Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook Book Review


(This book was sent to me to review. I am not being paid to review this book, however, there will be affiliate links attached to this review. There is no pressure or expectation to purchase anything unless you feel like this book would be an awesome addition to your library!)

One of the major areas of food storage is dehydrated food. Dehydrated food lasts a long time stored properly. However, this area of food storage can be a little tricky. Can you dehydrate that food? For how long should it be in the dehydrator? How do you store it once it is done? How do you use it again?

Those are some good questions, but my friend Shelle Wells has the answers for you in her book, Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook: Long-Term Food Storage Techniques For Nutritious, Delicious, Lifesaving Meals. She covers all areas of dehydrating food. She tells how to dehydrate food even if you do not have a dehydrator (but you should have one!).

She covers all sorts of foods to dehydrate in this book too: herbs, vegetables, fruits, meat, frozen fruits and vegetables, and more. She covers how to make your own fruit leather. She also tells you how to make your own powdered soup that you can just add hot water too for instant soup! She also gives you great recipes to use your dehydrated deliciousness to make some great dishes and desserts.

This book will be a very important book in my cookbook collection as well as a great reference book for my food storage. I found this to be one of the most complete books on dehydrating that I have seen or owned. I think you will find this to be a very important part of your food storage books too.

In addition to this book, Shelle also offers a free three-day mini-challenge so you can master the three fears of dehydrating! I suggest you check it out!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 6, 2018

My 10 Favorite Frugal Living/Financial Books To Read and To Give


Finances are a hot topic any day. We are all looking for ways to save money and ways to better spend our money. With daily and monthly expenses threatening to overwhelm us, who wouldn't be interested in how to make our dollars go further?

Financial preparedness is just as important as emergency preparedness. We need to be ready for anything. Making a dollar go further, saving money, and getting out of debt should be at the top of our prepping lists.

So we all need good frugal living/financial books around to give us good tips and advice. I love to give these books as gifts when I can. Just like preparedness minded books, these books only serve to help people live a better life and be prepared for whatever hits them.

These books have all been read by me personally, either as a paper copy or on Kindle, and would be books I would read over and over again if I can.

My 10 Favorite Frugal Living/Financial Books to Read and to Give:

1. The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn (My favorite frugal living book, hands down!)

2. America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams by Steve and Annette Economides

3. Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree

4. Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames

5. The No Spend Year: How you can spend less and live more by Michelle McGagh

6. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey (okay, just about anything from Dave Ramsey is recommended reading. I don't totally agree with him, but if you need your finances put on the right track, he is the one to read.)

7. How To Manage Your Money When You Don't Have Any by Erik Wecks

8. Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup

9. The Homemade Housewife: The Last Book You Will Ever Need on Homemaking and Frugal Living by Kate Singh (Kate Singh has a few books on saving money and being frugal - they are all good!)

10. Why Did They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Money Management Principles To Live By: Cary Siegel

These are ten of my favorite frugal living/finance books, but there are so many more to read.  I have plenty of them loaded onto my Kindle or in a pile of books to be read.

What are some of your favorite books in the frugal living/finance areas? Please list them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
20 Books To Give Your Favorite Prepper (And Non-Prepper) for the Holidays!
The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Shop Small Businesses This Holidays!


The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. Why do corporate businesses come before small businesses? Because they have the money for advertising and mind control. They have bigger budgets, more staff, and more time to infiltrate your consciousness and convince you to spend your hard earned money on them.

However, small businesses should be taking precedence this holiday season and all year round. Why? Because small businesses are the backbone of this country. We couldn't live without them. All corporate businesses started out as small businesses and grew to be bigger than they should have been. Now a lot of them are failing to leave small businesses to pick up the slack.

Small businesses provide quality products and personal customer service. Small businesses provide attention to detail that corporate stores don't take the trouble to provide. The biggest reason of all to support a small business is because that money is going directly to the person providing the product or service which in turn helps support their families.

