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

Monday, May 22, 2017

10 Prepping Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer!


Summer is coming! The kids will be out of school very soon and will need ideas to keep them out of trouble and off your nerves. Teaching kids prepping should be at the top of your list of things for them to do. We put a lot of emphasis on adults knowing how to prep, but we really should be teaching the next generation how to prep too.

Remember: our goal in raising kids is that they are self-sufficient when they leave home. While we should expect phone calls on how to do things, we want them to know the basics and be able to care for themselves.

I am gearing this list towards first grade age kids and older. You obviously know your kids better than I do. You can be the judge about whether they are ready and responsible enough to learn these prepping skills. However, always teach your kids about how to be responsible while doing these activities.

10 Prepping Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer!:

1. Camping. Even you can only camp out in your yard or at the county park five miles from your house, teach your kids to camp. You should be teaching them that the outside isn't scary at night. You can be teaching them how to cook without electricity. You can teach them to explore, forage, identify markings/plants/tracks, and pay attention to their surroundings. You should not allow any devices to come except for a cell phone and that is only used for emergencies.

2. Building and making a fire. You can teach them to how to gather kindling, sticks, and logs to build a fire. You can teach them how to light the fire without using a lighter or a match (although those methods are not bad to know either). You can teach them about fire safety. You can teach them about maintaining the fire.

3. Build a solar oven. There is several plans online to do this. I think it is a really neat idea and totally doable. If you have kids who are in 4-H and need a fair project or need a science fair project for the next school year, this is a great idea. After building it, you can experiment with cooking different things in it like brownies or chicken.

4. How to cook on a grill, camp stove, and other non-electric methods. While I always teach my kids to cook using the stove top first, I like to start teaching them alternative methods when they are older. Teaching them to grill is a good skill to learn so they can feed themselves if the power is out. If you have a rocket stove or something similar, they should learn that too.

5. Gardening. Kids are naturally curious so gardening is a great activity to do with them. You can teach them how to plant different vegetables, how to recognize the plant when it is growing, how to weed, and how to care for the plants when they are growing. You can also teach them how and when to harvest the fruits and vegetables. You may want to give them their own garden plot, but I don't do this. I have my kids work alongside of me in the garden and explain to them that is everyone's responsibility to provide food for our home.

6. Hiking. Like camping, you can teach them to explore, forage, identify markings/plants/tracks, and pay attention to their surroundings. You are also working on physical fitness for you and them. You are also teaching them endurance and stamina for when you might have to walk a long distance or work for longer than normal hours.

7. First aid. We are very fortunate that first aid is taught in most of our high schools in Iowa, but I think it should be taught when they are younger. I think kids should know how to treat a cut, a burn, and a skin reaction (itching, sun burns, bug bites, and allergic reactions) while still in elementary school. I think they should know to the basics of CPR. They should know how to treat someone who is choking. They should know how to call 911 - not just the number, but knowing their address or location, being calm while calling, and how to state what is happening to the victim. You can role play a lot of first aid situations and make it a fun game while emphasizing the seriousness of what they are learning.

8. Fishing. Teaching your kids to fish is a lifetime skill. They can learn fish identification, what is edible or good to eat, and how to catch them with hooks and lures. Not sure how to fish yourself? Find someone who is willing to teach you and your kids. There is usually plenty of fishermen who are willing to show someone else how to fish. Also, be aware of your state laws. In Iowa, residents and nonresidents over 16 years of age need to purchase a fishing license. If you are fishing trout, you will need to purchase or pay a trout fee.

9. Archery and gun shooting. Shooting and target practice is a great way to build skills and learn responsible gun and bow handling. Kids are young as 7 can learn to shoot. I would purchase a bow and arrow set in their age and size range for comfortable handling and less learning frustration. Also, get a lot of arrows. You are bound to lose a few.

A BB gun is a great way to start a kid shooting. With a BB gun, they can learn to sight in and target practice with a gun and ammo that is way cheaper than .22 ammo would be. When they show they can responsibly handle a gun, you can move them up to a .20 or .22 gauge rifle or shotgun. This is the process we have decided on at our home, but you can decide differently for your kid.

