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10 Ways To Stay Calm And Prepare For A Disruptive Event

Caught in the Storm

Over a recent dinner at my place with like-minded friends, the conversation turned to the state of the world, our country, and society in general.  While this was supposed to be a fun evening and a much needed break from long work-days, the conversation became quite sobering as we started to rattle off all of the disruptive events that the four of us prepare for.  Events that may happen tomorrow or events that may never happen.

I began to squirm in my chair as I realized that each of us felt challenged both by the need to keep our preps up (meaning stuff and skills) and the need to live a joyful life.  The two, it would seem, do not always mix.  We want it to, and most assuredly I write about it, but believing and doing are two different matters altogether.

Since then, I have given some thought to coping while living in a world where a disruptive event could turn life upside down.  Today I want to throw down the gauntlet and tell you that even for me, it is a extremely difficult.  And  if I am feeling it, you must be too.

What the Heck is a Disruptive Event?

Do you like that word?  Disruptive Event? For the past year that has been my catch-all phrase for the myriad of things that could happen to alter life as we know it.

I use this term to describe any event that could potentially transform our personal lives into one of chaos, distress, confusion, or all of the above.  Interestingly enough, today I could not find many references to this term using Google so the how, where, and why I started using it most likely has to do with my own thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.

Note:  TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It

TEOTWAWKI was a commonly used acronym in preparedness and survival circles until the end of 2012 when various predications of the end of times did not materialize.  The term is still used today, in a much broader sense.  At Backdoor Survival, for example, TEOTWAWKI refers to anything that disrupts our normal way of life.  This could be something as devastating as an EMP taking down the power grid, to a more mundane (but equally devastating) job loss or loss of a family member.

Disruptive events are common and that is why we prepare.  In 12 Months of Prepping, as I have defined it, we are preparing for short term disruptive events and in doing so, we are better prepared than 95% of our friends and neighbors.

But honestly and truly, that is just a start.  What about after that?

The trite answer is that we focus on skills and projects that foster self sufficiency without modern conveniences.  We also focus on defensive tactics and how we will defend not only our homes, but our person, and our rights under the Constitution.  More difficult is that we prepare our mental state so that we will be level-headed and calm when our world becomes a sea if chaos.

The Plight of the Prepper Who Carriers the Burden of Truth

The past four years have been rather remarkable in that on the surface and to the naïve and uninformed, they have appeared outlandishly normal.  Those in the know, however, have been able to peel away the layers of deceit and recognize that information coming from so-called official sources changes daily to suit some unwritten agenda.

While living in the moment, everything appears copacetic.  But in truth, for me it almost feels as though we are entering twilight zone.  Does it for you?

Plenty has already been written here an elsewhere about being prepared but precious little is written about how you overcome the personal sense of being alone and lonely in your preparedness quest.  That, to me, and I suspect for you, is the plight of the prepper who carriers the burden of truth.

So, without resorting to doom and gloom, today I am sharing my take what we need to do to prepare for a “disruptive event” or tipping point in a reasonable and calm manner.  This is a mixed bag of both practical preps and lifestyle choices.  I hope this list helps you, as it is helping me.

10 Ways to Stay Calm and Prepare for a Disruptive Event

1.  Have a frank and unemotional discussion with a close family member or someone you trust about your concerns.  Share with them the specific disruptive event that will constitute your own tipping point.  Even if they are not a prepper (and many times, a prepper goes the journey alone), it will be good to share your concerns out loud.

2.  Relieve stress with laughter.  Don’t be afraid to have fun.  Tell jokes, do something goofy, play stupid games and try your best to have a good time.  If things get bad, you will undergo extreme stress.  Plan for that by thinking through some fun activities now, while your mind and focus are still clear.

3.  Having an abundant back stock of food will give you peace of mind.  Fill your pantry with enough food to eat during an extended lockdown. How much is enough?  I am not one to quote specific quantities as it relates to time because individual calorie needs vary.  That said, here is a list to get you started:  20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.

4.  Go the extra mile when it comes to clutter, cleanliness, and sanitation.  If a disruptive event happens, your own personal ground zero will be clean and tidy.  Your personal space will be much easier to maintain going forward and besides, when the disruptive event occurs, doing routine housekeeping chores will be the least of your worries.  Store fresh bleach (no more than six months old) or pool shock.

Print out instructions for disinfecting surfaces and purifying water.  Stock up on hand sanitizers, alcohol, and purifying essential oils.  Read Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage and How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

5.  Nail down access to water within your home.  By that I mean within your living space and not outdoors in the carport or an out-building.  If there is a disruptive event and you are required to hunker down, you will want plenty of drinking water in your home, not outdoors,  Start filling repurposed juice and soda bottles with water and tuck them away so that they will be accessible.

