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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Could We Handle Food Rationing Now?


In WWI (somewhat) and WWII definitely, food rationing was one of the few ways that governments in the United States and Britain could keep the soldiers fed as well as its citizens. Everyone was expected to do their share and stay within the guidelines of food rationing. In addition to the food rationing, citizens were heavily encouraged to "do their part" in their duty to their country by growing food and making every bit count.

Citizens were encouraged to make do. They were encouraged to start their own Victory garden and supplement their own rations. They were encouraged to forage and eat food they weren't accustomed to thinking as food. Food waste was a sin and they were encouraged to stretch their rations as far as possible.

In Britain, food rationing started in 1939 and lasted well past the war. They were under food rationing until 1954 while Britain recovered from the war. Food rationing started in 1942 and ended in the United States in August 1945 except for sugar which lasted until 1947. Soviet Union was under food rationing from 1941 - 1947. Fruits and vegetables were not rationed, but could be restricted for lack of supply unless you grew your own. For the most part, governments found out that their citizens were healthier under the food rationing system than before and after WWII.

Could we handle food rationing now if and when it should happen again? That is hard to say. Many people would have a very difficult time under the food rationing system. Processed food is much more prevalent now than it was during the 1940s. People are not as creative with food as they could be. Cooking from scratch is becoming a lost art. People are also not nearly as patriotic as they were during the first two world wars.

People are used to having food when they want it and how they want it. People in general are much more impatient now. Imagine being told you can only have so much food and you have to make a choice about what food you can have. Plus, people were encouraged to eat less meat during the war and choose cheaper cuts of meat to eat. Meat is a hefty part of a lot of diets now. People would have to make some severe changes to their diet that probably would not go over well.

Obesity is also a problem in the United States and Britain now.  People are used to eating a lot of food, making not so good food choices, consuming a lot of sugar, and not moving enough to deal with the excess food. Food rationing would be a tough adjustment for those people who suffer from obesity. If you struggle with your weight, now would a good time to start making changes before they are forced upon you.

Processed food is much more accessible now than 70 plus years ago. We also have a lot of manmade ingredients that were not even available back then. Processed food and these ingredients have brought about the advent of cheaper and easier to eat food. This definitely cheapens the cost of food, but depending on why we are being rationed we may not have access to the ingredients.You might also see more processed food being rationed because the ability to make it might be restricted.

Creative cooking and cooking from scratch is almost a lost art. While many people during those two wars were well-acquainted with cooking from scratch, now many people rely on processed foods or premade meals from the grocery store. Eating out is also at an all-time high as parents find it easier to go through the drive through or stop at a sandwich shop to feed the family. Food rationing would be a shock to those that would have to learn how to meal plan, read recipes, and cook creatively for possibly the first time in their lives.

We have many, many more people in our population now than we did then. We have more mouths to feed and more people in the inner cities who do not have access to cooking, growing, or forging food. While poverty existed in the 1930s and 1940s, we have still have a widespread and bigger problem with poverty today. Many people struggle to eat every day and rely on soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and the kindness of people just to get fed. What would happen to those people and those places when food rationing happens? Would the government provide for those places and for the people who need them? Would churches and charities still be able to support them? There is no clear cut answer on this problem.

SNAP benefits would certainly be reduced to reflect rationing as money would not be as available for this program. We would need to divert money to our country's defense and military. While individual states control what SNAP benefits could be spent on, the benefit amount would certainly be reduced. With the advent of food rationing, I could also see the government controlling how they could be spent. Only certain foods would be covered and nothing that would seem like a "luxury" grocery item.

People are also not nearly as patriotic now as they were during those wars. The contempt for our government now is at an all-time high. Take away or reduce someone's SNAP benefits and you could have a riot on your hands. Tell people they need to do their "duty" for whatever situation brings on food rationing and reduce their consumption of food, not have certain products available, or be restricted on what they can buy - I cannot even imagine what would happen. We have lost our loyalty and ability to stand as Americans against the world and do what is necessary to come out on top. The reaction could be violent and intense.

