Talking to Family about Preparedness: How to get your family to start prepping for disasters.

The biggest preparedness challenge some of us will face is convincing our loved ones to get on board with our preparedness planning. Whether it’s convincing your immediate family about the importance of prepping, or talking to extended family and friends about why they need to prepare, the conversation is something we need to have if we really care about our loved ones.


How to get your wife and kids to prep (or your husband for the ladies)

This one is really a no-brainier; to truly be prepared for disasters, crisis, and threats, your immediate family needs to be on board with your plans. It’s really the only way you can ensure their safety.

Talking to your spouse about preparedness issues

  • The best thing you can do for a spouse who might not understand your reasoning is to simply open up and really communicate your concerns.
  • Share examples of past disasters, and try to make it as relatable and personal as possible.
  • Explain to your spouse how it’s really no different than buying health, life or car insurance. You’re basically taking out an insurance policy against future disasters.
  • Start slow, and don’t start with worse case scenarios – even if that’s what you’re preparing for. Ease them into the idea. Explain to them that it’s also about preparing for things like a job loss, a loss of income, or an illness that could cause you to have to take time off of work.

Talking to your kids about Preparedness

  • Keep it simple and age-appropriate. The last thing your want to do is over complicate it or cause your children unnecessary stress.
  • Focus on things that make sense to them, and try to relate to them using experiences that they can understand. Talk about what they would do if a disaster hit while they were at school.
  • Take it slow. Try to work the topic into everyday conversations and make sure you involve them and ask for their feedback.
  • Take the time to point things out when you’re out and about. Help develop there situational awareness; point out things like exits in stores, and ask questions on how they would respond to certain situations.

Talking to your friends and family about prepping

When it comes to talking to extended family or friends about preparedness, the importance of raising the topic really comes down to how much you care. While convincing them isn’t necessarily going to affect your efforts one way or the other, it is good to know the ones you care about are prepared to take care of themselves during times of crisis.

On the more selfish side of things, convincing the ones you care about to become more self-reliant also helps to ensure they won’t show up on your door step during a disaster, expecting you to take care of them.

Things you can do to convince your friends and family to prepare.

  • Give them the gift of preparedness. Give them something small like a vehicle preparedness kit or a first aid kit as a way to open the conversation and help change their mindset. It’s also something they can easily wrap their minds around and can help get them thinking about what else they might need.
  • Give them a book. A book is a great non-threatening way to introduce the subject. Shameless plug alert: The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide hits store shelves in November, and is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It covers just about every type of disaster, threat and crisis your loved ones will ever face.
  • Use what’s in the news. When there’s a disaster in the news, use it as a way to bring up the topic. Don’t go overboard, but try to get the conversation started and try to get your friends or family thinking about what they would do in that situation.

No matter how hard you try there are some people who are never going to see things your way. As much as that may hurt, especially when it’s someone you really care about, you may have to just let things go and hope for the best. In the end, there’s only so much you can do or say; if someone refuses to care about their readiness to face disasters, be satisfied that you’ve done what you can and then move on and focus on yourself and your immediate family.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: offgridsurvival


Getting Started: Prepping for a Two Week Power Outage

If you’re new to preparedness, you may be reading some of the excellent and informative websites out there and feeling quite quite overwhelmed.  While many sites recommend a one year supply of food, manual tools, and a bug out lodge in the forest, it’s vital to realize that is a long-term goal, not a starting point.

A great starting point for someone who is just getting started on a preparedness journey is prepping specifically for a two-week power outage.  If you can comfortably survive for two weeks without electricity, you will be in a far better position than most of the people in North America.

Even if you aren’t convinced that hardcore preparedness is for you, it would still be difficult to argue against the possibility of a disaster lasting for a couple of weeks.  Major natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy down to lesser storms like last year’s derecho in the Metro DC area are incontestable – storms happen and all you can do is be ready to weather them.  As well, a large western US power company recently announced that they did not foresee the ability to keep up with electrical demand this summer, and may institute rolling blackouts to cope with it.  If you are prepared for two weeks without power, you are prepared for a wide range of short-term emergencies, including quarantines, interruptions of income, or civil unrest.

To prepare for a two week emergency, think about what you would need if the power went out and you couldn’t leave your home for 14 days. Once you begin creating your plan, you may be surprised and discover that you already have most of what you need to batten down the hatches for a couple of weeks. It’s just a matter of organizing it so you can see what you need.

Use the following information to create your personal 2 week preparedness plan.  Modify the suggestions to adapt them to your particular home, family, and climate.

Water

Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation.  If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.

Food and a way to prepare it

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking.

If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.

Click HERE for a short term food storage list

Click HERE to find a list of foods that require no cooking.

Heat (depending on your climate)

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

Sanitation needs

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.  Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)  Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handing food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work  when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom.  (At the first sign of a storm, we always fill the bathtub for this purpose.)  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored.

Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Candles
  • Kerosene lamps
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank camping lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue
  • Sewing supplies
  • Bungee cords

If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarheal medications.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Get started today

You can start right now – this very minute – all you have to do is grab a pad of paper and a pen.

  1. Begin by personalizing the suggestions above to fit your family’s needs and make a list of your requirements.
  2. Next, do a quick inventory – as I mentioned above, you may be surprised to see that you already have quite a few of the supplies that are recommended.
  3. Make a shopping list and acquire the rest of the items you need.  If you can’t afford everything right now, prioritize the most important things first.
  4. Organize your supplies so that they are easily accessible when you need them.

The peace of mind that comes from being prepared for a disaster before it happens cannot be measured.   You won’t have to fight the crowds or be faced with empty store shelves. You won’t have to sit there, cold and miserable, in the dark.  You won’t be hungry or thirsty.  You will be able to face the event with the serenity that readiness brings, and this will also make it less traumatic for your children when they see that you aren’t afraid.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: theorganicprepper

Charity Prepping

Many people donate to their church or to charities year round to support a cause or help those less fortunate. Have you ever considered combining your prepping activities with charitable giving?

Rotating Your Food Stock

When you’ve got your shelves full of pantry foods saved for an emergency, sometimes it’s hard to keep up on proper rotation of expiring items. (Though many foods are fine passed their “expiration dates” some are not, and some people choose not to keep/eat expired foods when they have the ability to buy a replacement.) If you find that you can’t or don’t want to eat what you’ve stored, don’t throw it out! Take it to a local food bank, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen.

This is also a great way for people who don’t eat processed food, yet want to have food storage in case of emergency. Go ahead and buy your food stock and shelve it. When it comes time to rotate it out, instead of feeding it to your family, donate it to the food bank.

Our supply of dehydrated and freeze dried #10 cans of 10-30 year food storage items was pricey, but what we gained was long shelf life. Toward the end of the shelf life limit, we will simply load up the truck and donate it to a family or organization in need. Yes, we could use it ourselves, but instead our donation will be made with gratitude that we didn’t have to live through a disaster that was so bad we needed our long term food storage to survive. We will purchase a new stash and pray we get to donate again in another 20 years.

Blessing Bags

When deciding to rotate out some of your food items, consider breaking them down into individual items. Instead of taking the case of cheese and crackers, boxes of raisins or granola bars and single serve applesauce to the food bank, divide them into ziplock baggies along with the travel sized personal hygiene items you’ve collected from your travels and make Blessing Bags with them. Keep them in your car for an easy way to offer a little something to a homeless person you encounter. For more ideas on what to include in blessing bags, click here.