Learn how to remove water from your hot water heater and if you can, keep a hose nearby so you can get the water out of the tank and into your living space.

6.  Stay informed by reading news from a variety of sources.  Take the time to visit a variety of websites in addition to tuning in to mainstream media reports.  If something you watch or read sounds like fear-mongering, move on.

7.  Protect your immune system with healthy eating including lots of antioxidants in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables plus plenty of high quality protein foods.

8.  Practice saying “no” in everyday life.  This, for some, can be extremely difficult.  I am someone who has difficulty saying no to people and as a result, I often find myself in a pickle as I become overworked and burdened with things I have promised to do for others to the exclusion of my own task and chores.  You are going to have to say “no” to those that come knocking on your door asking for help if the SHTF.  Better start practicing now!

9.  Prepare a written plan of action detailing what you will do if a disruptive event occurs.  Start with one type of event then later, create a plan for a second type of event.  Speaking from experience, having a plan helps even if, when the time comes, a portion of the plan has to be tossed.  The added benefit is that if you are a solo prepper, you can share the plan when your non-prepping family starts to come around (as I guess they will if things get bad enough).

10.  Continue to live  your life normally.  Go to parties.  Enjoy family events.  In the back of your mind you my think or even know that a mess of a freight train is heading your way.  But while you are waiting, just live!

The Final Word

Now is the time to be calm and to mobilize your energy so that you will be mentally prepared for a disruptive event that we hope will not happen.  More than anyone, I realize how difficult this is.  It can be lonely, depressing, and tiresome.  Trust me, I feel your angst and your weary spirit.

Hang in there and know you are not alone.  As I said in point #1, sometimes it helps to just talk about it and to share your feelings.  That has worked for me and I hope it works for you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Cash After The Collapse: How To Make Moonshine

moonshine

Collapse currency is a necessary shtf insurance policy we need to invest in for our long-term longevity. With this idea in mind, when we look at the concept of investing and wealth preservation for uncertain times, we want to employ a strategy that will provide as much coverage as possible so that if we are hit out of the blue with something totally unexpected, we’ll at least have the basic necessities to survive.

One of the most popular shtf currencies many have invested in is gold and silver. While these are the currencies of kings, many believe it may not be the only form of currency in a shtf scenario to prepare for. In this type of scenario, you must take into account to our everyday lives will have changed. We will longer have access to our modern conveniences: medicine, clean drinking water, food and, in desperate times, we will do what we can to trade or barter for it.

If we are facing an event where there is a capacity of millions of lives killed and take decades to recover from like a nuclear war or an EMP strike, then things like gold and silver may go on the back burner for a while. It’ll still have some value, but when survival consumes your every thought, your priorities tend to change. Valuable commodities like medicine, sugar and salt, seeds, knives and tobacco are a few of the six kinds of currency that will be tradable in a long-term emergency. Another important item to stock up on is alcohol.

SHTF Uses for Alcohol

  • Alcohol has long been used in place of antiseptic and can clean wounds, sterilize needles, knives and other instruments.
  • This barter items can also be used as fuel for engines (use as fuel on small equipment, generators, etc).
  • Alcohol can also be added to medicinal herbs to make tinctures and elixirs.
  • Use alcohol as a solvent to use to clean guns, razors and other tools.
  • In a dire situation, alcohol can also be given to an injured person as a numbing agent so medical or dental procedures can be performed.

When all else fails, knowing how to make your own distilled spirits could save your life or provide you with a handsome barter item. Knowing how to make your own alcohol will ensure you have a tradeable item for future currency exchanges.

Alcohol is made with two simple ingredients: sugar and yeast. Yeast, should be stored in a cool, dry place. If kept in its original packaging it can last for two years. If stored in the freezer, it can last up to five years. Learn how to make your own yeast for long-term sustainability. Sugar is a forever food item and can last indefinitely.

Steps to Make Your Own Moonshine

  1. Boil water and add cornmeal. Don’t go beyond boiling point or you’ll kill the yeast. It should just be warm enough to touch.
  2. Now that you’ve made the mash, add sugar and yeast. If there are 2 ingredients you need to appreciate, it’s these. These are the very two things in charge of providing that special kick.
  3. Ferment it for 5 days or until the bubbles stop forming. Now, you have the sour mash. Don’t let the name fool you because this mix is designed to make life sweet!  Heat the sour mash in your pressure cooker and set it at 173 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the alcohol rise to the surface.
  4. Attach one end of the copper pipe into the pressure cooker vent and dip the other end into a container filled with cold water. Make sure the pipe doesn’t touch your precious mash.
  5. As the vapors course through the cold copper tubing, the alcohol formed is now what we call the moonshine.
  6. Filter the drink through charcoal and remove gunk.

