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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Want to be taught the BASICS?

If you want the basics of how to do almost anything for Prepping you have a huge amount of informative videos to choose from on youtube.  I have my absolute favorites and have most of them in my links on the right hand side of this blog.  I have Everyday Food Storage for lots of basic information on long term foods for storage. There is also a series on Dehydrate2Store videos which teach all the ins and outs of using the Excalibur for drying fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. You may want to have the basics on general food storage plans and equipment which is under Wendy DeWitt's series of videos.
One of my favorite series because I love this man's creativity and the British perspective is Rickvanman's series of videos.  He also has a series on turning a van into a camper van and has an allotment vegetable garden.  He is a professional in video and audio productions and has other interesting videos.  Some of my favorite Survival preppers are Dave Canterbury from Dual Survival who has a pathfinder series.  I also like Southernprepper1 who has lots of scenarios portrayed and keeps you hanging on.  All of these people are creative and very informative.  There are many more that I keep up with for other subjects such as medical "Patriot Nurse" who gives lots of suggestions on medical supplies and basic treatments as well as lots of common sense health protection.  I will be adding many more links as I come across them. 
Knowledge is the most important tool you can have so please watch the youtube links I have placed in the links section and then research the subjects download and print out any written information they offer or buy the books they suggest.  You will be much better off during a severe collapse or even better off during a mild economic problem such as a job loss. 

I only want to help others with the research that I have done and share so we do not have to reinvent the wheel as we go along on our journey of becoming prepared and more self reliant.

Remember, "God Helps Those That Help Themselves"........"Every Journey begin with the First Step".

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Safety is an illusion!

Preparing for a disaster, catastrophe, or economic collapse,  whether personal, citywide, statewide, countrywide or worldwide is only common sense but many people just aren't noticing or taking seriously what has happened in our country and other countries when a natural disaster happens or a terrorist attack takes place. 

Prepping  is the answer to common sense preparedness for possible loss of a job or another hurricane Katrina.  The government even asks people to have 2 weeks supply of water, food, candles etc. on hand to get through a natural disaster.  The problem I see with their advice comes when you think about how long the people of New Orleans were without the necessities.  Or when the earthquakes hit Oakland, CA or when Mt. St. Helens erupted.  We cannot count on everything being back up and running with restocked grocery shelves in 2 weeks.  None of those situations were corrected in 2 weeks.  My belief is that we should live the way the Amish do and keep your pantries full and able to carry you through until the next harvest.  I also feel that we need to be ready to live without modern conveniences of any kind in case of a possible CME or EMP which is a very likely scenario into todays world.

CME, which is a Coronal Mass Ejection,  is more likely now than it every has been in modern society.
Our sun is in its most active stage than it has been in since the 1859 Carrington event.  This event burned up many telegraph wires, which were the only modern items of the period.  If that exact same event happened today I wonder how many electric plants would be burned out or put out of commission.  What about all the electronics of today.  Our internet, cell phones, computers, communication satellites, televisions, transportation system etc. would be inoperable until the new parts were manufactured and then replaced in the systems affected.  I can see our country being back to the 1900's way of life, except for the fact that we don't have the equipment and access to the wood cook stoves, coal heating, and horse and buggies that they had at that time.  When the telegraph wires were burned up in 1859 it didn't affect the average person because they could live temporarily without the Telegraph system.  It didn't affect their heating, lighting, or transportation.  Most foods were grown and sold locally and you rarely traveled more than 20 miles from your home.  Their businesses didn't depend on electronics or even electricity.  They had wells to get their water, they had a horse or horse and buggy or wagon for transportation and to get their crops to the local markets or train station.  The trains were coal or wood fired steam engine driven and ran on schedules to avoid accidents.  Let's look at today.

Today I have in my home 4 laptop computers and one desktop computer, I have 3 cell phones, satellite TV, city water, city sewerage, modern cars that have computers and electronic ignitions in them.  We have electric plants that produce electricity by burning coal that is mined hundreds of miles from the plants.  The hospitals, doctors offices, bank, fire departments, police departments and food delivery transportation are all dependent on communications and/or transportation that are electronic, electric and/or satellite dependent. 
I don't know about you but I get up in the morning and start my electric coffeemaker, use my electric/electronic microwave, I cook my eggs on my electric range and use my electric lights to see what I am doing.  My bathrooms have no windows so I need light in them to see to even brush my teeth.  If the water plant is down because they can't treat and pump the water then I have no water coming from the taps.  I have no water even if I have a well because the well pump is electric.  I may have sewerage until the lines back up and then there will be a huge mess in our house because they can't pump the sewerage to the treatment plant.  I can't get to work because my car won't start.