10. Reading. I am a very, very strong believer in reading. I think it gives you a solid foundation for every area of your life. Just because school is out doesn't mean they should not be reading. If your kids are younger or willing to listen, please read to them also. Find some good fiction and non-fiction books on survival and preparedness to read.

Some of my favorites are:


I know there is a lot more to do with your kids in the summer that would expand their preparedness and survival skills. Let me know in the comments what you like to do with your kids in the summer to help with their skills!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, May 15, 2017

Have You Trained Your Kids To Work? What Will They Do When A SHTF Happens?


Kids are natural helpers. Especially when they are younger and they want to "help" with everything. Many parents take advantage of that help and let the kids help them. That is the start of training your kids to be good helpers and workers around the house and the yard.

Doing chores and being expected to help inside and outside the house helps develop skills. Kids become contributing members of the household which helps lighten the load for the parents. Kids who are expected to help and do chores learn a better work ethic and become valuable members of the workforce and society after they leave home. They also learn responsibility and manage their home and work lives better.

However, there are parents who believe "that kids should be kids". They have no chores, no responsibilities beyond school, and no expectations besides getting good grades and being a good person. They are coddled and spoiled. They do not learn responsibility beyond school. They do not learn skills or accountability. The parents do everything for them.

What is going to happen to those households when the SHTF happens?

They are going to self-implode. The parents will be doing everything they can to survive and their dependent children will not know what to do. Instead of pitching in and helping to clean the mess or secure food and water, they will want to know why they can't eat right now! Instead of working to make the situation better or at least tolerable, they will be in a tizzy because their cellphones and smart devices are not entertaining them!

We would all like to believe that kids will naturally just step in and help because the need has arose. We would like to believe that they will just instinctively know that they are needed and will rise to the occasion. Some kids will do this, I am sure. However, in this day and age, I do not believe that most will do anything. That would be work and they know nothing of work.

We are seeing a rise in an entitled, selfish culture that is being fostered by parents who believe that their precious darlings should have and do whatever they want. They are overly involved at school, not involved at all, or they are considered special because they are really smart. They go to college and think they are special because they are enlightened with their college education. They get degrees in areas that will not really transfer into a career that will actually support them. And, for some reason, they get some really crazy ideas about life while they are in college.

Can you imagine what will happen when a SHTF happens to them?

I am not saying all kids and young adults are like this, but I am seeing a really disturbing trend. This trend that says this kids do not know any life skills, were taught very little responsibility, and would not survive at all when a SHTF happens. They will expect and demand that someone else takes care of them and this situation. They will be crazy when they find out no help may be coming.

That is why kids need to be trained to work. This training starts early when they want to "help". You are teaching them early that their help is a valuable contribution to the household. When they get a little older, daily and weekly chores teaches them responsibility and accountability. When they are preteens, they should be expected to help whenever asked in addition to their regular chores. By the time they are teenagers, they know what needs to be done inside and outside the home.

You are teaching your kids to work. You are teaching them to be valuable, contributing members of the family. Kids are not perfect. They may need reminders and lists about what needs to be done. You will have to teach them what to do and how to do it. There is always going to be a right way and a wrong way to do things. You will have to teach them safety. You will have to teach them the skills they need to know like cooking, gardening, keeping a home, and taking care of animals.

However, when a SHTF happens, the kids will know that they are expected to help you. They may not know exactly what to do, but they know to listen to you and to take your direction. When you ask them to grab a broom or shovel to clean up the mess, they will do it. When you tell them to cook supper, they will do it. 

Should kids still have fun? You bet, but you are teaching them that life is about getting the necessary things done so they can have fun. Parents should not be shouldering the burden by themselves. Kids need to learn that they are living under the roof provided by the parents and can help to take care of the house. Sometimes they will argue and whine, but you as parents need to be firm, insist on the chore being done right, and not to be afraid to give consequences if not done.

You are raising adults. They may be kids now, but they will be adults that the rest of the world will have to deal with later. Just like they need to be trained to work now, they will be ready to work later as an adult because they know that is expected of them. So whether they are living at home or on their own, when a SHTF hits, they will be ready to help in anyway they can and they can take care of themselves.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, May 8, 2017

Ten Great Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Prepping and Homesteading Moms In Your Life!


