and eventually they will be grateful that you did!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

9 Ways You Can Light Up Your Home When The Power Is Out


The power has gone out! Now what?

The power going out can be scary and discomforting especially if you have kids. You need to have some ways to light up whatever you are doing. You need to provide some light to give comfort and make the time go by faster. 

Some lights have better uses than other lights. Some lights will be just for lighting up the room enough to walk around in. Some lights will help you see what you are doing or reading. All these options will be great for camping or being outside after dark. Every light listed below will have a purpose and a place in your preps.

Here is the thing about having non-electric lights. You need to have a very good supply of batteries on hand at all times. Most of these options will probably take batteries.

9 Ways You Can Light Up Your Home When The Power Is Out

1. Flashlights. These are just handy to have all the time. You can buy some of the cheap ones and some expensive ones. We keep the cheap little ones in almost every room of our house including the bedrooms. You should always have a flashlight in a night table drawer or beside the bed.

You can buy different kinds of flashlights too. You can buy the battery powered ones and I recommend that. You can also buy hand-cranked and/or solar powered flashlights. I have a few of these and they can be useful, but they take a fair amount of cranking and their time of use is limited. However, they are rechargeable.

2. Headlamps. Headlamps are handy to have. They make working on anything in the dark a bit easier. If you are trying to read or sew in the dark, they work well for that too. I would have one of these for every member of the family too.

3. Book lights. These are great to have on hand to read. I would give these to kids to read, color, draw, or anything else that will keep them occupied during a power outage.

4. LED and Battery Powered Lanterns. These are very handy to have. They are a favorite of my kids to use because the light is pretty bright. You can read and do a fair amount with the light they give off. If you are looking for something to hang from a ceiling or a hook, these lanterns will work for that and be safe to use. I would also check out these hanging camping lights for the same purpose.

5. Oil Lanterns. These are nice to have on hand. I would use the LED Lanterns if you are moving around much, but the oil lanterns are good to use in a room that needs light to move around in. As always, be careful using these around children. If you use oil lanterns, be sure to keep a supply of lamp wicks and fuel to keep these lanterns going. The oil lanterns have a lot of different choices including glass, metal, lamp oil, kerosene, and much more. This is my preferred lantern, but you should choose what works best for you.

6. Candles. Candles are great for lighting up an area and keeping the dark out. Candles can be reassuring to those who are afraid of the dark. While candles that smell are good to burn, you really want long lasting, odorless candles. Plus. smelly candles can be overwhelming after awhile. I would stock up on plain white tapered candles, emergency candles, and these 100+ hour emergency candles.

7. Propane Lanterns. Propane lanterns are good to have in an emergency situation. I would not use these indoors unless you have excellent ventilation. However, these are very good to have working outside or having to be in a tent for any length of time.

8. Battery Powered String Lights. These will be like candles. They will provide a nice glow for a room and will make the power outage less scary especially for kids. These may not seem important, but I would keep a few on hand to help light a bedroom or a bathroom.

9. Solar Powered Lights. Whether you use indoor or outdoor solar powered lights, I would keep a good stock of these on hand. The power of the solar lights will vary, but they are rechargeable which is ideal in a situation with no power. As long as you are getting some light during the day, you can run these at night until everyone goes to bed. Just make sure you are charging these outside or by a southern exposed window to get the best charge during the day.

With any kind of light, you need to use some common sense. Battery or solar powered lights would be your best choice for emergency situations. They will not be dangerous to use most of the time and would be a brighter light to use. They are generally rechargeable or will just need new batteries.

If you do use candles, oil lanterns, or propane lanterns, you need to have good ventilation, exercise caution, and be careful where you use them. You need to keep children away from these things until they can understand the dangers involved with using gas and fire. You need to make sure nothing gets smoky. Fuel containers need to be free from damage and in appropriate containers.

I realize some of you have generators and your lighting options would be better. Most plug-in lights take minimal wattage and would not drain a generator. However, I would still want to use non-electric lighting instead of wasting the fuel from a generator on lights. That is your choice though.

What is your lighting preference when the power is out?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stuck In Your Vehicle During A Snowstorm? 13 Things You Need To Do To Survive!