I can't even find out what happened because the communications systems are all electric/electronic and satellite dependent.  The grocery stores even if I live near one is closed because they have no lights or refrigeration.  If they do open the food will be gone from the shelves completely in hours not days.  They will only except cash because the banks systems are all down and their registers are electronic as well.  I can't call my children to see if they are okay because we have no way to do it any longer.  If you are caught away from home you will have to walk home.  If you are more than 10 miles from home it may be a major undertaking to get back home and if you don't have water, good shoes and some food and appropriate clothing etc. with you then you will be in serious trouble.  Your refrigerator and freezer no longer work and everything is on a fast track to spoilage.  What can you do?  Wait for FEMA or the Government to come help you?  Do you know how many millions of people are in the U.S.?  You will be waiting years for their help and believe me you won't survive that long..........

I for one believe we need to be prepared to help ourselves.  Have a plan and then work your plan!  Let's look at what you can do now to prepare for a failure of our systems for what ever reason they happen....

1.  Have a month's worth of water for your family if at all possible. Also a way of treating water and filtering it.
2.  Have a minimum of 3 months worth of food. (It would be much better to have 1 years worth of    food though).

3.  Have a method and equipment and fuel to cook and to heat your home.

4.  Have medical supplies because hospitals and transportation to them will be shut down.

5.  Have a way to secure your home and provide security for your family.

6.  Have warm clothing and good shoes for walking and working in a garden.

7.  Know your neighbors and try to organize a way to help one another.

8.  Have garden seeds and equipment to garden and then know how to do it.

9.  Have equipment and tools to provide for your family without the use of electricity. (Such as hand operated can openers and ways to light candles or fires.)

10.  Have your spiritual life in order to help get you through the trying and difficult times.

There could be plenty of other things that would cause you to need and use most of the above list.  Loss of a job, a terrorist attack, a nuclear accident (look at what happened in Japan), a category 5 hurricane (Katrina), or a severe rash of tornadoes (Joplin, MO), or a war.  Look what happened even to the U.S.  during WWII with rationing and severe lack of many items.  We only had Hawaii attacked but it affected the whole country because we had to provide for our troops.  Lastly look at what happened in the 30's with the Great Depression and the collapse of our economy. 
Millions of people are affected and a large proportion of them are in danger of dying or being killed.  Our country and its people are spoiled rotten and will be at a total loss of what to do.  We need to prepare ourselves, our families, and spread the information to our neighbors and friends.  That doesn't mean we will have to help everyone but it does mean we have the responsibility to inform those we know of what could happen and how important it is for them to take responsibility for their own safety and sustenance.  Many articles on my blog and many others as well as youtube are great for information and instruction on what to do and how to do it.  Please take this seriously and do whatever you can afford to do to protect your family with preparedness food, water and supplies.

I pray none of the above ever happens and that we will dodge the bullet so to speak, but with our society so vulnerable to so many things that could happen, I for one want to do all I can to prepare for my family's survival.    God helps those that help themselves.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stretching the foods we have......

I just finished watching a youtube video by SurvivalEngineering,  he made some simple but great points about stretching foods to make your more expensive foods like meats, canned meals, soups etc stretch at least twice as far.  He is so right and it is something I have done many times and I would like to give some examples here for those that read my blog. 

Start off by making a big pot of dried kidney beans or black beans or pinto beans and serve over rice which you should make extra of as well.  Season your beans the way you like them and add some fat like salt pork, bacon or canned ham to them if possible.  Then for your second main meal you make a fried rice with some of the beans and the meat picked out of the beans and rice.  Third meal will be Spaghetti marinara and the fourth meal will be chili with the left over spaghetti sauce and beans serve this with a big pan of corn bread.  The fifth meal will be minestrone or fagioli soup made with most of the leftovers of the week.  Serve cornbread croutons with this soup.  Any leftover cornbread can be dried and put with bread ends to make stuffing for the following week. 
The next week you will make a stuffing and canned chicken casserole and with any leftovers from this you can add cream of mushroom soup and make a creamy casserole instead of the dry one and add rice to the meal and it will be filling and delicious.  Try taking a head of cabbage, shred half of the head up and make a coleslaw with half of the shredded cabbage to serve with red beans and rice.  Second night you make a stir fry with the other half of the shredded cabbage and the beans and some canned chicken, or eggs, or nuts.  Carrots are always great added to stir fry's if you have them fresh or dried.  Third night stew the other half of the head of cabbage  up with onion and carrots and potatoes serve like a New England boiled dinner add meat if you have any to it.
Fourth night you make a big pot of soup with the leftovers and serve with Cornbread or just bread and peanut butter. Fifth night make a rice casserole with any leftovers of soup or cabbage and of course with a pot of rice, you can add soup mixes or canned soup to the casserole to make it more hearty if you are low on leftovers.