How can you support small businesses? By being a customer and becoming a loyal customer. By telling your friends and family about them. By providing top reviews on social media sites to draw more people to their business. By doing what you can to help them flourish.

I am going to provide several small business links below. If you know of any others that would be of interest, please provide a link and a name in the comments so we can all check them out! Thanks!

1. The Organic Prepper Bookstore - Daisy has her own printable and downloadable books in this collection of books as well as a book by yours truly, Selco Begovic, and Lisa Egan.

2. My Amazon Store - While Amazon is a big corporate company, they support a lot of authors, small business owners, and bloggers. They provide a place for them to sell their products on a much larger scale to provide a better income. My store has links to a lot of these people as well as some items that I find invaluable. (If you sell items on Amazon, please let me know so I can link to them!)

3. Customized Food Storage Plans by The Merrill Project - Charisse will help you put together a food storage suited to your family needs and tastes. She has a seven, fourteen, and twenty-one recipe plan that can help anyone!

4. Build Your 72-Hour Kit for $95 by The Merrill Project - This $7 PDF will give you a complete list that you can take to the store to purchase items for your 72-Hour Kit. This is an excellent resource to have on hand and to be more prepared!

5. Electronic Emergency Binders by The Merrill Project - These electronic binders would be a great addition to anyone's preps. You can customize them for one person or six people. They can be stored on an SD card for easy transportation or printed out if you wish.

6. eBay stores - honestly, most eBay stores are small businesses. Most of them are supporting families or are a side hustle to make some extra money. A lot of the sellers sell things that are brand new or are in excellent used condition. Consider them in your holiday shopping this year. The link to my eBay store is https://www.ebay.com/str/ericasbooksandmore. Another great eBay store is https://www.ebay.com/sch/farmhousefavorites.

7. Never Buy Bread Again by Laurie Neverman - The woman behind Common Sense Home has a great cookbook on baking bread with twenty in-depth recipes to make you a more confident bread baker. Pair this with a loaf pan and a bread knife and you would have an excellent gift!

8. By Robin - Robin is an excellent artist and designer who makes one of a kind cards, jewelry, glass etchings, and anything else you may want to be designed. Take a look through her pictures for samples of what she can do.

9. Abby's Elderberry - Want to really support a small business and a family? Abby's Elderberry Syrup is the business of a young lady who dreams of buying a horse! Elderberry syrup is a powerful immunity booster for colds and cases of flu and would be a great present for anyone!

10. Madelyns Wreaths - Madelyns Wreaths makes wreaths, quilts, and other crafts. They make some very neat one-of-a-kind items that would be lovely gifts for anyone!

11. Simplicity Soaps - Everything is made by hand in her own kitchen. Soaps and lotions make an easy present for almost everyone on your list. They also make great additions to stockings and gift baskets!

12. Nomadic Knot Designs - She makes crochet items that are always appreciated. You can purchase crochets stocking hats as well as the popular messy bun hats!

13. From Dirt to Dollars: A Guide to Selling at the Farmers Market by Annie Coombe - Know someone who may be interested in selling their products? This very informative book would be a great gift for someone who gardens a lot or always seems to have extra produce. Selling at the farmers market should not be scary and Annie helps you do it the right way!

14. Joyful Aprons - An apron is a delightful present for almost everyone! Joyful Aprons makes really cute, really fun aprons at a reasonable price. They even offer maternity aprons!

15. 4 Cross Stitch Needle Minders/Needle Keepers - Do you have someone who loves to sew on your list? These are great for keeping the needle from getting lost! These would also make a great stocking stuffer or part of a gift basket.

16. Scott Family Farms Honey Bees and Christmas Trees - You really need to check this site out! They have honey products, bath and body products, homemade soaps, home items and more. So many products! If you live in Georgia or near their farm, they also have Christmas trees for sale.

17. River Botanicals - They also have some great bath and body products that would make great presents. You definitely could purchase one of each and have a very cool gift basket for a loved one.