TEOTWAWKI Giving

We all know people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have even a beginning level of preparedness. These are the ones who will be knocking on your door asking for help when they have no food or supplies. What will you do? Send them away? Give them some of the preps meant for your family? What if they are armed? What if they have young children with them? These are all questions you have to ask yourself ahead of time and have at least a plan of how you intend to respond.

Ken Jenson of the Clever Survivalist gives one good reason to be charitable with your preps besides simple generosity. “When you share food with [others] you will gain something called social capital.” You’re being generous with them, so they may feel obligated to help you. They may not have preps, but they likely have skills, and working together as a team is the beginning of setting up a thriving community in the midst of hardship.

So what should you put aside ahead of time in your charity prep stash? Jenson suggests the items should be inexpensive, easy to store and high energy.

Dried Beans

Rice

Noodles/Pasta

Dried Mixed Fruit

Rolled Oats

Sugar

Salt

Dried Milk

Bulk Wheat

There are two schools of thought when deciding how to package up these giveaways. The first is to have everything preplanned and prepackaged so you just have to hand the gift to the person and send them on their way. This is convenient and quick. Some preppers think it’s too convenient and quick which is why they don’t like it. Showing a stranger that level of preparedness may tell them that you have a lot more stock ready for the taking. Instead, consider the second option which is to have items set aside but not prepackaged. Keep a stash of plastic grocery bags with these items and fill them as needed. This might send the message that you threw this together on the spot and make it appear more like a “sacrifice” you’re making to help.

If you are prepping for extended civil unrest, EMP, or other long term disastrous events, think about other inexpensive items besides food to stock up on in your charity giving preps that will help people who haven’t planned ahead. In addition to these tangible items, you can “teach a man to fish” by also including a page or two of basic instructions on how to start a fire, make water safe to drink, finding shelter, etc.

Matches

Ziploc bags

Mylar blankets

Water purification tablets

Individual hand sanitizers

Feminine hygiene products

Bug repellant wipes, baby wipes

Small tissue packs

Light sticks

Tealight candles

Latex gloves

Ponchos

Many in the prepper community are adamant about only “taking care of their own” and tell others “don’t come to my house looking for food or I’ll shoot you.” While I don’t deny the need to protect and provide for your family, I don’t believe it will be as “easy” as just shooting people in a true disastrous scenario. Are you really going to shoot the mom and her starving baby who knock on your door asking for something to eat? Or would it be better to have some additional supplies set aside to offer as you send them on their way? We all understand the importance of supporting those in need even during the “good times.” Plan ahead and be willing and able to help during the “bad times” as well.

Author’s Note: Click this link to hear more on the subject of charity prepping in a podcast by the Clever Survivalist. If you want to get right into the meat of the topic, forward ahead to about the 18:12 mark. And don’t forget – depending on who you give it to, this can be a tax deduction

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: thesurvivalmom

Decorating your home for survival – Tight Space Prepping

Just because you live in a small apartment or home doesn’t mean that you can’t join the wonderful world of prepping. There are many ways to have a garden, store food, and enjoy your living space – without looking (or feeling) like a hoarder!

House Plants

Filling your home with the right types of plants can be one of the best ways to both beautify your small space and have a few useful emergency tools on hand.

Food

When choosing house plants, pick ones that are useful, not just pretty. There are many types of edible flowers and plants. One of my favorites to keep are mini roses. They don’t take up a whole lot of space and are safe for human consumption, as long as you don’t spray them with pesticide. Also consider adding a few miniature fruit trees. They are great for both decoration and food production.

Medical

Many herbs, such as rosemary, are great for both cooking and medicinal purposes. It’s a pretty little shrub that looks like a fir tree. As a cooking herb it’s great for chicken, but it also aids in the digestion of richer meats. Rosemary essential oil is great for the scalp and reduces dandruff.

Rosemary and other herbs keep well on window sills or the kitchen counter. Aloe, for burns, is another favorite to keep in the house.

Finding Space

A bunch of planters sitting in the middle of the living room is hardly attractive, and few us of have a large outside window sill like the one pictured above. Putting your plants on the balcony would be an obvious go to, but not all apartments have a balcony. In that situation, try hanging your plants from the ceiling in a sunny area, but don’t go overboard. One or two plants per room will do.

Perhaps you would like to start a vegetable garden but don’t have an outside space. That’s where an indoor vegetable garden come in. You can use a specially designed AeroGarden, or simply place a book case across from a large window in a non carpeted room.

No matter what kind of plants you have, an indoor grow light can help. If you have pets or small children, it’s best to keep your plants on the top shelves. Some cats will even try to eat cactus!

Purposeful Decorations

There are some decorations that are pretty but serve no practical purpose. Others are really pretty and can do something useful. When decorating in our home, I try my best to go with the second choice.

Lighting

Candles are my first go to for decorative lighting. They are easy to store and many even come in their own jars. They don’t take up much space because they are on display when not in use. They don’t require a storage of fuel, like oil.  If you have children or pets you could use the LED candles. They require batteries, but so would flashlights.

You could also use decorative oil lamps. You may be able to find a few at thrift store or online. They do require oil, but you can counter that by buying a lamp with a clear oil tank and filling it with a colored oil. The advantage of these lamps is that the light may be turned up or down and they also contribute to warming your home.

Insulation

Insulation is important to any prepper’s home. Covering those windows is the first step I would take to insulate my home.

Thermal curtains are designed to keep the outside heat, cold, and prying eyes out of your home, and they also keep the room extra dark. They are readily available at store like Target as well as online, so there are more than enough options to find something to match any room.

Where permitted, cover the windows with an insulating window film. These come in many decorative designs and serve two purposes. The first is to help block UV light from coming into my home and to reflect sunlight away. The second (an added bonus) is that they may also prevent street viewing inside your home when the curtains are open.

I also love to use floor rugs. It adds an extra layer of insulation to the floors and keeps the apartment carpets from getting quite as dirty.

Concealment Decor

I confess: I don’t like staring at piles of cans in my living room. While I love having my storage, I don’t like feeling as though I live in a tiny warehouse so when I find a way to hide my storage, I do.

Creative Furniture Use

Bean bag chairs are the absolute best when it comes to hiding storage in plain sight. Children and grownups alike, love to sit on them. They are easy to move from room to room as a portable chair and are amazingly comfortable to read on. I use them as advertised. I hide bags of beans and peas in them. When I need a bag of split peas to make soup, I simple evict whichever child is sitting on the food storage for a moment and get what I need.

Creative Shelving

One of my favorite memories growing up is the giant bookcase my parents made. It was made of plywood and buckets, although cinder blocks are a common variation. The buckets contained stored flour and rice. To make this design look more decorative all you need to do is cover the ply wood with self-sticking shelf paper and color coordinate the buckets.

Hide Away Decor

Couch covers and bed ruffles make it easy to hide storage under my furniture, where I am happy not to see it. They also provide a potential fabric source should I need it. They come in a variety of patterns and colors to meet your decorating needs and (if made of the right fabric) can also be used as an extra blanket.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via :  thesurvivalmom

Prepping When You “Have No Room”

Guest post by Sandra R.

———————

I live in an RV.  Want to talk about limited space and nowhere to store things?  I have an undersink cabinet, four drawers, and three overhead short cabinets tall enough to stack 2-3 cans in my “kitchen” area.  I have a half closet and under sink cabinet in the bathroom.  The aisle going through the kitchen is 2.5′ wide.  The aisle by the master bed leading to the bathroom is 1.5′ wide.  It’s hard for 2 people to move around in here.