But mostly, we have lost our ability to be self-reliant. I love seeing homesteading, prepping, and self-sufficiency on the rise because more people are interested in stockpiling food, growing and foraging for food, raising livestock, canning and preserving their own food. Those are the things that will help you survive food rationing. Doing what you can to supplement food rationing and stretching food as far as it can go will only serve you well. Managing food waste will be critical. Being self-reliant will be the only way to survive food rationing.

So, could we handle food rationing now? I think we can, but it will be a huge adjustment and will probably have some riots happen as some groups of people do not handle well being told what to do even if the cause is great. However, we all have adjustments we need to make, skills we need to learn and maintain, and preparations to make. We need to be ready just in case because the event that brings on food rationing here will not only affect us as a country, but globally as well.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related links:
Nine Ways to Beat The Food Rationing System When It Happens Again
Ten Lessons Learned About Food From The Depression and Wartime



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dear Preppers, Please Don't Ignore Your Eyes!


As preppers, we try to prepare for what we can. We stock up food, water, and first aid supplies. We try to learn and practice new skills. We read and read some more books and blogs. We do what we can.

However, all the prepping in the world will not do you any good if you can't see well.

This happened to me recently. I noticed over the last couple of months that I was overly tired at night, having headaches frequently and lasting for quite a while, and reading/doing computer work at night was getting difficult. I didn't take me too long to realize that I should probably schedule myself an eye doctor visit.

I haven't been to the eye doctor in about 15ish years. I simply didn't see a need to go if I wasn't having any issues. I am pretty good about taking my kids every year because all of them wear glasses for one reason or another. I wore glasses for a couple of years as a kid, but I grew out of that problem. However, 15 years is too long to go without going to the eye doctor for myself.

I found out that I will need glasses for seeing up close and far away, but a pair of cheap reading glasses will work just fine for now. Down the road, I will need more and I am aware of that. I also have a bit of a light sensitivity issue, but I wear sunglasses religiously so that should be fine. I can 100% attribute this problem to being on the computer a lot, a mobile device that I use too much, and being a bookworm. My eyes are simply tired of working that hard to see.

As preppers, our eyes are one of our most important assets.We need to see and see well! How else are you going to know the difference between an edible plant and a poisonous plant? How are you going to know if someone is a friend or foe from a distance? And if you have to shoot something, you want to hit the target the first time, right? You certainly wouldn't want to confuse salt with sugar! You need your sight!

I know some of you are going to be stubborn about this. Even if you go to the eye doctor, you aren't going to wear glasses. Most people can wear contracts, but I still think you need to have a pair of glasses on hand. Some people would be candidates for eye sight correction surgery which would be worth looking into if you can afford it.

With having a prepper mindset, here are some things I would recommend:

1. If you are a contact wearer, get as many sets of contacts as you can. I understand prescriptions change, but you are better off with them than without them. Also, if you are contact wearer, you should have 2-3 pairs of glasses as a backup in case you run out of contacts or contract an eye disease like pink eye.

2. As mentioned in #1, you should have at least 2-3 pairs of glasses. Glasses can be really expensive, however, there are ways to save money. You can ask for your prescription from your eye doctor and order glasses online for a small fraction of the cost of glasses from the eye doctor. You can look at places like EyeBuyDirect or GlassesUSA for glasses that are much cheaper than in office.

3. Ask for your exact prescription from the eye doctor and keep it somewhere safe. You should have in your home medical files and on a card in your wallet. You just never know where and when you might have to replace your glasses!

4. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are important to your eyes too. You will not strain your eyes so much in the sunlight and will avoid snow blindness in the winter while driving/being outdoors. If you need prescription sunglasses to see, you can shop at those aforementioned places for a good deal.

5. Always wear eye protection when working with shop equipment, chain saws, guns, and chemicals. You should always protect your eyes when there is a chance you could injure them in anyway. Eye injuries can ruin your sight, cause blindness, or cause you to lose an eye altogether. Not worth the risk!

6. Along with having glasses, you should invest in a good eye glasses repair kit. While you might not be able to fix everything, you can replace or tighten screws, replace nose pads, and more.

I encourage you all to make an appointment to your local eye doctor today. You really don't want to be in situation where you can't see or read well and you knew you could have prevented it. You might also feel better when you start wearing glasses too!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

We Are All Preppers, But Some of Us Don't Know It Yet


Prepping is what it is. Exactly what it is. Prepping is getting ready for the future. We are mentally, physically, and spiritually getting ready for something that is going to happen. Whether that "something" is in an hour, a day, a week, a year, or sometime in the future, we are getting ready for it.