During a snowstorm, it is possible that you will be in the ditch or stuck on the road. You might hit an icy patch and slide into the ditch. You might hit a drift in the road and become stuck. You might have had some confidence you could make it home, but the snow is too high and you are stranded on the road. 

You could be leaving work and hear that the roads will be closed at 5:00 p.m. The snow is piling up and you are already hearing the roads are bad. The wind started blowing and the snow is sticking to the roads now. The roads are slick and snow plows are trying to keep up, but the snow is coming down too fast. The road departments are going to pull the plows off the road pretty soon. 

You decide to try to get home. You have surely driven in worse weather before. You know you need to go slow and watch out for the other drivers. You get a few miles out of town and notice some cars in the ditch. You think they must have been going too fast. You keep the speed down, but you are starting to have problems seeing the road. All of a sudden, you slide around on the road and start spinning in circles. You find yourself in the ditch very quickly. 

Now what do you do? 

1. Call for help. You should always make sure your cell phone is charged and this is one of the reasons why. If your insurance has roadside assistance, call them and see if you can be towed. You can call 911. You can call your favorite tow truck company. You can do a Google search quickly for local towing companies. You can turn on your location setting for your phone to find the closest towing companies and any other help you might need. 

2. Call a family member or friend. You should let someone know you are in the ditch. When you are going somewhere in the winter with potential snow and ice forecasted, you should always let someone know where you are going and when you should be expected or at home. If you end up in the ditch or stuck on the road, please let someone know. They may worry about you, but someone will know that you are still alive and awaiting help.

3. Keep an eye on the gas tank. This is winter and your gas tank should always be above half full, but sometimes that doesn't happen. You should make sure you have enough gas to keep the car running and stay warm. 

4. Run the car at intervals to stay warm. You should run the car at 15 minute intervals to stay warm. Always crack a window when running the car to avoid any carbon monoxide poisoning due to a plugged or blocked exhaust on the car. 

5. Do not leave the car unless help has arrived or is just across the road. Do not try to get help on your own unless you are very close (within 200 feet) to a house or farm place. You can easily get stranded in the snow if the snow is too high or you are on unfamiliar ground, risking hypothermia and frostbite. If you are in danger, use your best common sense. Leaving the car could put you at risk also.

6. Use your hazard lights on your car to signal for help. You should keep some roadside flares in your car to signal for help also. 

7. Do not use your cell phone more than you need to. Unless you can keep charging your phone in your car without wearing down your battery or carry a portable charger, keep the phone use limited. You want to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and help. Keep some word search puzzle books and reading material in the car with you to keep you entertained and off your phone.

8. Stay warm. Do what you can to stay warm while waiting for help. Use a blanket, keep a hat on your head, gloves on your hands, and use hand warmers and foot warmers to stay warm. Run the heat on the car for 15 minutes on/15 minutes off to stay warm. Keep boots in the vehicle if you are not already wearing them to keep your feet warmer.

9. Keep hydrated. When you leave home, you should have a full water bottle with you. Keep sipping on the water and stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to bad decision making, health issues, and other problems which you can not afford to have in a situation like this. 

10. While you may only be stranded for 1-2 hours, plan on being stranded for longer. Tow bans can and do occur when the weather is bad enough and travel is not advised. If you are traveling and know the roads are closed, find a place to stay in town or stay at home/work. If you are traveling on closed roads, they will not come for you until the next morning or at their convenience. You could be stranded for several hours even with no tow bans. If you do decide to travel in bad weather, fill your tank with gas, buy some bottles of water, and grab some snacks. You may need them further on down the road. 

11. Use your vehicle emergency kit if you need to. You may need all those things or you may not need anything, but please use it. 

12. Stay aware and be ready to defend yourself. While most people are well-meaning and want to help you, there are people who just like to prey on the helpless. While you are in a situation needing help, you are not helpless. Be ready to defend yourself against those who would do you harm and be weary of anyone you do not know. Your life could depend on it. 

13. Do not try to dig yourself out or get yourself out of the ditch. Even with 4x4 or all-wheel drive, you may end up getting yourself even more stuck. Snow is pretty soft and you can sink in the ditch pretty far trying to get yourself out. If you get stuck on a drift, you may be able to back off of it. However, most people are "hung up" on the drift because they lack the tire traction to get back off the drift. If you are stuck in snow too high, you will need to wait for the snow plow to go by and still might need a tow truck to pull you out. Either way, wait for help and have them help you get out instead of getting more stuck. 