What else I have though is three other beds in that back area –two that pull down for visitors to sleep on.  The other is permanent on the floor.  I’ve taken those and converted them to storage along with the bathroom cabinet.  I’ve taken various tops off things like small desks to create an extra shelf settled on top of box halves to store things above and below thereby creating yet another set of “shelves” on the two beds near the ceiling.

For the one built on the floor, there is quite a bit of space between the one bottom bed and the top, and I’ve put a small shelf set on top of that.  I also have my cooler and printer stored on top of that.  Eventually I plan to take out at least half of that bed and install shelving from floor to ceiling.  I will then install shelving on top of the other half up to the ceiling…this has an electrical panel underneath so it cannot be removed…and remove that top bed.

I have a larger master bed, and the water heater is underneath.  It doesn’t work.  I plan to take that out and install an on demand water heater when money allows.  That way I will be able to use the full amount of storage under the bed instead of merely half as I’m able to do now.  I’m not able to lift the bed since it is built into the wall, but I will install rollers underneath so I can simply pull out the section I need to get to.  This will eliminate the need to take everything out to get to one thing.

The next step is taking out one of my kitchen benches and turning it sideways creating an “L”.  One side has heating ducts inside.  Those will be taken out creating yet another space for storage (no, my heater doesn’t work either).  The other side already has room for that…a drawer that will be taken out since I won’t be able to pull it out the side, and a pull down door.  I will take the drawer off, open up a hole in the front and cover it with a removable panel.  The benches are made of wood, and the top isn’t very sturdy so I will replace that with stronger wood adding in a storage area a few inches tall that will lift up…more storage for things like tools or weapons.

I have already taken out the passenger seat on my RV.   What’s left is the pedestal it sat on.  For now, there is ANOTHER bed above that which pulls down.  I will remove that bed, remove the pedestal, and install a small wood stove.  The hole from the pedestal will create the air movement needed from below, and I will cut a hole in the roof to install the stovepipe.

My RV also has a rack on half of the roof.  I’m debating how to keep the water from getting hot in the summer.  Once I figure that out, I will install a water bladder on the roof.

If you don’t have room to store things needed, then you don’t have a home.  Even if you live in the woods, you can find places to store items.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Resources:

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via :  thesurvivalistblog

The Grab-n-Go Binder – A Prepping Essential

In panic situations, which happen around my house quite often, actually, people lose their wits. The extra adrenaline produced by the human body during times of intense stress, causes confusion and can even cause some of the same symptoms as a heart attack.

Can you imagine the level of adrenaline in your body if you suddenly got news of a dangerous chemical spill in your area or that a wildfire had taken an abrupt turn toward your neighborhood?  Officials tell you to evacuate now.  Besides the kids, what do you pack up first?

A Grab-and-Go Binder is a vital part of any family preparedness plan, and is one of the first things you should put together. This binder will contain all of your most critical information in one place for any type emergency, even if it’s just a quick trip to the ER.

For this project you’ll need a 1″ three-ring binder, a set of tabbed dividers, and a copy machine. A box of plastic page protectors will keep your documents clean and unwrinkled. The binder you create will be unique to your family, but here are some suggestions to get you started.

Label a divider for each of the following sections, and then begin inserting copies of your documents.

Financial Documents
1.  copies of the fronts and backs of debit/credit cards
2.  copies of house and car titles
3.  copy of your will or living trust
4.  names, addresses and phone numbers of all banks
5.  other important documents related to employment and/or a family business
6.  copies of your insurance policies (life, health, auto, homeowners, etc.)

Personal Documents
1.  names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of relatives and close friends
2.  copies of:
*  marriage license
*  birth certificates
*  drivers licenses
*  CCW permits
*  pet vaccine records
*  passports
*  Social Security cards
3.  a list of firearm serial numbers
4.  legal documents pertaining to child custody or adoption
5.  recent photos of each family member and each pet
6.  color photos of your house and each room in the house
7.  photos of anything of particular value
8.  military documents
9.  diplomas and transcripts
10. appraisals

Medical Documents
1.  copy of health insurance cards
2.  a list of blood types for each family member
3.  names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors
4.  medical histories of each family member
5.  immunization records
6.  a list of current prescriptions, dosage, and pharmacy contact information

With your finished Grab-and-Go Binder, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your family can focus on a quick evacuation without trying to retrieve scattered family records.

What to do with the originals? It’s probably best to keep them in a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. If that safety deposit box is a good 50 miles or more from your home, so much the better in the event of a tornado or other natural disaster. Also, be sure at least two other trusted people have access to that box in case you become incapacitated.

Unless you’re extraordinarily organized, chances are these records and documents are scattered around your house. Set aside a block of time to track them down and organize your family’s Grab-n-Go Binder. Emergencies arrive unexpectedly. A Grab-n-Go Binder is one way you can prepare for them ahead of time.

Also check out: The G.O.O.D Survival Manuals: Every Family Should Have One

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

 

Via :   thesurvivalmom

 

Prepping works as planned. Until it doesn’t

Guest post by Sierra Grey

Robert Burns once wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a’gley.”. Translated—no matter how well we plan, things often fail, turn out wrong, or go awry. Humans have limitations. We possess only fragments of knowledge and limited experience. Pride and emotions cloud our thinking. Only God plans perfectly. We mortals are left to hope we have planned well enough to survive what comes. And learn from our mistakes early in the game.

My baby steps as a prepper began in 1991. Talk radio exposed me to the teachings of Larry Burkett, a Christian financial advisor and author of the book, The Coming Economic Earthquake. The truths in that book still apply 23 years later—governments with huge levels of debt eventually fall victim to money printing and hyperinflation. America becomes another Zimbabwe. He inspired me to forsake debt and avoid risky investments. We got seriously frugal and paid off our home. Got our small nest egg out of the stock market. Maximized our savings. Withdrew everything from our IRA to avoid government seizure in the future.

Larry Burkett did not live long enough to readjust the timing of his predictions. But I remembered his thoughts about the aftershocks that could follow the economic earthquake. Societal collapse. Fascistic government. Social disorder. Widespread violence.

My wife, the eternal optimist, doesn’t agree that the future could turn out that bad. The rest of my family sees me as a lovable, occasionally annoying, conspiracy theorist. So, instead of learning a trade, leaving the clutches of the California government, and moving, I had to settle for a compromise. An “investment” in California land for my wife and family that would also serve as my desired survival destination when the SHTF. But California was simply too expensive.

One man’s misery is another man’s fortune.

The economic correction in 2008-2009 smashed the real estate market in California. A friend with inside knowledge told us that there was a bank-owned mountain cabin on 20 acres just over 75 minutes from Fresno. It was a foreclosure on the bank’s inventory and they wanted to dump it. Suggested we make a cash offer at 30% of asking price. But we had to act fast. I wasn’t sure what my friend was smoking, but if true, I it was too good to pass up. We quickly toured the property and made the offer. They accepted. Larry Burkett was correct—not everyone suffers during economic depressions. People without debt and who have saved can find incredible bargains. We did. Or so I thought

The retreat was beyond expectations. 4100 feet elevation—just below the snow line. A perfect blend of colossal Ponderosa and Jeffrey’s pines and a variety of deciduous trees. An artesian well, hardly needing the electric pump. Clean water poured out of an overflow pipe 24/7. Locals couldn’t remember the flow ever stopping. Said there wasn’t another artesian well for miles. But should it ever fail, there was a man-made lake filled with good water. The cabin was heated with a wood stove and had modern facilities. One side of the property bordered King’s Canyon National Forest—a wide mountain expanse void of anything but nature.