We can be preparing for anything:
  • We put money away for a rainy day. They are getting ready for something that could happen and they would need that money for. That is prepping.
  • New parents stock up on diapers, wipes, and formula so they don't run out. That is prepping. 
  • We shop garage sales and clearance racks for clothing and the next size up clothing for our kids so we are ready for them when they grow into them. That is prepping. 
  • We find a good deal at the grocery store and stock up on that item to have in the future. That is prepping.
  • We put money away for kids' college and other future expenses. That is prepping.
  • We save money for retirement. That is prepping. 
  • We pay for all kinds of insurance for anything that could happen. That is prepping.
  • We go camping and decide to "unplug and unwind" for the weekend. That is prepping. 
  • We take a first aid and CPR class. That is prepping.
  • We take a hunter's safety course. That is prepping.
  • We take up a new hobby and learn a new skill. That is prepping. 
  • We buy groceries for the week so we have food to eat. That is prepping. 

So many of the everyday things we do is prepping. Many people are so turned off by the term "prepper", but really we are all preppers in some way. We don't think about being a prepper because we are just doing things to prepare for the future or some future event.

While many people think of prepping as:
  • Stockpiling food
  • Building a bug out shelter
  • Owning a gun and several other weapons
  • Learning survival skills
  • Learning first aid
  • Turning the home into a fortress
  • Growing food 
  • Running drills
  • Making plans for evacuation, security, etc.

There is so much more to prepping. Trust me, those things just listed are important too. However, when you talk to hardcore preppers, they will tell you that they find the first list just as important as the second list. They often do things from both lists in the same day.

Prepping is what it is. It is getting ready for the future. We are all have different visions and paths for the future. Our lives change and we are always getting ready for the next stage in life. What you do and what you prepare for can be different than that of your neighbors, but you are both doing what you can to get ready for the future.

Some of us just may see "life" in the future: kids, jobs, college, weddings, homes, and retirement. Some of us may see more in the future - what can happen if something else happens. All of us prepare for the future so we don't have to worry about what can happen. We all have varying levels of preparedness. There is nothing wrong with that.

While some people just see "life" in the future, some of us see more. We see natural disasters, job loss, an uncertain economy, political and civil unrest, global problems, and much more. We choose to take our preparedness to the next level. We look for ways to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. We look for ways to intentionally be ready for what we think could be coming. Again, there is nothing wrong with that either.

Some of us do not see ourselves as preppers. We may identify as gardeners, hunters, cooks, woodworkers, and more. We may have fun tinkering in the shop. We may like to try new recipes on the grill and love to cook over an open fire. We may find target practice to be relaxing. We might think watching YouTube videos on how to do things or how people used to live in history fun. We may enjoy working on our own vehicles. We grow plants in our apartments.

The funny thing is that those are all "prepping" skills and learning. We may not see it as being prepared for the future, but those skills and learning may come in very handy in the future. When the power is out, but you can still cook a meal on the grill. You can cook a meal with whatever food you have on hand or in the garden when you aren't able to leave home. Your car needs a new battery and you know how to replace it. You can build a fire to keep warm. Any skill you learn will always come in handy sometime, but you just never know when.

Prepping happens every day and in ways we don't even realize. We don't realize that we are prepping because we just see what we are doing as getting ready for the future. The future can happen at any time. How much you choose to prepare and how far you want to take preparedness will depend upon you which is what separates preppers from each other. There is always someone you think will be too extreme in their prepping. There is always going to be that person you think should be doing more to get their act together. There are many levels of preparedness and only you can decide what level you are comfortable being on.

Just know this: We are all preppers, but some of us don't know it yet.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Prepper's Survival Navigation Book Review


The Prepper's Survival Navigation: Find Your Way with Map and Compass as Well as Stars, Mountains, Rivers and Other Wilderness Signs by Walter Glen Martin is a great tool to explore the world around you. It is a resource book, a tool, and a great learning book for using maps, compasses, and other ways to find your way around. He also talks about wilderness survival while using these tools.