These are the main things you need to do to survive being stranded in your vehicle during a storm. Your top priorities to stay alive are to stay safe, warm, dry, and hydrated. You don't know how long you will be stranded and you need to be ready for anything. As always, use your best judgment and common sense to stay alive!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in November


November is here already. Actually we are already half way into the month because time just flew by! Harvest is just about over with. The gardens are done unless you have cold frames. Everything outside is tucked away, battened down, or cleaned up. November is the month to start focusing on the inside things.

Prepping is a lot of little things that add up to big things. You need to work on the inside of the house as well as the outside of the house. Late fall and winter is a great time to get started on the indoor prepping tasks as well as working on some skills.

Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in November:


1. Practice walking around your house in the dark. While this may not seem important, it really is. When the power goes out, you will need to be able to get around in the dark. If you think someone is in your home, you will need the familiarity and the darkness of your home for your advantage.

2. Stock up on baking supplies. November and December is a good time to get your baking supplies stockpile built up. Brown sugar, sugar, flour, cake mixes, frosting, and chocolate chips are all at their best prices right now. Keep your eye out for the loss leaders on the front pages of your grocery advertisements and get stocked up.

3. Get the inside of your house ready for winter. Put plastic on the inside of the windows. Get extra blankets and quilts on the beds. Put 100% cotton or flannel sheets on the beds to make them warmer. Have your supplies ready to go and tested in case of power outages, blizzards, and ice storms.

4. Time to get your prepper reading started. I know some of you read all year round, but some people really like to get their reading done over the winter. I know I do because I am too tired to read much over the summer. Whether you decide to read fiction or nonfiction, pick up some good books to get your knowledge level raised a little more. The more you know, the more you can do. Some books I recommend are:

Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide by Jim Cobb
The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr
Prepper Supplies Checklist: A Simple Guide to Emergency Preparedness by Nettie David
Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook by Alan and Arlene Fiebig

5. Make certain everyone has good, warm winter clothing. I know how it is. Kids grow fast. Gloves and hats disappear. A boot has a hole in it. Socks aren't warm enough or thick enough. Make sure everyone's winter needs are covered and their items are in good repair. Add some more sweaters and sweatshirts to the list too to keep everyone warm and cozy without having to turn up the thermostat!


Also check out:
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in October
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in September
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in August

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, November 10, 2017

What happens when it is all gone tomorrow?


In your lifetime, something will probably happen to you that will make you wonder what you are going to do next. You could lose your job. You could be in a car accident and not be able to work or pay bills. You could have a tornado or hurricane wipe out your home and everything you have worked for. You could get divorced and be left with nothing. A loved one could be taken from you and you have to figure out life without them.

So much can happen that begs me to think about this. I have been through at least two of those scenarios. I have had to ask myself "What happens when it is all gone tomorrow?"

The worst thing about this question and these scenarios is that you have very little to no warning. You rarely get to pick when something bad and life-changing gets to happen to you. Very few people know they have cancer before they are diagnosed. Many people have shown up to work only to find the doors locked and find out they are unemployed. The weather service is pretty accurate, but you may only have days to a week to find out how devastating a storm can be. Bad things will happen that will completely change your life tomorrow.

We can prepare for just about anything. We can have supplies built up, plans in place, emergency funds and savings on hand, and another place to go to. We can take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. We can draw up wills and living trusts to take care of our loved ones. We have insurance for health, vehicles, and life to take care of any contingencies. By our very natures, we like to plan ahead to be prepared for any event that could alter our lives.

But we can't prepare for everything. Something may happen that will wipe away everything we have worked, prepared for, and lived for. In all seriousness, that is the most devastating thing to have to go through. You don't know where to start or how to start building your life again. You don't know where to go. You don't know what the next step is. You are in shock. Disbelief and fear will take over.

You have to move on. That will be tough to do for a lot of people, but you have to. There are things you can do, however, to help you process this major life change and start to create a new life for you.

1. It will take some time to process what happened. Your mind will need time to process, recover, and make a plan. Give yourself that time, but don't dwell on the negative for too long. You probably have other people relying on you and you need to get on with things for their sake.