My wife and I spent our weekends and holidays removing trash and debris. We painted and patched and learned how to repair fences. I cleared trees and split firewood, dug up broken pipes, and re-roofed the well-house. My income was enough to allow me to start adding supplies and equipment month-by-month.

The cabin was built 40 years ago as a summer house. It is perched on pylons on the side of a hill to allow the wind to cool the house from underneath. Winter was not in the original plans. I insulated under the cabin, not an easy task for an older man on top of a 16 foot ladder. But I was turning my plans into reality. God had blessed me above and beyond my wildest expectation. It was a labor of love.

The flora and fauna became my weekend learning lab. With the help of good books, I learned to identify the berries, edible greens, and avoid the poison oak. Bay trees, yerba santa, white sage, milkweed, chokecherries, and elderberry trees provided spice, sweetness, and medicinal supplies. And if you wanted a puff, Indian tobacco. Wild apples served up a huge batch of applesauce each fall. The giant oaks provided enormous and abundant acorns as a source of protein and flour. There seemed to be a plant for every need. I learned how to dig 18 inches through rock-hard soil to extract the bulbous root of the Indian soap plant, a source of saponin for a sudsy shampoo. After 20 minutes of digging in the heat, my hair was ready for it. But I was pumped—I finally had a survival retreat!

Mule deer peacefully roamed the property in groups of three to six, and nice bucks were common. Shot the first at less than 50 yards from the comfort of my front porch while having a cup of coffee. Only needed my defense rifle, a Saiga in .308 Winchester that was conveniently close-by. Butchered the deer and learned how to turn it into jerky. I put pemmican on the “to learn” list.

The air was clean and crisp, the skies a deep blue, and the nights full of stars. Quail and rabbits were plentiful. Fox pups played near the porch after dark. My game camera caught black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and even the occasional mountain lion slinking about under the moon-lit night sky. Wild turkeys visited the lake for their morning dip. Near a seasonal stream was an Indian relic, an enormous granite boulder marked with holes a foot deep where the Indians ground their acorns. The presence of Indians for such a long time assured me I was on the right property.

The prior owner had put up a deer fence to create a 10,000 square foot garden area and built raised beds to avoid gophers. I ran PVC plumbing for drip irrigation. We planted beds of strawberries and raspberries, and some grape vines. They grew happily in between our visits to enjoy the harvest. We planted fruit trees. There was more than enough room to enclose chicken and rabbit coops, and grow far more of a garden than we had, when we moved in full-time.

What more could we want? A comfortable cabin set among the giant Ponderosa’s. Fresh running water year round. A lake as back-up water supply, brimming with fat-legged bullfrogs. Abundant sources of wild food. I felt confident that my plans were working out.

Who moved the cheese?

Fresno County became a center for “medical” marijuana. We soon had over 500 growers in the foothills and mountains. A group moved onto the property next to mine. I have no issues with growth or use of marijuana. But the War on Drugs has made it a very high-priced item and created a criminal market, as did Prohibition with alcohol. The growers are generally felons with nothing to lose, seeking easy riches and their own supply of high-grade “bud” and “reggie.” The marijuana crops are “medical” in name only. Most care little for their neighbors’ property rights or the environment, killing off local wildlife with poison scattered around the outside of their dwellings and crops. Worse, they brought crime and violence.

Its easier to steal someone else’s weed than grow your own. The first year, a robbery attempt was stopped by a shooting a quarter mile from my property. By the end of the year, six men had been killed in county marijuana-related crimes. Break-in’s of vacation cabins skyrocketed after the growers arrived. Booze and guns seem to be the targets. Some locals have started storing their gun collections in the safes of city pawn shops until they need to hunt.

They brought in a bulldozer and destroyed the natural lay of the land. Unusually heavy rains caused runoff from their property that damaged our road and cut deeply into the dam. Another rainy season could bring the dam down and cut off access to our cabin. When we asked them to have it repaired they promised they would, after they sold their crop in the fall. The crop came and went, as did they, to Mexico for the winter. We reached deep into our pockets and paid $7,000 to have the damage repaired.

The heavy rain was followed by three years of record drought, blistering summers, and record-cold winters. The fat and sleek mule deer turned haggard and worn, fewer in number. A small pond now sits where the lake once did. Banks of mud that will suck in your foot to the knee and rob you of your boot prevent easy access to the remaining water. Water, if you can call it that. More of an algae and moss soup. Nary a bullfrog can be found. The snakes, raptors, and critters are picking them off, one by one.

The lack of water and food at other elevations brought in more bears. Lion sightings increased. We suddenly had real competition for the local game animals and the limited harvest of wild berries. The coyote and bobcat populations increased as well, reducing the rabbit and quail populations to a small remnant.

And our 24/7, “has never run dry” artesian well? The overflow pipe has stopped producing anything but dry rust.

Get to know the neighborhood before moving in.

The area is populated by retirees on pensions and/or Social Security, vacation home owners, and a handful of local forest and park service workers. Into the mix throw a goodly number of folks that just get by. Most on EBT cards and welfare, happy in their ancient, leaky single-wide’s covered by blue tarps. That adds up to most of the resident population dependent in some way upon the federal government. Fixed incomes take a heavy hit when times get bad. And times are getting bad. What will happen when the SHTF?

As the economy continues to go down, the property crime has gone up. Two cords of oak that I had cut, split and stacked for the winter, disappeared. A local Hmong immigrant group was caught transporting 51 deer carcasses. One of my “meth-head” neighbors was caught with five deer carcasses. He told the sheriff he was going to sell them for drug money. I was unaware of the ongoing problems with vacation homes being broken into by locals. Poaching, thieving, drug-addicted neighbors were not in my planning. Not even close. A call to the local sheriff can take 2 to 4 hours for a response. I faced the reality that the only deputy sheriff available to my property was me.

No longer was it the just bears after my provisions that concerned me. Two-legged predators were now in the mix. Nothing can stop a determined, meth-addicted fellow with a crow bar and cutting tools from getting into a steel storage box. Fleeing a SHTF scenario, the last thing I need is to arrive and find an empty cabin and no supplies. I stopped adding to my supplies and equipment and transferred some back to the city.

Plans can and do go awry. Plan that it will happen.

While we prep, the world keeps on changing. We change. SHTF events are not always cataclysmic. Sometime small chunks of s*** are flicked on you a bit at a time, more annoying than anything. One day you look in the mirror and realize you are covered in it. Time to toss out the old plan and learn from mistakes. I learned that a deal too good to pass on is never too good to pass up. Price is not all that matters in survival preparations.

I made a list of my concerns and considered my options. We could sell the retreat for a profit and buy another. But how long would it take? Given the troubled times, we are closer to SHTF than ever before. But failures well-studied can lead to a better plan. Due to my mistakes in planning, I now knew a lot more about the weaknesses of my retreat. The best option available for survival was to turn a lemon into lemonade. I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned, in hopes that someone might profit from my mistakes. And, some of the actions I am taking to modify my plans and survive.