For someone who can use a map, but not much else, I found this book to be a great source of information. I can't wait to start hiking this Spring and use the methods Mr. Martin described in his book. While I have knowledge of compasses, I learned I was not using them right nor to their full potential. I also learned some new things in wilderness survival by reading this book that I hope to practice also. Because reading about skills and actually practicing skills are two different things.

One of the things I would recommend about this book is to actually practice what he writes about. The very first chapter is about finding north without a compass. Right away, you are learning to use your brain to find direction instead of using GPS or a gadget.

The next thing I would recommend is buying the items he suggests using. He gives very specific instructions on what to look for in a good compass and a map. I would follow those recommendations. Mr. Martin was raised in the mountains, has worked in the mountains, and still lives in the mountains. Safe to say, he is very skilled and knows what he is talking about.

The last thing I would recommend is to go camping and use the skills he is talking about. You should take the book with you and practice building a fire, finding north without a compass, looking for landmarks and natural signs to point you in the right direction, and relax without a lot of pressure on you. While you may not want to be a survival expert, having the skills to survive in the wilderness will only serve you in good ways.

I would highly recommend this book. I think Mr. Martin brings some new information to this prepping atmosphere while being clear and easy to follow in the skills he is trying to teach you. I greatly enjoyed this book and can't wait to learn some new skills!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nine Ways to Beat The Food Rationing System When It Happens Again


Right now, food seems to be plentiful in America. There is plenty of it in the stores and you hear stories of how much food is wasted from restaurants and grocery stores. However, there are some factors that could lead us to a rationing system in a hurry if something happened. Those things do not even have to be catastrophic for us to be rationed.

In most natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, Red Cross and FEMA dive right in to help. However, they will only serve meals and/or give out limited amounts of food and water. Yes, many other people donate food and money when things like this happen, but what if they couldn't?

In WWI, the Americans were not put on a rationing system, but were asked to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat and wheat products. In WWII, Americans were put on a rationing system that became stricter as the war went on. Even then, this country imported a lot of food and supply chains were disrupted. In addition to that, the troops needed food overseas that would ship and travel well. We were asked to give up or limit certain foods to feed our troops which we did because we were patriotic and felt it was our duty to do so. Certain foods were not available because they were not in season or able to grow in the United States.

In today's America, this seems like a foreign concept. Food is literally everywhere! However, we have situations that can happen to start having our food rationed. Most grocery stores have only three days of food on their shelves in their storage rooms. If a blizzard or some other weather storm happens, those shelves will be wiped out in hours. Our local grocery store can be very short on supplies on Sunday because a lot of people get groceries on Sundays.

Now, imagine if there is a disruption in the transportation system. No trucks bringing food to the stores means a limited supply or no food to buy.

Imagine if we went to war again. A good deal of our food or ingredients for our food is imported. Less food coming into our country means less food to buy. That will not go over well with some people.

Imagine if you could not actually get to the grocery store. Some people are accustomed to shopping every day instead of once a week or two weeks. When food is rationed, often gas and tires are rationed too when will stop someone from going to the store every day.

Food will start to be rationed. Just like when food was rationed before, there will be a learning curve. People will have to adjust and some people will not adjust well. People will have to learn how to cook again and grow their own food. Some of those skills are completely lost in our inner cities.

What can you do to the beat the rationing system?

1. Food Storage. Now, more than ever, you need to have a food stockpile. No one knows how long food would be rationed for. No one planned for WWII to last for four years. There are still people recovering from the hurricanes last season. Puerto Rico is still getting on their feet and depending on FEMA and donations to feed their people (as of this post). Having a food stockpile is critical and having a year's worth of food is not out of line.

2. Grow Your Own Food. You will have to become your own supplier. If you start gardening now, you will have the skills to grow your own food. You don't even need a garden per say, but it is better to have a plot of land to grow food. However, use containers. Grow lettuce and spinach in pots inside the house. Grow tomatoes on the balcony or the patio. There are many creative ways to grow your food.

3. Raise Your Eggs and Meat. If you can, have some laying hens for eggs. Grow a few meat chickens for your own pot and freezer. If you can, raise more than chickens. Ducks, geese, turkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, and cows can all be raised for butchering. You would be addressing one area of food that was also severely rationed by the end of WWII and probably would be again.