2. While these are bad circumstances, you need to stay positive and hope for the best while being realistic. You probably have others depending on you to take care of them and they need your best. Being bitter and angry will not serve you in any way and it will not make the circumstances any better.

3. Take care of the basics. If you are a prepper or survivalist, you know you need shelter, water, and food first and foremost if you are in this kind of situation. You need to find shelter, water, and food to stay alive. Next you need to stay warm if you are in that kind of climate. You need to take care of the basics so those depending on you will be taken care of and you will feel better too.

4. Take the next step. When your mind is under stress, you may not know what to do next. You will feel numb. Write down everything you need to do and what needs to be taken care of. Write down even the smallest things to do that you think you will remember. You are under stress so you may not remember those things. Pick one thing on that list and do that thing.

5. Prioritize what you need to do. What is the most important thing that needs to get done? If you have the basics covered, you need to pick the next thing to get done. Whether it is making legal or medical decisions, applying for unemployment benefits, shutting off services to save money, finding another job, calling insurance, or finding a new home, you need to get those things done. Figure out what is most important and do it.

6. Accept the kindness of others. There are people who will want to help you if they know you are in need. Please accept their help whether it is a place to stay, a meal, a shoulder to cry on, good advice, or a voice of reason. Sometimes the price of the help can be high so you need to decide that, but do not turn down help if you can use it. The help offered will make the burden lighter.

7. Do not make any "snap" decisions unless it is an emergency. In times like this, snap decisions can lead to regret. You may be under stress, but you need to use reason and common sense to make the next decision. You have yourself to consider as well as probably family to consider. If you are struggling to make a decision, ask your family and friends for their advice and knowledge. However, because I believe in this, do not ignore your gut reaction. If you know, deep down, what you should do and you know that is not from paranoia or fear, go with your gut and do it.

8. Seek information and good advice. As I said in #7, you should make informed decisions. You are in a situation that may seem like life or death or you may not have a lot of options, but you need to be informed. What are your options? What is the best treatment? What can I do to support my family? Where would be the best place to move to? These are all questions (and there are definitely more) that deserve well-researched, well-informed answers.

9. Don't be afraid of other people and their reactions. You have to do what is best for you and your family. You may make people sad or angry about your decisions and/or your plan of action. They may try to make you feel guilty or feel stupid about the decisions you make. Don't let these people have that power. It is one thing to feel like you need to take care of your parents (or something similar), but it is another thing if people make you feel like you can't leave or you have to accept your circumstances. You have to take care of you and make the best decisions for you and your family.

These ideas and things to do are not a complete plan. These are things you can do to start moving on with your life when it seems like hope is lost and/or you have lost everything. Taking the next step and moving on with your life may seem like the hardest thing to do, but for your sake you have to do it.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Coming To My House When SHTF Happens? We Need To Talk...


We occasionally have people say that they are coming to my house when stuff hits the fan. While that may sound like a good idea, we may have different ideas about what a good idea is.

When people tell us are coming to our place, I pause a bit. Some people get a quick "sure" and some people just get a laugh. If you get a laugh, we more than likely don't want you to come here. We have our reasons. Most people are not capable of working hard or doing what they are told. Some people crack under pressure instead of just getting things done. We have family and close friends to think about first.

If you are planning to come here and you think we might be okay with that, you need to keep reading. We have criteria for you staying here. We will make exceptions for the elderly and disabled, but usually they want to be more of a help than able bodied people do.

1. Be prepared to work. If SHTF does happen, life will not be easier for you or me. The animals will still need to be tended and possibly even more food will need to be grown for them. The already good-sized garden will need to be bigger and will still need to be tended and weeded. Depending on the circumstances, there will be a lot of work to do inside and outside the house. You will be expected to contribute and work for your supper just like the rest of us.

2. Please bring your own living quarters. If you have a camper that can be heated, you will need to bring it. Have a generator? Bring that too. We have limited space and I have a feeling you will be happier with your own space. Now would be a good time to make sure you can live long term in your camper. I would also make sure you can survive in your camper without electricity too.

3. Bring your food storage with you. In your mind, I may have a lot of food storage. In my mind, I will never have enough. If you are planning to come here, you better pack all the food you can safely bring in your vehicle and your camper. I don't care if it is perishable or not because you will need all the food you can bring. This food is for your benefit so bring it. With that line of thought, bring your portable water too. You will also probably need that too.