Mother's Day is coming up soon! I know some of you may have had your gift picked out weeks ago, but some of us have not! Some of you may not exchange gifts and that is totally cool and wise too!

I was surfing Amazon today wondering what they recommend for Mother's Day. Usually, I get a pretty good laugh at some of their suggestions. However, I like some of what I am seeing this year. I thought I would make a list for you to find something practical and perfect for that special mom in your life!

(Yes, this article contains affiliate links. You are under no obligation to buy, but the commission I earn helps my family and homestead out! Thanks!)

Here are ten great ideas for that prepping and homesteading mom in your life:

1. A Good Garden Hose. There is definitely a difference between a regular garden hose and a GOOD garden hose. A GOOD Garden Hose is one that doesn't kink, is at least 100 feet long, stays soft and flexible, and has good ends that don't smash easily. I really like what I am reading about this hose!

2. Cast Iron Skillet. I am huge believer in using cast iron skillets. I like that they can be used on the cooktop, on the grill, and over the campfire. I think every household needs one, especially mom! While you are it, get one of these hot handle holders! They will save your hands!

3. Garden Tool Kit. I love a good garden tool kit. Every 3-4 years, I buy myself a new set because the handles get worn out or the tools get cracked or bent. This set would be a good present for your favorite gardener!

4. A Set of Mixing Bowls. I like a good set of mixing bowls especially if they are stainless steel and one of the bowls can hold at least 12 cups for canning recipes. I have a good set of stainless steel mixing bowls, but I think these bowls would be a great gift for any mom.

5. A Battery Powered Drill. Every woman and household should have a drill with drill bits and screw driving bits. I have a Black and Decker drill that works great. This drill also comes with a project kit which would be great around the house and homestead!

6. A Stepladder. Most of us women are not usually tall enough to fix the things that need to be fixed. I have found a stepladder to be indispensable! I am only 5'5" so I always need a step stool or chair to reach what I need. This stepladder would be much safer than a chair for that special mom in your life!

7. Work and Garden Gloves. I was not a gloves type of person until a few years ago. I got really tired of cleaning up cuts and picking thorns out of my hands. I do not use the same gloves for work projects and for gardening. My favorite work gloves are these Ansell gloves that Rob turned me onto. I love these gardening gloves from G & F. They are nitrile coated on the inside to get a good grip on those weeds!

8. Canning Set. I love my Ball canning set that I got a few years ago. It makes my canning go so much easier! Even if that mom in your life is an experienced canner, she might appreciate a new set. Sometimes we have problems letting go of our old, overused things! Also, be a good one. Give her some new jars too!

9. Aprons. Seriously. I get so tired of getting stains out of my clothes that an apron would have prevented, especially during canning season! Having extra pockets are handy too when collecting eggs, seeing what is ready in the garden, and/or holding screws and tools. Aprons are awesome!

10. Sewing machine. Every good homesteader and prepper knows that eventually they will have to fix something that will take more than a few quick stitches. Also being able to make your own things is pretty cool. That is why I recommend a sewing machine. I think everyone needs to learn to sew by hand and by machine.

What would you add to this list? What would you like to get for Mother's Day or Father's Day?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?


In doing some research about influenza, I came across the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. This happened during World War I and affected everyone on both sides of the ocean as well as across the world. It affected soldiers as well as citizens. It is estimated that 50 million people died during this epidemic. That is compared to the 16 million people who died during World War I.

One of the things that was missing from this epidemic was antibiotics. They simply did not exist as a medicine during this time. Antibiotics in an usable form was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. However, antibiotics are rarely used for any influenza viruses. We do have some medications now that will treat influenza.

It is unlikely though that antibiotics would have been effective anyway during the epidemic of 1918. The influenza epidemic came in two phases. The first phase was less severe and most people recovered from it. It came in back a few months later and killed people within hours to a few days. Most people died from the fever and fluid filling their lungs which suffocated them. The disease affected people ages 20-40 the most.