• I never considered the loss of regular income before the SHTF. I expected it would happen as we fled the city. Plan as though you could lose yours tomorrow. Not long after buying the property, I was laid off. Then again, and one more time. Finally, three years of unemployment and I’m still without a job in my profession. My increasing age is an undesirable expense to potential employers, thanks to Obamacare.

With much less income, I must reduce expenses. I’m using my now-abundant free time learning how do what I have always paid someone else to do. Car and truck maintenance and repairs. Plumbing. Electrical work. Appliance repair. (YouTube is a great resource.) Video’s from the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) are showing me how to do gunsmithing repairs.

Reloading my ammunition. How to use Craigslist to find some bargains and resell them on eBay for profit. We sold a life insurance policy and purchased a small, underpriced property. Hired a friend to bulldoze a dirt access road and building pad, and resold it for a profit. The profit went to income and the principle into another property that I am currently improving to put on the market. I wish I had worked on these skills before trouble hit instead of spending too much time obsessing over mastering 88 ways to start a fire or how to pack a bug-out bag.

• Just because a SHTF scenario is inevitable, it may not be as imminent as you think. I’m amazed that the world’s central banks have been able to print so much money and put off the collapse for so long. You may be in poor health or have diminished physical ability when it finally occurs. When did I become so grey? I now qualify for discounted coffee at McDonalds and senior shopping days at my local drug store. When did arthritis own my hands? One day I realize that I could no longer reliably rack my Browning High Power in .40S&W. The recoil spring is 24#—something for a younger man. Sold it and purchased a used Glock 36, small and light.

I noticed that hikes into the national forest are not so easy at this age. Who started making guns, ammo, and water heavier? I’m buying used synthetic stocks on eBay to replace heavy wooden stocks on my long guns. My carbine had a very heavy metal butt plate I once had made for potential hand-to-hand encounters. Blow to the head stuff, you know. I found a plastic one to replace it. I’m too old for hand-to-hand. I’ll just have to carry more ammo and shoot the fellow. Anybody young whipper-snapper need an 18-ounce butt plate?

• I underestimated how much of what I use and need can be made without much skill or knowledge and how much money I could have saved for other prepping needs. I’m a big believer in Lugol’s 5% iodine solution and took it daily before I lost my income. It is an important part of my supplies, as well. $15 an ounce is no longer affordable. I researched how to cheaply make iodine crystals and produce the solution myself. It’s not rocket science. If you can make instant coffee, you can make Lugol’s iodine solution. Potassium iodide from eBay, muriatic acid from Home Depot, distilled water, dollar store 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a coffee filter. Cost—about $4 per ounce.

I produce enough for my own needs and pure iodine crystals for pandemics, nuclear/radiation events, wounds, and decontaminating drinking water. Colloidal silver is also important to me. My family regularly takes it and increases the amount with any sign of illness. Retail cost—more than $200 a gallon. A better way—two 99.9 silver coins, 2-quart glass pickle jar, orphaned laptop power supply, alligator wires, $10 fish tank air supply, distilled water, and $24 PPM meter from the pool supply store. Cost— less than $2 per gallon.

• When the world shifts (and it will shift), shift accordingly. The traditional game animals are fewer and farther between. But there still are bears, foxes, bobcats, coyotes and lions. And gopher, king, and rattle snakes. What to do? Prepare to include predators in my food supply when the SHTF. I bought some well-made snares and my wish list includes a few serious traps to use in the national forest. I’ve been rethinking my hunting guns and ammo to account for larger animals. And ways to hunt opportunistically—carrying enough weaponry to shoot whatever should present itself for dinner. Predator or prey. But two long guns are just to heavy for an old man.

Ideally a shotgun-rifle combination gun would be best, but not in the budget. When I use a .22LR or shotgun for intended game, I will also pack by best imitation of rifle at much less weight, my .44 Remington Mag Super Blackhawk with a 7 1/2 barrel. That means increased practice at longer ranges and no more “cowboy” loads. I’m currently toying with homemade shot shells for the .44 to make it a pseudo-shotgun when I head out with a large caliber rifle. A small powder load in the standard brass case leaves room to place shot. Disks of cardboard make a workable wad and a disk of styrofoam, a good seal. I considered making a snake handling stick. And that was the end of that. If I have to eat snakes, I’ll shoot them.

• Rethink scenarios that you thought you were fully prepared for. Who anticipates everything? I didn’t, and now it’s late in the game. What if an unlikely event happens? I’ve learned that my artesian well AND the lake cannot be relied upon as sources of water. I’ve added a solar well pump to my wish list and moved water containers to the cabin and filled them. I’ve constructed 3″ PVC “buckets” that can be lowered down the well head by rope to retrieve water if electricity is lost. I’m dragging old wooden planks to the lake. Laying them on the mud, they will allow access to the water. Next on my list is making a 5-gallon bucket sand-filter to take enough grossness out of the remaining water to allow filtering through a ceramic filter. After that, I’ve got to erect some sort of simple rain water catchment system, and soon, before the winter rains start.

• We humans are a worse lot than we think. Having grown-up, worked, and lived most of my life in the nice parts of town, I never understood the true prevalence of crime. Or how much more it will be an issue after SHTF, even in the rural areas. Storing supplies at my treat in bolted-down construction boxes is no longer an answer. I’m starting to locate possible caches in the walls and under the cabinets of the cabin for stashing ammo and other small supplies. Many of the smaller tools now go into my truck, as do some other of the small-sized, pricey or hard-to-replace supplies.

But I have yet to find a good answer for large supplies such as food, water, tools, and reloading equipment. Much less some way to prevent theft of firewood. Full size shipping container? There isn’t a lock that can’t be removed. And thieves out there have all the time in the world if I’m not there. The only acceptable solution may be to move to the retreat now, not when the SHTF. It’s not like I have a job holding me back.

With my reluctant wife staying in our city home, we’ve both considered that it may be wise for me to spend 5 or 6 days per week. It would make my presence known in the community as a full time resident, not the owner of a vacation home/retreat. She and the family would make their exodus alone, if need be. Sometimes botched plans are hard to smooth over.

• Don’t forget that Indians dwelled in this land long before we did, wherever you happen to live. What did the local Indians do when times were tough? I met a very old man who is one of the last pure Indians in the area. He was happy to talk and to answer my questions. He remembers foods that his grandmother made during the hard times of his childhood. Turns out that the abundant but poisonous local buckeye/horse chestnut is edible in a pinch. Just pulverize them finely and leach them thoroughly, several times. Raw, crushed buckeyes mixed into the waters of a rock-damned stream stun the fish for easy collection.

And…goats. Goats eat poison oak, which there is always plenty of. And the milk isn’t tainted by the poison oak. I need to locate local goat owners that I could buy or barter goats from after the SHTF. For anyone interested, he told me that the most tasty part of the goat is the tongue. I think I’ll save that for last.

• Laws get enforced only when there is an enforcer. Anticipate less law enforcement in rural areas. And deputize yourself. I put on my big boy britches and cracked down on the marijuana growers next door. Slapped a new lock on my gate to prevent access through my property. The very next day they visited my house and asked what was happening. I told them that further access was dependent upon payment for the damage.

They protested and said they had a right to easement. I told them to call the sheriff if they wanted, but I wasn’t opening the lock without payment. Two thousand dollars in twenties hit my palm and they came up with the remaining money over the next few weeks. I’ve learned that when it comes to growers, the thing they fear the most is not making it to harvest. $7000 to these fellows is chump change. And, they treat me with a lot more respect.