18. Busy Hands Quiet Hearts Knitting Patterns - Pia has six wonderful knitting patterns for any knitter to try. With yarn and needles, you could have a lovely present for the knitter in your life.

19. 3 Children's Books by Kat Mendenhall - These excellent children's book by Kat would be a fun gift to give to a child and nurture their minds with books. They are stories about her goats and her dog. The titles are Moo Moo Sue, Howdy Howdy My Name is Rowdy, and How Buddy Found His Bark. They are $10 each or $28 for all three plus postage if mailed. You can contact Kat at katmartywrite@gmail.com for ordering or any questions.

20. Lilla Rose - Leah Terry - If you are looking for well-made, cute hair clips, pins, and headbands, this is the place for you! They have some really good deals and a lot to choose from. From thin hair to thick hair, they have you covered!

21. The Productive Gardener E-Course - Dana from Piwakawaka Valley has developed a great e-course to help you or be a great gift for a gardening friend. This is a twelve-month course that gives tips, tricks, and lots of advice to become a better, more productive gardener.

22. Artisan Bread - The Art of Sourdough Ebook - Dana from Piwakawaka Valley has also written a wonderful book about starting and making sourdough bread that also features a troubleshooting section. This would be a good present for the baker in your life!

23. Artsy Inspirations by Tina Tompkins Ames - She has a delightful collection of cards, adult coloring books and pages, gift boxes, soaps, and more. There are neatly boxed sets to give to friends or something small for stockings and gift baskets!

24. Ready Gardens - Ready Gardens has a variety of garden items and seeds for the gardener on your list. You can get seed kits, survival seed banks, seeds, and free growing guides. They also have a Little Gardeners Starter Kit for the child on your list to get started on the wonders of growing a garden!

This is just the tip of the iceberg for small businesses and authors. There are so many more out there. Like I mentioned earlier if you have a small business or have a product you want others to know about, drop the link and a description in the comments below. (If it appears to be spam or just plain nasty, I will delete the comment.)

(This post contains some affiliate links, but mostly just direct links to the businesses. I am only profiting from three of these links which help to support this blog and my family. The rest of the links is supporting their own businesses and their families.) 

Thanks for reading,

Erica

Related Posts:
Stay Home on Black Friday. Shop Small. Shop Local. 
20 Books To Give To Your Favorite Prepper (And Non-Prepper) For The Holidays!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!


One of my favorite gifts to give and receive for any holiday is books! Almost everyone reads books. Beyond that, reading increases knowledge, brings pleasure, and is generally a good way to relax. 

These are my favorite prepping fiction and non-fiction books to read and to give. You can give most of them as an e-book, but I recommend a hard copy to keep in the home library. If you can give the e-books as a downloadable book, this would be good too so the recipient can download and print the book. 

You will see fiction and non-fiction on this list. While most preppers like non-fiction, non-preppers will enjoy fiction books more. Sometimes the fiction books do more for opening the eyes of non-preppers than any talking to them will do! 

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles. (This is my favorite prepping book ever!)

2. Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles (Fiction and the first book in a fantastic series!)

3. Going Home: A Novel (The Survivalists Series Book 1) by A. American (Fiction and another great series.)

4. One Second After by William R. Forstchen (Fiction and the first book of another great series)

5. CyberStorm by Matthew Mather (Fiction and being developed for a movie)

6. 36 Hours (The Blackout Series Book 1) by Bobby Akart (Fiction and an author with at least four great series)

7. The Longest Walk by Ron Foster and Pat Lambert (Fiction and very eye-opening!)

8. Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Live-Savings Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living by Jim Cobb (Non-fiction and another fantastic resource to get better prepared)

9. Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel (Non-fiction)

10. The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr (Non-fiction and this would make a great stocking stuffer!)

11. Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford  (Non-fiction)

12. A Year Without The Grocery Store: A Step by Step Guide to Acquiring, Organizing, and Cooking Food Storage by Karen Morris (Non-fiction)

13. Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient When The Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison (Non-fiction)

14. Prepper Supplies Checklist: A Simple Guide to Emergency Preparedness by Nettie David (Non-fiction)

15. The Prepper's Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods by Daisy Luther (Non-fiction)

16. Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival  Book 1 by Joe Nobody  (Fiction)

17. Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book of Simple Living and Happiness by Gary Collins (Non-fiction)

18. Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation by Linda Loosli (Non-fiction)

19. Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens (Non-fiction)

20. The Prepper's Yearbook: Prepare for Emergencies Large and Small with 5 Budget Friendly Tasks Per Month by Erica Nygaard (Yours truly! Download and print!)

There should be something for everyone on this list. From the non-prepper to the experienced prepper, you should be able to find something for the special people on your list! 

(This post is riddled with affiliate links that support many authors who also happen to be friends and associates of mine! Please consider supporting one of these fine people who do this for a living and with the purpose of wanting you to be better prepared. Thanks!)

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts: 
Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Book Review
The Survival Savvy Family: Book Review 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Prepper's Yearbook is available for sale!


The Prepper's Yearbook is available for sale!

This is a dream for me as it is the first book I have ever written! I wanted to make prepping as simple as possible for you! As the title suggests, this book will give you five tasks every month to help you be more prepared. You will be able to download this book and print it off to make it easier for you to keep track of your prepping.

My goal in prepping is to be as prepared as possible while staying on budget. I understand money can be tight and I don't want prepping to be a burden to anyone. This book can help you with that too. You will also find that this book leans toward the homesteading and self-reliant side of preparedness. While that is the way I like to be prepared, this book also addresses preparing for emergencies and natural disasters. 

Some of you might remember that I wrote a blog series about five prepping things to accomplish in a month. This is based on that, but I have totally revamped the months, added challenges, and added even more information and tips for you to be better informed and prepared! 

To purchase this book, click on this link https://sowl.co/Hkvz3

After your purchase, watch for an email from Send Owl that will provide you with a download link!

Thank you all for your support! This would not have happened without all of you! 

Thanks,
Erica

Monday, May 14, 2018

Simple 72 Hour Kits: A Step-By-Step System for Busy Families Book Review


Simple 72 Hour Kits: A Step-By-Step System for Busy Families by Misty Marsh is a great book about building your 72-hour kit in a way that will be comprehensive and easy to do. Many people find putting together a kit like this intimidating (including me!), but she lays it out in such a way that will not overwhelm you. I like how she breaks down building your kit in simple weekly bites and lets you custom tailor it for your family. 

Misty gives great tips and ideas on how to build your kit for your family and specifically your kids. I know some of you do not have kids, but a lot of information for 72-hour kits are geared towards adults. She lets you know how they deal with young kids and how much she thinks they can carry in a backpack. Kids as young as six are capable of carrying a pack with clothes, shoes, food, and a few other necessities.

I also like how she lays out this kit for three full days. Your 72-hour kit should last you three days when you can either return home, buy more supplies, or find a shelter. She doesn't address weapons or ammo, just the necessary items for surviving three days if you need to evacuate for any reason. 

She is very honest and real about her kits. She admits to not being able to afford everything for their kits at once. She makes the 72-hour kit affordable with giving ideas for cheaper options as well as more expensive items. By breaking down this kit over 26 weeks, most people can afford to put together a 72-hour kit and do it with items they already own too.

I would highly recommend this book. Admittedly, we do not have 72-hour kits because we do not plan on having to leave home. However, I have rethought that idea. We do not know the reasons that we may have to leave so having these on hand would be better than not having them. 

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, July 19, 2017

Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Book Review


One of the topics that come up for discussion at our house is living off-grid or what we will be doing if the grid fails. Our whole house is electric which causes stress and anxiety because we are so dependent on the grid. To alleviate that stress and anxiety, we have been looking at ways to become less dependent on the grid.