Doctors and scientists were at a loss at how to treat this influenza. They could not control or stop the disease. Remember, there was no Center for Disease Control at the time. That was not established until 1946.

Don't remember learning this in history class? I didn't remember learning it either. However, what can we take away from this?

1. It was not treatable. They believe the strain during this epidemic was the H1N1. Influenza strains can be mild or develop a variant that can make them deadly. Since very little was known about influenza then, it was almost impossible to treat. Today's influenza strains are proving harder to treat. Flu shots do not cover all strains of influenza. A strain or a variant in the strain of influenza could be strong enough to not be treatable or controllable.

2. It affected strong, healthy adults the most. The age group that was affected the most was 20-40 years old. This is a group of people who are at the peak of life in terms of health and vitality. The problem with that is this is also the group of people who would be the most social group especially in 1918. Even today, people in that age range rarely stay home. The disease would be able to spread very quickly because people are constantly going. They go to work, kids' activities, social gatherings, and college.

3. It was not controllable. This influenza strain spread very, very quickly. People were given poor advice on how to not catch the disease and how to treat the disease. We now have the Center for Disease Control who would hopefully be on top of the disease. We also now know the best way to treat the symptoms of influenza. We also know that we need rest and to stay home to keep influenza from other people.

Do you think this could happen again? Many people do. Are you ready for the next influenza epidemic? An influenza epidemic of the proportions that occurred in 1918 would be considered a pandemic now.  We hear threats of pandemics now that could happen. How would you survive the next pandemic? What do you need to do to get ready?

1. Get a sick room ready. You should have a room, preferably a bedroom, ready to be a sick room. You should have some medical supplies ready in that room like a thermometer, ibuprofen, hot water bottle, instant cold packs, face tissues, disinfectant spray cleaner, trash bags, face masks, and disposable gloves. You may also want a pandemic flu kit in that room for the people treating the sick.

2. Have white towels, wash cloths, and white bedding ready to use. You want linens you can wash in very hot water or even put in boiling water to disinfect. You can also use bleach on white linens without issues. You want to have extra linens so you can change the sick beds quickly and wash the infected bodies without worry.

3. Have rolls of heavy plastic to cover surfaces like the bed, the floor, the windows,and the doorways. You have to think about disease control going in and out of the house. You are trying just as hard to keep the disease out as well as keeping it controlled in your home.


4. Keep some chem suits on hand. You may want to completely cover up to deal with a sick patient or having to go into infected areas. A chem suit with boots and gloves would be the ideal solution. You will also want a face mask and eye protection to keep safe.

5. Have one person who would be dedicated to taking care of the sick. The less people exposed to the sick person, the better the chances for everyone to stay healthy. Having one person designated to taking of the sick will keep everyone healthier. Having a designated respite person for the caretaker would be a good idea too.

6. Have a plan in place for death. In a pandemic, death is inevitable. What will you do if someone dies? As morbid as it seems, you may want to have a body bag on hand. You also want to have a plan for disposal of the body. Where will it be buried? Will you bury the body? Those are your decisions alone, but having a plan will make those decisions easier.

7. Do not go anywhere if you don't have to. During a pandemic, being a homebody is your best bet for not catching the disease. Having a good food storage, water storage, and a disinfected home will be wise.


No one wants to think about getting sick much less think about a lot of people getting sick. We like to think with all the technological and medical advances we have now, another influenza pandemic will not happen again. However, new strains of diseases are being developed all the time in nature and in labs. We can not be sure this will not happen again. In fact, it is likely to happen again.

What will you do to protect yourself during a pandemic? Do you think we could have another influenza pandemic?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, May 1, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In May


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

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

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in May:

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review & Giveaway!


Disclaimer: I was given a copy and asked to review this book. The opinions of this review are mine.

The Prepper's Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods by Daisy Luther was a book I was looking forward to buying and using for this upcoming gardening season. I have almost every book by Daisy so I knew this would be a book I would want to get. 

Do you know who Daisy Luther is? If you don't, please check her out at The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com. She also runs Prepper's Market which is a food storage company with delicious tasting food for your food storage! She is also co-founder of Prepper's University which helps new and current preppers get started in prepping and keep their prepping in good shape!