• Folks in your rural location are more citified than you may think. They fill their pantries when they go to the city twice a month. Can’t recognize edible wild plants. And don’t know how to garden. I’m now anticipating that I might have to deal with folks at my door looking for food, just as in cities. I need to improve my knowledge in that area by studying urban survival. On the bright side, I have skills in gardening and foraging and may have enough produce to barter.

• Consider that your plans may fail utterly—your retreat may become unusable before SHTF. FUBAR. Total failure. In my case it could be due to continued drought, a forest fire, or advancing age. I may have to remain in the city. And frankly, I’m not well-prepared for bugging-in. My plan has been centered on exodus to the mountains. Back to the drawing board. Add “Option B” to the master plan—survive in place. I recently purchased the Urban Survival course from surviveinplace.com and am finding it to be an excellent collection of materials. I’ve got real work ahead of me, at a late hour.

• Perhaps the biggest problem with my plan was that I did not spend serious time choosing my retreat. I chose by price and opportunity. In the end, an impulse purchase. As realtors say, it’s all about location, location, location. Not once-in-a-lifetime deals or large properties with lakes and nice cabins. As you may have read in Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat, by M.D. Creekmore, it can be done successfully with much less. (I have an excuse—it had not been published yet.) In addition to M.D.’s book and the solid material on thesurvivalistblog.net, the last several years have brought extensive information all over the Internet.

Most of the largest survival websites have helpful information. Visit the county assessor to research income demographics, tax rolls, and maps. Check with the county planning division or department to see if any major changes are scheduled to take place in your area of interest. Talk to the sheriff about problem areas and crime rates, and types of crime. Put boots on the ground.

The only business establishment near me is a very old, tattered tavern. I’m starting to eat there occasionally, just to listen to the old timers that spend so much time talking about what is going on in our tiny piece of California. They are a wealth of info. I’m driving the backroads to learn more about the lay of the land and the people and their properties. You know, the sort of things I should have done BEFORE buying.

My well laid plans turned out to be seriously off course. Partly because of a lack of research and an impulsive purchase. Partly because life just happens. But isn’t survival more of a spirit and attitude than any specific action, skill, or equipment? Experts in wilderness survival all emphasize that attitude or mindset is the most important element of any plan.

That’s why so many tiny survival kits give up precious space for a bag of tea and packet of sugar. The first thing you do when you realize that things have gone wrong is to calm down, make a cup of warm tea, mentally regroup, and commit yourself to survival. Not panic. Not despair. The other supplies in that kit are important, but useless without the will, determination, and spirit to endure. I’m older than I want to be. My income has changed drastically. My retreat plan has serious flaws. Let me rephrase that — my retreat plan has serious challenges. But I’m going to make it. I will make it.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

Via :  thesurvivalistblog

Frustrations of Prepping with an Unsupportive Spouse, by B.C.

Guest post by B.C.

——

I actually began writing this as an email to a close friend in order to vent my frustrations. After several conversations, I realized that there may be others going through the same struggles, and hopefully what I share can help them.

I think in order to fully understand the situation, I need to share some information about myself as well as my wife. I believe the best way to understand where someone is coming from is to know WHERE they come from. I feel that Eric Haney in his book “Inside Delta Force” captures this best for me:

“The larger part of my family line is made up of the Scots-Irish, a people descended from that peculiar mixture of the Celts of the northern British Isles and the invading Danes and Norsemen. The result was a landless, illiterate, anarchic, and warlike people who were always difficult, if not downright impossible, to govern. They were a race the British Crown rightfully viewed as dangerous rebels, and consequently exiled to the New World by the tens of thousands.

On arrival in the American colonies, these people fled as far as possible from government control, many of them crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains and migrating from there throughout what eventually became the highlands of the southern United States. They were the original “backwoodsmen” of American history.

What did I receive from this lineage? Things I consider to be very valuable: a good raw intellect and a good tough body. A sense of independence and a realization that wherever I am is my home. A sense of humor. A sense of personal honor that results in a touchiness common to our people. We are easily offended and prone to violence when offended. When the only thing you own is your sense of honor, you tend to protect it at all costs.”

To sum it all up, the clan or family was the most important. The members of the family did what they needed to in order to survive. They were hardworking people who relied on no one but each other. There was never any outside assistance, and taking help from the government was almost sinful.

Now my wife’s family would be considered truly middle class. They are skilled workers who live in the semi-rural areas around a midsize city. She’s descended from English settlers who received land grants from the King and who, even today, don’t seem to even think about what is going on outside of their bubble. If it doesn’t affect them, then not much thought is given. Now don’t take this to mean that they are self-centered, as they are hardworking, Christians who will give the shirt off their back to help those around them and actually have done so while working missions. They just prefer to not give much thought to things they feel they can’t change or impact.

I’ve said all this to lay the foundation for the problems I’ve encountered. We were brought up with widely varying views on the world, which I attribute to our family’s past. I distrust outsiders and really anyone not a part of the family clan. I believe you only have yourself and your clan to rely upon; everyone else is a liability. I have an engrained distrust of authority and government, which is ironic since I work for the local government. My wife is more trusting and has called me paranoid many times.

My entry into the world of prepping began back around 2006 when I was finishing college. While I lived at home to save money, my mom and stepdad had moved away from the rest of my family in the hills of North Carolina and the upstate of South Carolina, so I was disconnected from most of my family. I was engaged to my wife at the time, and I was giving serious thought to this big change upcoming in my life. I stumbled across some books that were dystopian in nature and about the U.S. government scrapping the Constitution and turning citizens into subjects. Being a history major with a concentration in U.S. and military history, these appealed to me because at the time I couldn’t see how this could ever happen. My eyes were opened and this whole new world was revealed to me. I began to read as much on any topic that was even remotely related to prepping. That of course led me to this site, and I’ve been a follower ever since.

At the time I didn’t have a full-time job, and the money made from my part-time job went to buy basic necessities and help pay my share of the bills at my parent’s home, which was something I insisted upon doing. What little money I had left, I put away, as I was getting married soon. After my wife and I married in 2008, we were broke. I was four months from starting my full-time job, and we had bought a house together in the fall of 2007 that she lived alone in until we married. We struggled for the next couple of years but I/we refused to rely on anyone other than ourselves to make it work. I still tried to prep when I could, but I mainly relied upon my birthday and Christmas money to score any prepping items.

When I took a new job (and a new career path in LE) in 2010, we started to actually have a savings account. During this time I really started trying to talk more about prepping with my wife. I began small and talked about natural disasters or I would share a news story from somewhere, but I got nothing in return. She said, “God will provide; we don’t need to worry about it.” I changed tactics and used the Bible to try and reinforce my ideas. I tried to use how Noah prepared ahead of time for the flood, but she dismissed that. I then read Prov. 22:3 “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Once again she said, “God will provide.” While I full heartedly agree that God will provide, I also feel that we are to take responsibility for ourselves. My final Biblical attempt to persuade her was to discuss the “Seven Years of Plenty.” She responded by saying, “when God speaks to you and tells you to store up grain, then you go ahead and do it.” I seized my chance right then and there. I explained that I really did feel that God had called for me to do this. I had never given this any thought and then all of a sudden out of nowhere the whole idea of prepping was revealed to me, and I was filled with such desire that it could only be God-inspired. She relented, slightly and agreed to store away some items, but only a small amount at a time and ONLY if it didn’t get in the way.