When this book came in the mail, I was ready for it. We have needed the information that Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook provided.

First of all, I love their focus on renewable energy and using renewable resources. One of the many flaws I see in prepper's off grid plans is that there is a heavy dependence on fuels (gas, diesel, and propane). Those supplies will eventually run out even though you hope to not be without power for that long in those situations. I would rather spend the money on renewable resources that will not increase our dependence on the grid and on the supply.

Second of all, I really, really appreciate the technical information that the Fiebigs provided. Everything was broke down to understand the different off-grid energy power sources. They had recommendations for items and systems they used.

We didn't know what system would fit our future and present needs. We didn't know the technical information behind a solar panel system. We didn't know what could handle the wattage we could be using and what appliances we can not use on a solar panel system. The Fiebigs provided the information in a way that we can understand it.

We were lost on generators too. While we still see generators as a back-up solution and not a permanent one, it was good to know the pros and cons between different types of generators. We didn't know which one was best. Now we have a better idea of what generator would be best for our needs.

Third and last, I liked that they talked about their trials and errors too. They have lived this off-grid life for five years. They started out small with a 15 watt solar panel and kerosene lamps. They have come a long ways from that first day they went off-grid. I liked how they shared this information and what worked best for them.

The Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Alternative Power, Energy Storage, Low-Voltage Appliances and Other Lifesaving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living by Alan and Arlene Fiebig has a permanent spot in my reference library. I have a feeling we will be using it often! I hope you take a look at this book and add it to your reference library too!


Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review


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!

(The giveaway has ended and a reader was selected. I have deleted the giveaway part.) 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, February 10, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, February 9, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,
Erica



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Survival Savvy Family: A Book Review



I just got done reading The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski. Julie is a fellow blogger that asked for others, including me, to review her book. I love her blog, Home Ready Home, and thought she would write a pretty good book.

I was wrong. This book isn't just pretty good. This book is fantastic! If you want to get your family prepared and ready for survival, this book is it! 

Julie covers critical survival and preparedness topics such as:
  • Having a family emergency plan
  • Getting an emergency kit together
  • Getting your pantry in order and getting your food storage built up
  • Being medically ready
  • Being financially ready
  • What to do away from home
  • How to deal with power outages
  • Whether to bug in or bug out
  • Dealing with natural disasters
  • Preparing for house fires
  • What to do if your home is broken in
  • Personal safety
  • Getting the kids prepared and teaching them to be safe
Julie also has worksheets and comprehensive checklists in her book that will help you and your family to make sure you have everything you need to be prepared. She has a checklist for what to have on hand for your pets in an emergency situation, what and how much to pack in your child's to-go bag, and more.

She tells her story about why they started preparing and also gives a lot of personal examples throughout the book. I like when an author can help the reader by personally relating to the reader. It helps the author be more credible in their subject matter. 

Even though I was provided a copy of this book for review, I would have bought it anyway. Julie is a great blogger and author and she really proves it with The Survival Savvy Family. I think this book should be in your preparedness library as well as given as a gift for those families you know are struggling with being prepared. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Happens When The Computers Suddenly Don't Work Anymore?



Back in 2011, I wrote an article about being without a computer for three weeks because the computer died suddenly. I have been thinking more about that lately. So much has changed with computers and technology in general in the last four years.  

Our phones can do dang near anything we want them to. We have so much more social media options now. We now have notebooks and pads that function as mini computers. Four years ago, I had a Kindle that did nothing, but download books without graphics. Now Kindles are all that and more. 

The point is we all depend on computers and relevant technology way too much anymore.

Need proof? 

We "pin" every thing on Pinterest to remember it for later. 

We "google" almost every topic we could possibly interested in.

We look up videos on YouTube to find out how to do just about anything. 

We save links on Facebook to remember them for later reading or for super cool ideas.

We bookmark pages, posts, and anything else we might want to remember for later on the web.

We get updates by email that we can put into a folder and save for later. 