This book did not disappoint! I will be canning almost every recipe she supplies in the book. They look delicious. Some of the canning recipes are a little out of the box with recipes that can be canned any time of the year as well as recipes for main dish meals and soups in a jar. She also has canning recipes for condiments, leftovers, and canning your own recipes. 

She also takes a lot of time to focus on traditional canning, how to can, and canning safely. She is an experienced canner so she knows how to can correctly and safely. That is something I can definitely appreciate! 

What I like most about this book (besides the recipes!)? I love that this is canning book geared towards preppers. She gives valuable advice about how to can in a grid down situation. She lets you know what works and what doesn't work. As a prepper, while I like to figure some things out for myself, I don't have time to figure it all out. Daisy cuts through the guessing process and lets you know that it may be harder than you think to can over a wood fire!

I like this book so much that I can going to do my very first giveaway! That's right! I am going to give one of these books away to one of you! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, April 3, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In April


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

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

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

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

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

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

What prepping things do you hope to accomplish in April?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, March 30, 2017

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


I have a renewed interest in prepping.

But, Erica, I thought you were a prepper!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves (For Preppers and Non-Preppers)


We all like to think we are straight shooters. We are pretty honest with ourselves and with others. However, being humans, we all have the ability to put our heads in the sand. We don't want to see when something bad is going to happen. We don't want to recognize the signs that trouble is on the way. We don't always want to take precautions to prevent problems.

Why is this? Because of the biggest lie we tell ourselves:

That will never happen to me (us). 

Most of us say this at one time or another. I know I have. We then find out we were wrong. Bad things will happen to us. That is just an universal truth. It doesn't matter if you are a prepper or not. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. Bad things will happen, but how you handle it will be your doing.

For preppers, we like to think we know what is going to happen to us. We know what natural disasters could hit us, what catastrophic events could happen, and what every day life events could rearrange our lives. We like to think we are prepared for anything.

However, we can get arrogant. We think we have it all planned out. "That will never happen here or happen to us" is a phrase that gets thrown out to prove how much we know and what we expect will happen. However, when I see what some preppers are prepping for, I cringe.

Here are some of the things I don't always see preppers think about:

  • Are you ready to see what happens when you lose your job or income resources?
  • Are you ready to lose your home through fire, natural disaster, or foreclosure?
  • Are you ready to bug out somewhere else besides your home or one and only bug out shelter?
  • Are you ready to be handicapped due to an accident?
  • Are you ready to stranded in your vehicle or another location away from home for several days?
  • Are you ready to deal with limited supplies if trucks can't deliver goods or there is a gas shortage?
  • Are you ready to deal with having your supply and other things stolen?
  • Are you able to defend your home and family without a gun and ammo?
  • Are you able to live without running water for several days or deal with a tainted supply?
  • Are you ready to relocate yourself and your family quickly when a situation does happen?

We like to think we have planned for all of these things, but that is pure arrogance. Life throws curve balls. I know I don't have all things things addressed and they are things I really need to address. We might have things standing our way to get these things addressed. Money is a factor. Time is a factor. Life is a factor. These things need to be addressed. By saying "That will never happen to me", we are saying we don't want to think about or address these things. We are being ignorant and foolish.

For non-preppers, all those questions pertain to you too. I know by talking to some of you that you have all the confidence in the world that nothing bad will happen to you. You almost act surprised and offended by even suggesting such a thing.

However, you need the biggest wake-up call. I understand wanting to be optimistic and wanting the world to be a happy place. I also want those things and would even call myself an optimist. I am also a realist who understands I have no control over some of these bad things happening. You really need to be too.

Do you want to know why you need to realize that these things can happen to you? Because:

  • You are the ones on television wondering why FEMA isn't there with supplies yet.
  • You are the ones wondering how you will support your family after you lost a job that you never thought you would lose.
  • You are the ones who will be relying on the kindness of others to help you after you lost your home.
  • You are the ones who will be on government assistance because you cannot support yourselves anymore due to an accident.
  • You will be the ones who are helpless when your home is invaded and robbed because you have no means to defend yourselves. 
  • You will be the ones with no place to go when you are forcibly evacuated from your home.
  • You will be the ones who will starve or die of thirst because you had no food or water set aside for crisis situations. 