Potatoes are also a filling starch that can stretch a meal.  Instant dry potatoes can be made into potato pancakes to be served with applesauce and some scrambled eggs. Potato salad can be the main course of a meal with boiled eggs in it or with some canned shrimp added to it.  Save the juice from the canned seafoods and meat that you open to add to casseroles and soups for later in the week.
A big mound of mashed potatoes can carry a gravy made from a little bit of meat served with a can of vegetables will make a satisfying meal.  A 1/4 lb. of ground beef or sausage or chopped pork can stretch to feed four people in a white gravy. 

One 5 ounce can of tuna can be added to a can of cream of mushroom soup and thinned with reconstituted milk to be an ala king dish to serve over biscuits or bread or toast. This can feed up to four as well. Make sure there is enough biscuits or bread this is really good with the addition of a can of peas.

If you want to make breakfasts with food storage don't forget pancakes are a great source that is filling and satisfying.  You don't even have to have syrup.  You can use the juice from a can of fruit to make a delicious syrup by adding some sugar and boiling it until it is dissolved and thicken with a little cornstarch slurry.  Then the fruit can be used for dessert that night or with yogurt or cottage cheese made from your dry milk for lunch. Another hearty breakfast is oatmeal which you can add fruit, dried fruit or just brown sugar and instant dry milk.  A favorite breakfast of mine since I lived in Scotland for 2 years was  to heat a can of pork and beans and serve over toast. This is tasty and can be made with leftover white beans from bean soup by just adding tomato sauce or ketchup and a little sugar.

There are a thousand ideas that could be used to stretch food but the most important ideas are those that use your foods to make different things in creative ways and never to waste food.  If you have no power then use a rocket stove or a solar oven to cook your foods and then when you have finished eating cool the foods to room temperature and keep in a cooler outside in the winter or in an unheated space.  A solar oven can be used as a cooler in the summer if you point it toward the darkest part of the sky with no trees over it.  Also you can use an evaporation cooler which is a clay pot inside of a clay pot with wet sand in between the pots and keep them in the coolest place you can find with a wet cloth over the top.

Don't forget that appetite fatigue can become a real problem.  You don't want to become totally disinterested in food after a short time because you are having nothing but plain rice and cooked dried beans.  There are many ways to fix these things that will make them seem like they are not the ordinary beans over rice.  There are also many different kinds of beans that will be a different look and flavor that will help.  I have black eyed peas, lentils of various colors, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, split peas of yellow and green varieties, kidney beans, lima or butter beans and garbanzo beans.  There are other types but they are a little harder to find and more expensive.   Rice can be made into casseroles, fried chinese style, flavored with soups or gravies, put into soups, mixed with TVP or lentils to make burgers, or made into a hot cereal which you would serve with milk and sugar.  You can add seasonings and make it yellow rice or spanish rice.  You can serve it under soups or creole, you can add seafood and make a gumbo.  Look in your various cookbooks for rice recipes, I think you will be surprised.  There is also rice pudding you can make with food storage. 

Don't get discouraged about not having a huge amount of money to buy the expensive freeze dried or dehydrated foods in the number 10 cans.  You can do much with rice, beans, corn I have popcorn in 50 lb. bags, flour and/or wheat and the staples like canned meats (such as ham, tuna, chicken, spam, treet, roast beef, shrimp, clams, etc.)  canned vegetables and fruits and dried milk, oats, powdered eggs, sugar, salt, herbs and spices. You will need oils and fats in your diet so stock up on olive oil or vegetable oil and shortening.  The only other thing it will take to complete your diet will be leavenings such as Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and yeast.  Try to make sure you have vinegar and or lemon juice in your pantry as well.  You can make your own breads (corn bread, yeast breads, biscuits, pie crusts and pancakes with flour, cornmeal and leavenings).

The thing you will need is a grain mill if you have wheat and corn stored for making breads.  I have a Country Living Grain Mill but there are other brands but make sure you get a corn and bean auger with your mill or buy a seperate one to mill the corn into meal or flour and you can stretch your wheat by grinding beans and rice as well to add to your flour.

The only things I suggest you get for your food storage from the internet or a LDS cannery is the wheat, powdered eggs, oatmeal, and dry milk.  Most everything else you can get from your local stores, watch for the sales and markdowns, and from the warehouse stores for the flour, rice, sugar, salt and seasonings.  They also have decent prices on canned chicken, noodles, and grits. I am from the south so we like grits which is really cheap and filling to serve for breakfast or with dinner.  They are good with butter buds, cheese powder, gravy or with sugar and milk.  You can also slice up the grits after they get cold and fry them after dipping them in beaten eggs to serve as a main course of breakfast. 