I am not saying these are not great tools to use and have because I am just as guilty as you all are. If you have managed to avoid these traps, kudos to you. However, most people have not which then begs the question:

What happens when the computers suddenly don't work anymore?

Step back and think about all the things you use in a day that requires a computer. That alone might scare you! Would your life as you know it be over with? 

I know mine would take a hit. 

Here is what you need in order to survive without technology:

Print off the materials you need. You found a great reference site on the net. You love that one blog post so full of great information. Awesome. Now hit print so you aren't lost without that information later. Better yet? Put that into a binder marked with the topic it pertains to so you can find it even easier later.

Start buying and using the reference you need to live without computers. Shop the thrift stores and garage sales to pick up cheap reference materials. Make a list before you go for the books you want. Keep an open mind though. Also check out Ebay and Amazon. They have a lot of used books for cheap prices. Read the books and make yourself a reference library. 

Start learning the skills you think you need to live a life without technology. Here is the thing. Having all those books are great. Reference materials are invaluable. However, you need to actually learn the skills that those books talk about. Do you have books on hunting? Great. Start learning how to hunt then. Get your hunting license and start aiming/shooting. 

Practice everyday living without computers. Put down the phones. Find something to do that doesn't involve having technology. Build a garden box and start a garden. Use a hand saw and trim some trees. Get use to some hard, satisfying work. Go for a walk and pay attention to the flora and fauna around you. You might need that information later.

Develop some hobbies that do not rely on technology. Some people are caught up in technology. Their phones are their hobby. That needs to change. Start reading those aforementioned books. Take up needlework and hand sewing. Practice whittling on sticks. Buy your kids toys that don't need technology to run them like blocks and Legos. Go camping. 

Learn to live without technology altogether. If we don't have computers anymore, we will lose a lot of other services too. Like almost single one. Make a plan to deal with loss of garbage, electricity, sewer, water, gas, and transportation services. Start to live a life without the need of those services. They might come back after awhile when they learn work without technology. 

What would you do without technology?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, May 29, 2015

How My Favorite Books Have Influenced My Homesteading Life


I grew up in love with the Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables books. I still love them. I still read them all the time. I love the adventures of Anne, Laura, and the people they loved and encountered. I love how they dealt with the situations they found themselves in and their daily lives.

What I loved most was the lives they led. I realize that Anne was a fictional character, but she was based upon a life that Lucy Maud Montgomery knew and lived. I also realize that while Laura was not a fictional character, some of her stories was a bit embellished. That really does not matter to me.

What I took away from those books was the principles, ethics, and morals of those stories. I love how work was valued and laziness was considered an abhorrence. Even when they appeared to be relaxing, they mending or knitting in their hands. Sunday was their day of rest and they treated as such for the work they knew they had to do in the coming week.

I love how everyone was expected to help, everyone had their chores, women were in charge of their homes, and opportunity was not to be wasted. The girls were taught to how to keep a house and housekeeping skills at an early age. Laura was given a chance to become a teacher and took it so Mary could stay in school and have the things she needed. Anne was given the chance to go to Queens and to college so she could support herself as a teacher. She never expected any of that, she took the opportunity, and she graduated at the top of her class.

Work could be hard, but work was never shunned. They either had the skills or learned the skills to do whatever was needed. Work was very rarely ever hired out although a hired man may be needed to keep up with the work. Sometimes Pa had to work away from home to pay the bills, but he did it knowing it was necessary. Neighbors helped each other out by lending tools, putting up the harvest, and building homes.

They all experienced hard times. Anne was very graceful about her time before she came to the Cuthberts, but life was very hard for her as an orphan and a hired girl. The Ingalls family lived a pioneer life, uprooting several times before settling down, and always starting over on new ground. Both had babies pass away just hours/days after being born. Anne dealt with her sons serving their country by joining the army and going to war. Laura and Almanzo's house burned down. They both reacted to difficult situations with dignity and grace, not complaining or playing victim, but by doing what they could to make the situation better.