Do you think I am kidding? I am not, but I really hope you are never in those positions. I hope you start to believe that bad things can happen to you and you need to be prepared. Even FEMA recommends at least a week if not three weeks of emergency water, food, and supplies.

Do not lie to yourselves. As preppers and non-preppers, we can be too arrogant to realize that bad things can happen to us. We can always be better prepared.

And non-preppers? You are not too late to the party. Start prepping!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why Is A Whistle Important To Carry With You Every Day?


Many people have things they carry with them every day. Also known as everyday carry, we all have items that we carry on a key ring, in our pockets, on our belts, and/or in a holster. These are items we couldn't live without or wouldn't want to be without in case of an emergency or a situation. 

One of things I carry on my key ring which I carry in my jean pocket is a whistle. This is absolutely one item I wouldn't want to be without. I work in a place where we can not carry a weapon although our customers can. While this can be a problem (but never has been), a whistle can help me in a few ways. 

Blowing a whistle while in distress can alert co-workers that there is a problem. A loud, repeating whistle generally will get their attention or a customer's attention that I need help in some way. Whether I am inside or outside the building, I will almost guarantee to get someone's attention to get help. Yelling can work, but a whistle is usually louder and shriller and will get attention quicker.

Outside of work, having a whistle on the farm is also handy. If I am in distress on the farm, I can get attention faster using a whistle. While we try to work together when we are outside, that is not always possible. Having a whistle can be used more effectively to get attention and help.

Being out in public, a whistle can be your best friend if you are in distress or being attacked. When you are in distress or being attacked, the best thing you can do is blow that whistle if you do not have another way to defend yourself. Even if you can defend yourself, blowing a whistle can still get you help faster. 

Having a whistle can also help you get help for someone else. If you are near someone who is hurt and you don't feel comfortable or safe to leave them, you can blow the whistle for help. If you see someone in danger or being attacked, you can blow the whistle foe help before you try to help the endangered person(s). 

Having a whistle is not a replacement for defending yourself. It is a way to bring attention to yourself if you need help. While I would still defend myself or others with all that I have and can, having a whistle can definitely be a life-saving measure. That is why a whistle has a permanent spot in my every day carry items. 

What else should you carry in your every day carry? Let the other Prepared Bloggers tell you!

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations. Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge! But, even if you're just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?


Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends. 


John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have. 

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won't be caught without her handy water filter

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day. 

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate. 

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you'll always go back for...your cell phone.

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe. 

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes. 

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it's gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Please check out everyone listed! They all have great advice!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, March 13, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March


March is a fun time of the year! You never know what kind of weather you will have, if Spring will actually come in March, and if Winter will ever end. Below, I have a few things you can do this month to keep the winter doldrums at bay and make the time go quicker!

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March:

1. Buy plastic and plywood for your windows in your house. We recently had a hailstorm near us that caused a lot of damage. Many homeowners had broken windows from golf ball sized hail. Having a some plastic to put over your windows will keep your home protected from the elements until someone can come and fix it. Also keeping a roll of black plastic will be handy in case you need to black out your windows for any reason. Plywood is another good way of covering up your windows if they break or have the potential to break in a bad storm.

2. Make your evacuation plans. While winter is still here for another month or two, the fun Spring and Summer weather is coming. Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and other wonderful weather will be here before we know it! Now is the time to make an evacuation plans or review your current plans. Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:



  • Where will you go? 
  • How will you get there? 
  • What alternate routes can you take? 
  • Where is everyone going to meet? 
  • Which vehicle(s) will you be taking? 
  • What will you take with you?

Put a copy of this somewhere safe or in your bug out bag. Make sure everyone in your household knows the plan. The most important part? Practice, practice, practice this plan!