4. Foraging For Food. You should learn to identify weeds and other edibles that can be cooked or eaten in a salad. This was done during both WWI and WWII with excellent results. A great book on foraging and identifying edibles is The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer.  Learning how to tap trees for syrup and collecting nuts should be skills to learn now too.

5. Start Keeping Bees. Sugar was severely rationed in WWII. People are even more addicted to it now than they were then. Keeping bees and producing your own honey would easily help replace sugar or at least keep sugar for more important things. During the war, people would save their sugar for the holidays or very special occasions. They would do without sugar most of the time. We all could benefit from having less sugar in our diets too.

6. Learn To Preserve Your Own Food. Learning to can and dehydrate will become very important skills during a food rationing time. Again, this is a skill you need to learn and practice now. Start simple with jams and jellies and work your way up to making meals in a jar. Getting a good supply of canning jars and canning lids will be crucial too. Metal for those lids could be in short supply. There is non-metal lids to can with also, but they also take time to learn how to use.

7. Learn To Use Everything and Waste Nothing. We can be a very wasteful society nowadays and we really need to learn to use it all up. We need to learn to eat everything, re-purpose leftovers, compost scraps, and feed scraps to the animals.

8. Get Creative. You will have to learn to cook from scratch. You will have to learn how to use food in ways you never imagined. You will have to learn to eat more locally and seasonally. You may have to have odd food combinations at the supper table. Learn to be creative with food and keep an open mind about how to cook and use food.

9. Try New Foods Now. Never had turnips or rutabagas? They grow just about everywhere so now would be a good time to learn how to eat them. They are just examples, but learn how to prepare and eat new things especially vegetables. People ate better on the rationing system when they had vegetables available to them. Learn to eat more vegetables and figure out a way for your picky eaters to eat them too.

Rationing is never an easy thing, but you can learn to use it to your advantage. If you take steps now to learn these skills and start storing food, you will have an easier time living on a food rationing system.

Some other articles of interest would be:
Food Rationing, Food Storage, and Wartime: We Have Much To Learn
Ten Lessons Learned About Food From The Depression and Wartime

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The 12 Hand Tools You Need To Have In Your Tool Box


Everyone should have a good selection of tools on hand to be able to fix almost anything. Whether you are prepper or a homesteader, you will rely on these tools to build and fix most things. If you are into frugal living, you want these tools to help you extend the life of your items and be able to fix them.

This is a basic list that we came up with. These are the tools we cannot live without because we use them so much. You will see them in our house and shop tool boxes. Yes, that's right. We have two separate tool boxes and we keep multiples of these tools. That is how important they are to us!

With this list of tools, you should be able to fix almost anything:

1. Hammer for pounding nails, removing nails, to pry things apart, and to "gently" coax something in or out of place.

2. Set of screwdrivers - Phillips and standard to loosen or unloosen screws.

3. Socket Set - standard and metric sockets for working on household projects and vehicle maintenance.

4. Wrenches - standard and metric. Also a set of crescent (adjustable) wrenches for working on household projects and vehicle maintenance.

5. Pliers - regular, needle nose, and side cutters for holding things in place while you work on them, for twisting things into or out of place, and to cut wires or zip ties.

6. Visegrips (locking) pliers for clamping things in place or to get a better grip to loosen up items that seem to be stuck.

7. Hand Saw for cutting boards. A Hack Saw is also very handy to have to cut styrofoam, to shorten screws. and to cut some plastics like hose or PVC.

8. Utility Knife for making straight cuts, to cut something off, to scrape away caulk or glue, and can be used in place of scissors.

9. Tape Measure to measure items and rooms as well as where to cut a board.

10. Carpenter L Square for measuring accurate corners for cutting and to make certain your corners/walls are square.

11. Level to make sure you are attaching something to the wall right and level. You also use this for making walls, stairs, and much more to make sure everything is straight.

12.Carpenters Pencil and/or a Permanent Marker for making the mark to know where to attach something or screw something in as well as knowing where to cut.

You need to get yourself a good tool box to store these in. The amount of tools may be too much to store in a portable tool box, but these standalone tool boxes are great for storage and organization.