4. You will be coming to OUR place. While I regularly seek out other's opinions and wisdom, I (we) will be calling most of the shots. This is OUR place and I (we) will ask for the respect that we deserve. You are coming here and you will be here because of my permission. Don't like it? Too bad.

5. If you have skills, you will be using them. I believe in having people use their talents in the best way possible. I also believe in learning new skills and you will be teaching other people your skills. Either way, your skills will be a benefit to the group.

6. You might not be welcome. We might turn you away. I don't do other people's drama very well. I have no desire to live in commune like conditions. I have family and close friends to think about first. I don't have that much room. You get it.

Trust me, I understand desperation and I understand having no other place to go. Life throws curve balls like that sometimes. However, if you aren't planning ahead and/or do not have a plan in place about where to go if stuff does hit the fan, I might not feel that bad for you.

7. If you are bringing your kids, they need to understand that they will be contributors too. Kids as young as 3 can be put to work doing simple tasks. Start training them now to do simple things. Also, your teenagers' attitudes will not be welcomed. Start teaching them now to do what they are told. I understand that mistakes might be made and sometimes teenagers do not understand time tables, but they will be doing what they are told to do.

8. A good attitude will go a long ways for you to being able to stay here. We are not work all the time people, but we are not play all the time people either. I know some tasks will not be what you want to do, but I do things all the time I don't want to do. That doesn't mean I get to be grumpy about that. I also understand that if you are coming here, something traumatic has happened and you might not be a good mindset. However, you are responsible for your attitude, your emotions, and your reactions. I will only put up with a bad attitude for so long...

These may seem pretty harsh, but that is the way it is. We are preparing for worse case scenarios and can't afford to think that something might not be as bad as it could be. I know more people means more work, more food, and more planning. I can't really afford to be relaxed about preparing for the worse case or for more people.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Thoughts - October 15

Happy Sunday, everyone!

What has been going on around here? We have been dodging more raindrops which hasn't been very good for getting things done again this week. The garden and the chicken coop are a muddy messes. We have some good weather coming this week and hopefully the ground dries up a bit.

We are still harvesting from the garden which is awesome. The grape tomatoes, a scant few tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers are all that is left. I pulled the peas along with the weeds today. I was a little disappointed with the second planting of peas, but the weather conditions have not been ideal. I did get a small bowlful that will work with a meal this week. I pulled one of the two grape tomato plants which was done. I also pulled the cucumber plants because they were done producing too.

The chickens are doing great. They are still eating their way through our yard and the feed. We are getting 14-16 large eggs a day. I do have a few new regular egg customers which is great. Now I am doing some research on meat layers and which breed I want to have. We will probably start with 25 meat chickens unless my coworker wants to have some too. Then we will be doing at least 50 birds.

Now, more than ever, am I glad we are learning these skills. I am very happy to have a well producing garden and chickens for eggs. I am thrilled that we are talking about expanding next Spring with meat birds and possibly a couple of feeder pigs to raise for the freezer. Even though homesteading and self-sufficiency is gaining popularity, I want to be ahead of the trend. I want these skills because you never know what is coming down the tracks.

Yes, my Spidey senses are tingling. We live in a very uncertain world which is getting more uncertain by the day.While there are some very good people out there, there are some people who aren't good. They are people who are willing to make the best out of a bad situation. And then there are people who would rather steal your hard work rather than do their own work. These are the people that worry me.

I am worried about a lot of things right now. World events, our bickering government, and more potential threats is making me want to close up the holes in our prepping. Homesteading and self-sufficiency is part of my prepping. I have been adding to our food storage, Rob has been searching the sale sites for things we need, and we are just trying to get organized and get stuff done. I hope you all are too.

Thank you for the emails after last week's post! I plan on getting back to each of you, but my online time was fairly limited this last week. It seemed like if I wanted to return emails or messages, I got interrupted!

In case you missed it, I posted one of my family's favorite meals last week. We eat this Easy Skillet Spaghetti almost every other week.

Please keep the people in California in your prayers. Losing your home to a fire is devastating and I can't even imagine trying to put your life back together after that.

What have you been up to this week? What is worrying you?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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