3. Add foods to your food storage that do not require cooking. Sometimes, in times of crisis, having food that you can just grab and eat is wonderful. You might not always have time to cook or the resources to cook food. Some good ideas to have in your food storage:



  • Meal replacement bars
  • Protein bars
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Jam or jelly
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Packets of chicken or ham salad and crackers
  • Packets of cheese or peanut butter and crackers
  • Cereal bars

4. Sharpen your tools. If you are a gardener, now is a good time to sharpen your shovels, hoes, trowels, and other tools. If you have knives, now is a good time to sharpen them whether they are for the kitchen, personal carry, shop, or outdoor use. Keeping your tools sharp can make a job go faster and prevent injury from dull tools. And no one likes a dull tool.

5. Daylight Savings Time means check your batteries time. Daylight Savings Time is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you do not have these, now is a good time to get them installed. March is also a good time to check your fire extinguishers to make sure the pin hasn't been pulled and nothing has gotten rusty. You should also take the time this month to make sure the kids and the adults know what to do if there is a fire: how to get out the house, use the fire ladder, where to meet outside the house, and how to call for help.

What do you have planned for March?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, March 3, 2017

Prepping and Decluttering


I have a new video on YouTube today talking about prepping and decluttering. While the two things seem like they might be in conflict with each other, I talk about the process we are going through. 

Some things I will never get rid and I talk about those. Some things are not worth holding on to and are taking up valuable space. What you keep and what you get rid of is a personal decision, keeping too much can cause problems in times of crisis and even bugging out. 

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks,
Erica



Monday, February 27, 2017

12 Must Have Items For Prepping For The Elderly


One of the areas of prepping that does not always cross one's mind is prepping for the elderly. We all have older people in our lives who will need us in a situation or a crisis. Most of us are planning on our parents or grandparents joining us if they need a place to stay. We may have the elderly neighbor who may need our help. We may have an aunt or uncle who need us.

The elderly have things they need that we may not think of. We may not want to think of us ever needing them, but the truth is we probably will. Having these things on hand will make life much more comfortable for the elderly as well as making them a more functional part of the household. In a SHTF situation, every capable person will be needed in any way they can contribute. Keeping these items on hand will make that situation better for them and for you.

12 Must Have Items For Prepping For The Elderly

1. Eyeglasses. Many will have their own, but sometimes people do not need glasses until much older. Some older people will only need magnifying reading glasses or "cheaters" to see for reading. I would keep a few of these on hand in varying strengths (+1.25, +1.50, +2.00). I would also keep an eyeglass repair kit on hand for maintaining the glasses.

2. Canes and Walkers. The elderly people staying with you may need some help getting around. Canes and walkers help provide stability when an elderly person is not walking as steady as they used to. They also help to regain mobility after a fall or an injury.

3. Incontinence Pads and Underwear. Elderly people have a harder time with their bodily functions sometimes. The bathroom might be too far away. Their muscle control may not be what it used to be. These are handy to have on hand, just in case.

4. Denture Cleaner and Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste. A lot of elderly people have dentures or teeth that are worn down. Keeping some denture cleaner on hand will keep the dentures in better condition. I would also recommend getting a denture repair kit to have on hand too. For those that have teeth are a bit sensitive, keeping some sensitive teeth toothpaste will help with that problem.

5. Easy to Dress Clothing. Hands and fingers may not work as well as we would like them to when we get older. Elastic waist pants, tee shirts, and shirts with snaps are easier to put on and will help them keep their dignity. You may want to have velcro shoes. You may also want to get some dressing aids that will help them dress themselves.

6. Warm Clothing. One of the things that happens to the body as we get older is that we lose our ability to keep warm. Older people get cold quickly and need layers to stay warm. Warm cardigans, sweaters, sweatshirts, and heavy socks all help to maintain body temperature.

7. Compression stockings. These will help with muscle fatigue in the legs, keep the varicose veins and leg ulcers from forming, improve blood flow, and help with swelling in the legs. During a crisis, the elderly may need to be on their feet more and compression stockings will help with their comfort.

8. Safety items. When hosting an elderly person, you need to realize they do not get around as well as you do. Showers and bathtubs need railings to hold on to. The stairs will also need railings, even just 2 or 3 steps. You will need lights or the ability to light an area in hard to see spots. You are trying to minimize accidents that could seriously impact your home in times of crisis. An elderly person falling will add more work to what can be an overburdened workload.