We know some of you will argue that if the grid goes down, you will need more including a hand drill. We get it. However, this is a basic 'everyone should have these tools' kind of list. You should have these tools on hand whether you live in a van, apartment, or house, single or married, college student or older, and urban or rural dweller. 

Fixing your own things will save you so much money. Nowadays, if you don't know how to fix something, there is probably a video online that will teach you! The Family Handyman website is also a great source of do it yourself and fix it yourself information!

Thanks for reading,
Erica and Rob


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Prepping Is Like Being On A Professional Racing Team...You Have To Do The Right Things To Win!


We watch a fair amount of NASCAR. I am continually impressed by the amount of strategy, teamwork, and hard work that goes into this sport. The drivers work hard to be in good condition so they can endure the 500-600 laps races. The teams have meetings to figure out what they can do better and how to improve their chances at winning. When it all comes together, victory is sweet.

Prepping is or should be like that.

As a prepper, you have should have a plan or a strategy. You should have attainable goals and be seeking to accomplish them. In racing the team wants to win, of course. However, they set their goals to be improving their time, their position, and have a better performing car. You should be looking to improve your skills. You should be continually working towards your goals. You should have a plan for what you are preparing for and how you can be ready. You want to win at prepping too and that is only achieved when a situation hits and you are ready. In the meantime, you should be looking to improve all the time.

Notice I mentioned "team"? Yes, you can prep alone and a fair amount of people do. However, prepping is a lot more effective when you have people who are helping you and prepping alongside of you. Whether you have a prepper community, group, neighbors, or your family, your prepping will go a lot smoother and be better when you have people on your team. Just like these racing teams who have a driver, crew chief, pit crew, and car builders, you should have a team of people who are willing to be part of your prepping success too.

You should be talking your "team" too so that you are all on the same page. On a racing team, everyone has their roles and their jobs. Whether your team is just your family or a group, everyone should know what they are doing in a situation. Everyone should have their roles and their jobs assigned and they should be practicing what they need to do. I also think people should be cross-trained in case a person is down or not able to perform their duties.

In professional racing, the driver and the pit crew are in better condition than a lot of athletes. Sitting in a hot car, racing hard for 3-4 hours, and having to be constantly aware and on alert during the whole race is a lot for a driver. That takes a lot of endurance and endurance is only created by working out intensely. These drivers run marathons, bike 30-60 miles at a time, participate in Ironman competitions, and/or workout intensely every day. Their pit crews are the same way and most of them were college/professional athletes. That does not happen by sitting on the couch, watching YouTube, and wishing to lose weight.

As a prepper, you need to be in that kind of condition. I encourage everyone to start prepping, but I really encourage everyone to start taking care of themselves. I am not in the best shape either, but I am trying to lose weight and workout more too. We need the same endurance that professional racers and pit crews have to get through the race. We need to workout, walk, run, bike, swim, and do whatever we can to be in the best condition possible so we can survive whatever situation we are preparing for.

Preppers also need to make sure they have what they need to survive a situation. You need the right tools to survive just like a racing team needs the right tools to work on the car and make the car the best car on the track. You need a good shelter, food, water, cooking source, heat, and all the other things preppers need to survive and thrive. You need the right tools.

Sometimes you might wonder if you have the right tools, but you never know when you need them so you should always have them. For example, I rarely use my camping stove except to try it once in a while to make sure it is working. However, I don't want to be without it because I can cook with it if we are out of power. When you get a glimpse of the NASCAR haulers, you see a lot of toolboxes and closets. They bring everything with them because they might need it. The same goes with your prepping items. You might need it so you should have it.

Which brings me to another point: you should probably have more than one. Yes, the phrase is 'two is one and one is none' in prepping. The same goes for most professional racing teams. They bring replacement parts, cars, fire suits, and a lot of other things just in case they need it. Your prepping should be similar. Do you have more than one way to cook food, gather water, resupply your food stockpiles, and make a fire? You need to think about having more than one way to do things and having more than one of everything.

You might have thought what can prepping and a professional racing team possibly have in common, but the answers are pretty clear. We can all learn a lot from watching others and sometimes even sports. Prepping takes a plan, strategy, teamwork, endurance, the right tools, and a good supply.

How do you think you can improve your prepping?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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


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