I started with canned goods at first, but this didn’t last long. We don’t have a lot of storage space, and they were taking up room in our small pantry. I tried to move them elsewhere, and this created another issue; I was taking up closet space. After reading an article on here, I couldn’t believe I had overlooked the unused space beneath our bed and guest bed. Money became tight again as we had unexpected bills arise, so I backed off of buying canned goods for awhile and shifted my attention elsewhere.

Canning was a common occurrence in my home when I was young. At the time my grandparents were raising me as my parents had divorced. I fondly remember helping my grandmother with this chore many afternoons. My wife and I had started a garden in our backyard and we had excess vegetables. I wanted to can them, but she had no experience with this. Since it had been a while since I had last canned, I called my grandmother and had her walk me through it. When I had finished canning tomatoes, squash, and beans, there was quite a mess in the kitchen. My wife stated she didn’t have time to help, so I had to do everything on my own. She complained about the mess, and it infuriated me. In my mind here I was trying to not only save us some money down the road by canning, but I was trying to look out for our future and all I was getting was grief. I blew up; I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see things the way that I did. I remember reading all the time on different survival sites about married couples or families prepping together and how they supported each other. I felt like not only was my wife not supporting me, but she was actively trying to interfere with what I was doing. I believed that as the husband, it was my responsibility to provide for the family and to ensure our safety and prosperity and that my wife was to support me in this. When she didn’t, it really put a strain on our marriage. This leads to the next issue and very big mistakes made by me.

Having grown up in the country where I shot my first firearm before I learned to ride a bike, having a firearm (or several) around the house had never been a foreign concept to me. I thought everyone had firearms in their homes. For my wife, this was something new. She had never seen a firearm in person before we were together. I tried to take her shooting, but she refused. When we were married, she didn’t like the idea of guns in the home, but she knew that I was adamant about having one so she didn’t put up too much of a fuss. After the first year when I received one for my birthday and one for Christmas, she said that was enough. Now in my mind, you can never have enough firearms, but we were newly married and I wanted to keep the peace so I compromised and said I wouldn’t get anymore any time soon. I couldn’t afford to buy them anyway, so I didn’t see this as an issue. Fast forward three years; I can afford to purchase more. I bought a small .22 rifle, which caused a huge disagreement. In retrospect, I should have talked to her about it, but as I said, I never saw the issue with firearms so it didn’t occur to me. A few months later, a friend told me someone he knew was selling a Mosin Nagant for $80. My wife and I have a $100 a month limit for purchases without consulting the other. I felt that I was under the limit, so it shouldn’t matter, but I also remembered the argument that ensued with the .22 purchase. This is where I made the first HUGE mistake. I hid the purchase from her. Then I compounded it by lying about it. She asked what I spent the $80 on, and I said odds and ends for around the house. I got away with it, but it caused me to slide down that slippery slope. I made another firearms purchase and many ammo purchases without her knowledge. She found out after using my iPad and seeing an email discussing purchasing an item from someone. She asked me what I had done that day and I lied to cover it up. This caused lots of trust issues in our marriage that I am still trying very hard to overcome and to rebuild that trust.

During this time, I had been talking to a friend of mine who I consider my brother. I had actually given him a copy of JWR’s “Patriots” to read, and he immediately began prepping as well. He was single at the time and able to purchase anything he wanted without someone looking over his shoulder. I was jealous. This increased my frustration with my wife for her lack of support. I decided that I would continue prepping, but I would do so in secret. My friend and I would go in together on purchases, and he would keep them at his house or if I purchased something I would take it to him to store for me. All this did was to keep my lying to my wife about what I was doing.

I’m sure you are wondering how I was able to keep the purchases secret at this point. First, I only dealt in cash. I knew she would see any purchases by our debit card on the statement. I also knew that if I withdrew money, she would know also so I had to find an alternative way to get money. I would barter for many items, but I also did a few small jobs on the side that paid cash. If I got $100 for the job, I would take $50-$60 and put it in the bank and stow away the rest in cash.

In 2012, my wife became pregnant with our first child. This immediately upped my desire to prep. Now, I was not only responsible for myself and my wife, but we were bringing a child into this world who was 100% dependent upon us. I soon realized how expensive a child can be. I came to the conclusion quickly that I wouldn’t be able to continue trying to prep the way that I had.

My friend called me and said he wanted to start storing away dried goods. He said he had read about using old two-liter soda bottles and juice bottles for storage. I had a lot of those every week between the one or two bottles of soda we would drink and the many bottles of juice that we had for my daughter. When we finished the drink, I would rinse the bottle thoroughly and let it air dry. I would then put the cap back on it, and I stored them in boxes in the garage. I had accumulated close to 100 of these bottles. One day I was at work, and my wife was home when her family came over. They went into the garage to look for something, and my wife saw all the bottles. I had actually told her that I was keeping some bottles in the garage to store things in for in the future. I guess she didn’t realize how many I had. When her family asked what they were for, she said that I’m preparing for the end of the world. They laughed and thought it was amusing. My wife became embarrassed by it. She then threw all the bottles away. When I came home, she told me what had happened. I couldn’t believe what she had done. I was so angry with her, and then she said she was tired of all the “stupid prepping”, that I embarrassed her, the only books I read were about prepping or surviving, and that she was done with my lying.

I finally realized what was happening. I was so focused on her not supporting me that I failed to realize that I was causing as much if not more of the tension between us. While my wife was never 100% behind my efforts, her anger over my lying and deception was focused on the issue of prepping. In her mind if I wasn’t so focused on prepping then I wouldn’t have lied or deceived her and then the lack of trust in our marriage wouldn’t be there. The thing is, she’s completely correct. I allowed my frustration with her lack of support to cloud my judgment to the point where I felt it was not only acceptable but, as it was the only way I could continue prepping, the right thing to do. I sat down and seriously thought about what was going on and here is what I came up with:

  1. I was prepping in order to provide a chance for my family to survive a SHTF scenario.
  2. I resorted to deception and lying to continuing prepping.
  3. #2 led to tension in my marriage.
  4. If left unchecked and something didn’t change, I could see myself losing my family.
  5. If I lost my family, then the entire reasoning behind prepping was for naught.

The decision I had to make was easy. I stopped actively prepping. I completely stopped talking to my wife and really anyone else about prepping outside of a few very close friends. I decided that we would have to rely on what I had stored to that point and pray for God’s provisions thereafter.

We are now a year later. While I am still not actively prepping, my wife has started to come around. She’s seen how hard I’ve been working to rebuild trust in our marriage. She also feels that her non-support was a contributing factor in my behavior. Regardless of whether or not she supported me, I should not have resorted to lying and deception. We’ve worked hard to rebuild what was lost.

Looking back, I hope that others can see and learn from the mistakes that I made. Yes, my wife did not support my belief that we needed to prepare, but the mistakes I made were of my own doing and actually made things worse instead of better. There is no justification for lying and deception in any relationship. Maybe one day I’ll begin to actively prep again. Maybe one day God will open my wife’s eyes the way he did mine. Maybe one day I’ll be able to send in another letter about how things have changed, but if that day doesn’t come I’ll sleep well knowing that I saved my marriage, saved my family, and I still have a few preps put aside for a rainy day. Hopefully, the family clan can pull together, as we have done for centuries, look out for one another, and get through the dark days to come.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: survivalblog


3 Ways Prepping Saves Me Money! Prep Without Going Broke!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the new gadgets and gizmos out there tempting you to buy them – and the preparedness industry is no exception. If you’re not careful you could be talked into spending $5000 for a year supply of food, $15,000 for solar panels, and even $36,000 for your very own survival shelter!