See graphic below for detailed reference:

(click to enlarge)

moonshine

Keep your alcohol in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Keep the bottles upright and do not open them. Once opened, the liquid will evaporate and lose its flavor after six to eight months.

Read more on distilling your spirits here

Related Article:

45 Survival Uses for Alcohol


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Shakespeare: Tax Dodger And Food Hoarder?

shakespeare

Food has always been a form of currency, especially during times of economic strife. Over the last several years, we have witnessed the drastic shifts of food prices, causing many of us to prepare for future times of hardship. As we live through these unprecedented times, we bear witness to not only economic uncertainties, but political shifts, environmental changes, and societal upheavals. All of these events shape how we perceive the world. That said, if our environment shapes and influences our perceptions of the world, wouldn’t it make sense to prepare for this uncertainty? It’s common sense, I know. Yet, there have been times in history when preparing during times of strife was frowned upon and had the potential to cause imprisonment, as a result.

Was Shakespeare a Man of His Time or a Product of His Environment?

Most notably, William Shakespeare, arguably one of the greatest writers who lived, lived during his own time of strife. He lived and wrote in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, during a period known as the “Little Ice Age,” when unusual cold and heavy rain caused poor harvests and food shortages. Surviving during this time was a struggle, and food insecurity was at the forefront of problems.

William Shakespeare is quoted as saying,

Famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back;
The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law:
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.

Romeo and Juliet (5.1.76), Romeo to the Apothecary

Shakespeare’s insights into famine were because he lived amongst it. As a wealthy landowner and successful businessman, he saw those around his struggling to survive. He invested some of his wealth into storing large amounts of grains and later sold it for inflated prices. Whether it was to prepare for long-term famine or to make a quick buck, no one really knows. What we do know is that it was illegal during the time.

Academics at the University of Wales claimed they have uncovered court documents that, during his lifetime, threatened Shakespeare with fines for illegally stockpiling food during a famine and imprisonment for tax evasion.

According to the article:

Court and tax records show that over a 15-year period Shakespeare purchased grain, malt and barley to store and resell for inflated prices, according to a paper by Aberystwyth University academics Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas.

The study notes: “By combining both illegal and legal activities, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon. His profits – minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion – meant he had a working life of just 24 years.”

Source

While some may deem Mr. Shakespeare as a businessman for selling food at inflated prices during a time of famine, others would consider him an opportunist. He saw an opportunity in storing grains for a long-term famine and also realized it meant he could profit off of the business venture, as well. These days, one would be more likely to call Shakespeare a capitalist rather than an illegal food hoarder.

What Can We Learn From This?

As preppers, we know that when a population’s basic needs are not being met, a person will do anything to keep their family fed – even pay inflated prices. So, I ask you, what side of this scenario do you want to be on: The one who has the grains to barter and sell, or the ones begging for it at the mercy of the seller?

The only way to change how severely these types of debacles can affect us is by recognizing them for what they are and preparing for them beforehand. Knowing the possible storms that are on the horizon and preparing for them will help us stay better insulated from them. This concept is gone over in great detail in The Prepper’s Blueprint, and focuses on the importance of keeping a vigilant watch for potential hazards that are in our field of vision.

Whether or not Shakespeare was a ruthless profiteer and food hoarder, he can teach us a valuable lesson. In dire times, our food sources are a lifeline and something we should all prepare for. With the concern that many of our main food sources have peaked in productivity, in the future, we could be facing a famine of our own. Calculating how much food we will need for a long-term disaster is essential in ensuring we have everything we need for our family. While others are investing in worthless nickknacks, investing in goods can help us invest in our wealth.


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

How This Nutty Article May Save Your Life

acorns

In a long-lived emergency, our food stores can quickly be depleted. If this occurs, we must rely on our knowledge of native food sources growing wild in our area. One such wild edible is found in great abundance in many parts of the country and is a food source that is long forgotten. We are talking about the acorn.

Acorns can easily serve as an efficient way of pulling together a large amount of food. Many indigenous tribes and groups from around the world have utilized the acorn for its ability to give us nutrition and sustenance. In fact, it is estimated that in some regions of California, where the natives used them, fifty percent of their yearly caloric intake came from the humble acorn.