I hope I have given you some ideas and some hope for stretching your food storage as far as you can and with creativity and love your family will adapt easily as long as you don't serve the same thing made the same way over and over again.  I pray we will all survive with as little strain and hassle as possible.  God Bless.

Knowledge is priceless!

Saving information from the internet that we will need after a collapse or catastrophe seems like a huge and unending job.  There is a wealth of information that will be invaluable to those who will be true survivors after we lose our internet abilities or power in the future.  I have always felt that when I found good and sound directions, plans, lists, how to's in general or specific for special projects that I should print them out and put them into loose leaf notebooks. I also have lots of recipes and how to's for food production, harvesting, preservation and cooking in loose leaf notebooks,  Since I have never made cheese I felt I should have directions for it, but most importantly how to make certain cheeses from dry milk or instant non-fat dry milk.  Books in today's world are numerous and accessible locally and from Amazon and many other sources. The internet is full of books online or e-books.  I believe after losing several books I had purchased and downloaded to my computer and then having my computer crash and losing the hard drive that e-books may be fine for fiction but when you want information that you can keep to help you after an apocalypse your best bet is to have the books in hard copy version. That means you will need to order a book or print the book out and put it in a loose leaf binder. 

Knowledge will be one of the most important skills when things are really bad.  Libraries are great resources but when cities go broke they will be closing the Libraries and many cities already have. Few people have books that tell them how to plant a garden or how to take care of it.  What grows in your area?  What can you do to keep the soil healthy?  Do you have all the knowledge you need to build a solar food dehydrator?  Do you know how to safely can/bottle your harvest or the meats you grow or can trap or hunt?  Do you even know how to butcher that deer that you may get?  What organs should you keep to eat?  What organs would you keep for the domestic animals/pets to eat?  Do you know how to build a rocket stove? Or a haybox retained heat cooker?  Can you build a solar oven?  Do you know how to place an outhouse on your property to keep your well safe for drinking?  Do you know how to build an aluminum can heater for the house you live in?  Most of us have seen some of these things on the net or on youtube but will we remember how to do all these things when it comes time to do or die?

My reference library is not as organized as I would like but I know what information I have and can look through my binders and find the article fairly quickly.  If I could encourage you to do anything constructive it would be to build your survival library in book or binder formats.  Do not keep your information on CD's and on your hard drive and expect to be able to access it when you want it. We don't know when we will lose power due to not having money or having the powers that be shutting down coal fired power plants we will be without the computers that we are so dependent on.  So let's make sure that our most valuable information is not only on the internet or a hard drive, and NO the backup services that you can buy will not be of any help. 

I have listed many sites, articles and blogs on my site here that could be a start for you to go to and print the info for your own binders.  By the way I buy all my binders at thrift stores for approximately 50 cents a piece.  The toner for my printer is the most expensive part of the process.  Paper does go on sale as well as the toner.  You can get your toner cartridges from services that take your old ones and sell you rebuilt and filled with new toner for discount prices. 

My feeling about this subject is that knowledge will be the most important tool you will be able to get now and it will be second only to water and food.  I believe that you will be able to trade things you can make for things you need.  For instance if you can build rocket stoves or solar ovens or solar dehydrators think of what trading advantage you will have with others needing these things or needing to know how to build them themselves.  I hope to be able to trade for seafood since we live within 3 miles of the James River and close to the Chesapeake Bay as well.   I think that by helping our neighbors to survive by having a rocket stove available for them to use will be a free item that could help and create good will.  Trapping squirrel, rabbit, and other small wild animals will be many peoples only meat.  Fish will be about the easiest protein to get in our area.  We have no deer nearby but since we can walk to areas to get fish and crab we will be able to trade for fish or fish ourselves.  Everyone needs to think of the available resources where they are located and then get the information you may need to attain the edible foods for yourself.  I plan to plant an edible landscape that most people won't know is food.  Every area has their own foods that can be planted.  If you don't spray your plants with pesticides and herbicides you can eat Pansies, roses, nasturtiums, cabbages, lettuces, etc.  Check out a few books from the library and then copy the pages you need for your plants and area to cultivate.  If you live near the woods or in the country you can plant nettles, wild blackberry vines, and wild roses to harvest when they are in season.  Read, read, read, and then copy or buy books that will help you to accomplish what you need to do when the time comes. 

Just remember knowledge is as much of a survival tool as a hoe, shovel or a weapon.  But without knowledge some things will be out of your reach to accomplish.  So build your library and think of it as an investment in your survival future.