9. Food. Of course, the elderly need food. However, their food needs change as they get older. While they may enjoy the same foods as everyone else, they may also have special diets. They may need to follow a diabetic diet or a gluten free diet. They may need softer foods that they can chew easier. They may need easy to digest foods if their digestive system has issues.

10. Medications. You will need to have over the counter medications for them. Some medications are geared towards older people and you should pay attention to that. I would also keep vitamins and supplements for them also because their bodies need more immunity and functional support. As for prescription medicines, I would encourage them to get the longest supply they can get. For example, if they can get a 90 day supply, I would do it. Hopefully, you can find a way to stockpile their prescription medications without problems. I do not encourage withholding medications from them to start a new stockpile.

11. Hearing aids and/or batteries. Many older people will need hearing aids or will have hearing aids. You can purchase hearing aids used, but some hearing aids are geared towards a specific problem. You also need to keep several hearing aid batteries on hand. Batteries will last for only 3-14 days on average and depending on use. I would also keep a kit on hand to keep the hearing aids clean and in good condition.

12. Items that are easy to use and will make life easier. Large barrel flashlights, large barrel pens, and other items are so much easier to use for arthritic hands. A magnifying glass will make books and papers easier to read. Item grabbers will be great to get items that are too high and it will keep them off a chair or a ladder.

What would you add to this list? What things do you think you would need if you are an older person?

Thanks,
Erica


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Monthly Update From The Homestead - February Edition


February is here! The month of love, the month of cabin fever, the month of boredom...

Actually, we haven't had much in the way of cabin fever. The month started out cold, but today we will be in the 60's for temperatures! In February! I will take it!

Just to have a thunderstorm and snowstorm at the end of the month...February you fickle....

We are just patiently waiting for Spring to come by trying to get stuff done indoors. We are still working on that bedroom that I hope to have the painting done by the end of the weekend. We have the floor done. (YES!) The walls have been given a couple coats of paint to freshen it up, but we decided to go back and do the trim. It needed to be touched up and I couldn't match the original color so I decided to do it again. While I am doing that, the ceiling will need to be done again. And the quarter round will need to be bought, painted, cut and attached. So much fun!



I still want to get the upstairs hallway painted too this winter. That should not take as long, but I am not sure what to do about the trim. The paint on the trim is enamel based which means it will not be painted over well. I might just rip it off and put new trim on. We haven't really talked about it yet.

All the upstairs doors also need to be addressed. A few of them need to be sanded down and stained or repainted. Hinges are the big problem and will probably need to be replaced. Rob has been constantly re-tightening screws and they seem to come loose again.

All those things above? The joys of living in an old house. The reasons I hate tackling remodeling projects. One thing turns into another thing to fix and to do. Plans get bigger and more work becomes involved. Ugh. I love the finished project, but I don't love the mess and constantly changing plans to get there.

Otherwise, I have been still hauling things to the thrift store. I am stunned by how much stuff we have gotten rid of. I have been finding even more things that I really thought I needed, but really don't need or use. However, I am going to start entering the sentimental things area of decluttering and I am not sure what I will do then.

I hope to start tomatoes soon in the seed pods. I might get a grow light to help with the growing since I lack good southern exposure in my house. I really want to start growing my tomatoes from seed. I spend way too much money on tomato plants!

Since I like to save money, Rob and I have been really examining our utility bill. We are both fully committed to seeing that bill drop considerably. We have ideas as to what we want to do and what needs to be focused on. We are both appalled by how much it has gone up. We are also baffled by a few fees on the bill, namely an access charge that costs us $37 a month no matter what. 

We haven't done a lot of prepping lately. This is not because we are comfortable with the state of the world today. We are far from being comfortable. We have been looking at guns and did go to our first and second gun shows in one day. We walked away with empty hands, but it is great to handle the guns and know what feels comfortable in our hands. We have also been exploring off grid options so we aren't screwed if the electricity disappears for awhile. 

Sometimes, prepping isn't about what you purchase. Sometimes, prepping is about the research and the decisions to make the future easier.

What have you been doing in February?

Thanks,
Erica



Friday, February 10, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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