Nothing is wrong with any of those things, but it can leave many people ready to give-up before they even start. Too many times we make the mistake of focusing on how expensive prepping is or, even worse, go broke trying to get there.

It doesn’t need to be that way – you can prep without going broke! In fact, it can actually cost you more if you don’t prep! Prepping saves money!

Since our family decided to prep, prices for everything have gone up, but our bills have gone down. We’ve been able to spend less and save more – something that has always been very difficult for us to do.

Prepping can save you money too, and lots of it. Here are 3 of the ways I’ve noticed it’s made a difference in our wallets.

3 Ways Prepping Can Save You Money:

1- Become a Do-It-Yourself Person

I never considered myself a do-it-yourself person, but when you realize you can pay $100 to have someone do something for you, or $1 to do-it-yourself, it just makes sense!

I’ve realized that preppers, on the whole, are very much about learning how to do things for themselves. That’s just part of being prepared. You never know if you’ll need a doctor, mechanic, or a handy-man, or even if they’ll be available if the time comes. You don’t have to wait until a worst-case scenario to use the skills you learn – you can start using them now! This will help you save big, because if you’ve been to the doctor or mechanic lately, they aren’t cheap!

Other than skills, learning to make & fix things can help you too! I’m constantly impressed with all the DIY projects I see people do. There are too many to name, but if you’re interested in making something instead of buying it, I’m sure there is a tutorial out there for you!

Some of my favorite DIY projects
we’ve done include making a rocket stove, building a bow, & even sewing our own poo wipes.
I told you there are tutorials for EVERYTHING!!!

2- Get Huge Savings at the Store

Out of all the areas, the money I save from shopping (or more like NOT shopping) is the biggest! When I say I don’t go to the store often, I’m not talking about only going twice a month, but I’m talking about only going twice a year!

Stocking-up, which most preppers do, can really help you save big! Here are a few ways how:

  • Buy in Bulk – When you’re stocking up on food and supplies you can buy in bulk – and bulk pricing is usually significantly less than buying in smaller quantities.
  • Buy at the Best Prices! – If you’re only buying things a few times a year, you can buy when the prices are at the lowest. Therefore, you’re not stuck playing the grocery store game. You can play the coupon game instead.
  • Save on Gas – When you have everything you need at home, you’re not having to make last minute trips to the store for little things. Depending on how far away you live from the store, this can add up to a lot!
  • Not buying Extra Stuff! Maybe you have control over yourself and your kids when you go shopping, but sometimes I give in – I let them talk me into new shoes or a bag of Cheetos, and I usually find a cute necklace or something for the house. Even those these purchases may be small, they add up when you look at the entire year! Since I rarely go the store now, I’ve noticed my extra spending category has decreased quite a bit. Now if I could just figure out how to stay off Amazon I would be set!

3- Live a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle (instead of a Self-Indulgent One)

One surprising thing I noticed when striving to be more prepared: I stopped caring about keeping up with the Jones’. My priorities and focus definitely took a turn – I believe for the better.

No longer was I working towards a bigger house, nicer cars & more vacations, but instead I started spending extra time and money on starting a garden, learning new skills, and teaching my kids how to prep. One of our new mottos is…

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

I feel striving towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle helped me to embrace my cheap side and be proud of it! I’m fine with the fact that we don’t have the nicest things and my kids aren’t being spoiled to the max. I feel our society is becoming an entitled one, and I hope to not add to it.

Besides my focus changing, striving to be self-sufficient opened up a whole new world to me. There were so many things that never even occurred to me I could do for myself – grow my own food, raise chickens, make my own soap and laundry detergent, and so much more!!!

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: thesurvivalmom

When Prepping for Survival, Put a Low Priority on High-Tech

Guest post By Melissa

Joe and his group thought they were prepared for anything.  Their provisions included three shiny new SUVs parked in a secure garage and guarded by a sophisticated alarm.  Each member communicated with the others using military-style hand-held radios.  Their communal bunker was outfitted with scanners, CB transceivers, and signal boosting antennas.

The armory held 20 weapons, including sniper rifles, tactical shotguns, and several 9mm pistols.  Most were equipped with laser sights.  Night vision goggles were stored nearby.  A locked vault held 10,000 rounds of ammo for each firearm, along with multiple high-capacity magazines.  In one building was a miniature clinic stocked with antibiotics, pain killers, and electronic diagnostic equipment.  There was even a medical library stored on CDs.

The compound’s exterior was monitored by wireless cameras that fed images to a server set deep in the compound.  The pantry held enough rations to provide each member with 2,000 calories a day for 18 months.  Solar battery banks and a generator fed by a local stream stood ready to provide the compound’s power needs, should the electrical grid go out.

To pass the time, Joe and his group had stocked high-definition televisions, hundreds of DVDs, and two gaming consoles.  When the poop finally hit the fan, they thought they would be living high off the hog for at least a year without breaking a sweat.

They were wrong.  When the crisis finally occurred, it came in the form of a massive solar flare, one that fried the electronics in every piece of equipment they owned.  The SUVs would take them nowhere.  The radios and scanners were useless, the medical library was inaccessible, and the TVs and gaming devices wouldn’t play.  Even the solar array/generator setup was useless; its circuits were burnt to a crisp by the sun’s temper tantrum.  Want to guess how long Joe and his buddies made it without any of their fancy gadgets?

This sad story illustrates a critical error many survivalists commit when planning for the big day.  They forget how incredibly fragile modern technology is, and how much it depends on the infrastructure set up by corporations and the government.  Without the Internet, centralized telecommunications, and an electrical grid, most devices made in the last few decades would be little more than paperweights.

Given these sad facts, what is the average prepper to do?  Here are some guidelines that should underlie any realistic approach to staying alive in truly tough times:

  • Minimize your dependence on technology.  Use smoke signals and stones arranged in patterns to send messages.  Buy vintage autos, ones that are free of onboard computers and other high-tech junk.  In a true survival situation, a VW Bug from the 60s will do you a lot more good than a modern truck with a dead computer chip.  Even better, get a bicycle or a horse.  Forget TV; read paperbound books instead.  Play cards or board games rather than video games.  Do as much as possible while the sun is up, because when it sets you’ll be hitting the sack.   Learn to appreciate silence, because the natural world is a quiet place.
  • Add a black powder weapon to your preps, like the venerable Kentucky rifle, and use it like the pioneers did theirs.  Learn to cast your own bullets and make powder from bat guano and other natural sources.  While you’re at it, make sure you know how to set traps, make compost, and grow vegetables from seeds found in nature, not the kind you buy in the store.
  • Keep some sort of currency around for barter purposes, one that will carry some weight in the post-apocalyptic world.  Hard chocolates, tobacco products, and even coffee beans will be more precious than gold in such a society.  Use these to trade for the items you truly need, like a metal pot to boil water in or a shot of penicillin.

This may not sound like much fun, but following these tips will keep you alive while others are floundering helplessly.  And, if you live long enough to see the return of technology, then you will appreciate its comforts more than ever before.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: thesurvivalistblog