Being frugal was a way of life. Neither of them had any choice. However, thrift and frugality was concerned a great thing. They didn't have closets stuffed full of clothes. Often they had just 2-4 dresses. Dresses were made, made over, taken apart so the material could be used for a smaller dress, and made into quilts. Dresses were made with extra material so the hems could be let down when children grew taller. Clothes were carefully stored away so they could be used again in some way. Clothes were hand sewn for the most part. Ma was thrilled when she got a sewing machine so she could get her sewing done faster.

Many things were fixed until they could not be fixed again. Nothing was replaced unless it was wore out. Many things were hand made. Everything was carefully taken care of so it could be still be nice and last longer. While general stores were available, money was carefully spent there. Shopping was not a daily thing. They took pride in making their own things and hand made items were treasured keepsakes.

Food was not wasted. Meals were simple and made from simple ingredients. For the Ingalls, Sunday meals were beans and cornbread because they could get the ingredients easily and beans could cook overnight. Holidays and birthdays were for special dishes. Anne's Susan would make everyone their favorite dish on their birthday or when they came home from being gone a long time. Candy was a treat reserved for special occasions. Meals and snacks were almost always eaten at home and were definitely home made.

Vacations were never heard of until later in both of their lives. A trip to see family was very occasional. Dates were rare, but Anne and Laura went to socials, lectures, readings, and church. Courting was "going for a drive" in the horse and buggy. I love the sweetness of that! Anne and Laura were not "boy crazy", although they knew girls who were. School, family, friends, and their duties were the focus of their lives.

Children were expected to behave and taught early on to behave. They were expected to be seen and not be heard. They were not allowed to be disruptive, rude, dishonest, or a nuisance in any way. They were given a "talking to" or firmly reminded how to behave. Often Ma would point out how the girls should be behaving and making sure they were not "loud" or "boisterous". Marilla would tell Anne she was talking too much and to pay attention to her chores.

In my mind, life seemed simpler for them in that time. The work was harder than we could imagine and thrift was a necessity. However, they were not bombarded with technology, activities outside the home, and other things that take us away from being home and doing what needs to be ourselves. Too many people don't take pride in caring for their homes, having a meal on the table, and being content with what they have.

I am not perfect either. My house is a controlled chaos most of the time. But every time I read those books (which is often!), I remember how I want to be and what I want to strive for.

Except for wearing dresses.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb


Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper's 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness written by Jim Cobb is a comprehensive guide to setting up and organizing your preps, gaining skills, and becoming knowledgable over the course of a year. Jim is a preparedness expert having written five books on the subject of preparedness, writes for Survival Weekly, and is the owner and lead trainer for Disaster Prep Consultants.

What I liked about this book is that Jim broke down what you need to be prepared in an easy-to-follow, weekly plan. He tells you what you should get, what you need, and why. I like that he doesn't tell you why you should prepare, but how you should prepare. I also like and agree with him that prepping takes time. Most people do not have the money or time to be prepared in a month or two.

Being prepared, having the skills, and gathering the goods you need takes time. He also tells you that some of the weeks may take longer than a week to do or to acquire the equipment needed. He is conscious about the fact that not everybody can afford the items he suggests at the time he recommends getting them. He recommends that you put away money every week so that you can afford those items when you find them at a good deal.

What I like the most about this book is that he emphasizes skills and knowledge. Having skills and knowledge will keep you alive longer than just having things.

I feel guilty that I should have had this review out six months ago, but I actually started following the book myself. Jim gave me a few things to think about and exposed some of the holes in my own preps. I also knew that I need to increase the amount of food I needed in storage and started following his recommendations on that too.

I love this book. It will be a permanent fixture in my preparedness library. I will also be giving it out as Christmas presents this year to some people on my list that I know are interested in prepping, but aren't sure where to start. I will also be sure that my kids have a copy when they move out of the house. And I highly recommend this book to all of you!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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