Acorns Serve Multiple SHTF Purposes

Native Indians used acorns as a huge source of their nutrition. As well, acorns should be looked at as a staple foods and can replace our dependence on corn and wheat. Acorns of white and black oak trees are readily available in many parts of the country and have a wide variety of uses.

  • Acorns can be used to make a variety of different foods sources ranging from coffeeflour, soup thickeners, alternatives for oatmeal or just eating the nuts as a protein source.
  • The vegetable oils in acorns are comparable to olives, corn and soybeans and can be used as a cooking oil or biofuel source.
  • The nut meal can be used as animal fodder after the acorns have been shelled and ground.
  • The shells can be used as a heat source, garden mulch, or added to the compost pile.
  • Acorns are a complete protein and nutrition source.
  • Acorns possess many medicinal properties.
  • Acorns can be scattered around an area to lure wild game for additional food sources.

Health Benefits of Acorns

  • Help control blood sugar levels.
  • High in complex carbohydrates.
  • Lower in fat compared to other nuts.
  • Rich in vitamins B12, B6, folate riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.
  • Good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, copper and zinc.
  • Good source of fiber and protein.

Medicinal Benefits of Acorns

The water used to remove the tannins in the boiling process from acorns can be saved and refrigerated to use for various medicinal applications. Over time, it will develop mold on the surface. Before using, bring it back to a boil which will kill the mold and continue to refrigerate for future uses.

  • Sooth skin rashes, burns, and small cuts
  • Use externally to help treat hemorrhoids
  • Soothes and heals the blisters and helps reduce the itching
  • Brown water ice cubes helps to soothe inflamed tissues
  • Use as a gargle to soothe your sore throat
  • A mild tea can be made to reduce symptoms of diarrhea

Important Points to Consider When Harvesting Acorns

  1. The amount of tannins present in the acorn can play a role in the taste factor. Like most nuts, lightly toasting them in an oven can help the taste improve. Toast on a cookie sheet in an oven at 175° F.  Stir acorns around to prevent scorching. Tannic acid is water-soluble and can be removed by boiling or flushing them out.
  2. Collect healthy acorns that have right type of kernel. Avoid acorns that are still firmly attached to the cap were shed early and are defective. As well, acorns that have streaks indicate a fungus is present. Also acorns that have holes had an acorn weevil present in the acorn and should not be eaten. Throw out any acorns that have already begun to germinate.
  3. Investing in a durable hand crank type grain mill and oil expeller would be beneficial in extracting the meat and oils of the acorn.

If you have access to a running stream, to save on time and energy, some have added their acorns to a mesh bag and secure it in a stream for two days to help naturally leach out the tannins. If you cannot do this method, see the following video for to learn how to effectively leach out tannins and make acorn meal and flour.

The acorn flavor is slightly nutty, very hearty and can last as long as regular flour, as long as it stays dry. Store your acorn flour in a cool, dry place.

Here are some great recipes to practice using acorn flour:

Acorn Pancakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salad oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ground and leached acorns (see video)
  • 1/2 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat or white flour
  • 2 teaspoons of double action baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Mix all ingredients together. If the batter is too thick to pour, thin it with milk. Pour pancakes into a hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown on both sides.

Prepper Pemmican

  • 1 lb. lean stewing meat, cut quite small
  • 1/2 cup dehydrated wild plums
  • 1/2 cup acorn meal

Boil the lean stewing meat. When it is tender, drain and allow it to dry in a bowl. Grind all of the ingredients together in a meat grinder using a fine blade. Grind again, mixing finely, distributing the ingredients very well. Place in a covered dish and refrigerate overnight. (Or you can eat right away, but like many foods, the refrigerating allows the flavors to blend nicely.) You can serve this on any flatbread, such as a tortilla. It is best served warm, or you can reheat it in the pan in the oven like a meatloaf.

Cornmeal and Acorn Mush

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup acorn meal, ground
  • 1 cup cornmeal

Bring salted water to a boil and sprinkle the acorn meal into the boiling water, stirring briskly with a wire or twig whisk. Then add the cornmeal. Add just enough cornmeal to make a thick, bubbling batch in which a wood spoon will stand up fairly well. Place the saucepan in a larger container holding two inches or more of boiling water. (Use a double boiler, if you have one.) Simmer the mush until quite thick, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from lumping.

Cornmeal and acorn mush is very good for breakfast on a cold morning. It can be served with sweetened milk and a dab of wild fruit jam or homemade butter. But it is also great as a main course lunch or dinner. You can also add salsa or bacon bits and grated cheese on top to get great variety. This mush is very filling and will stick to your ribs.

Apache Acorn Cakes

  • 1 cup acorn meal, ground fine
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients with enough warm water to make a moist, not sticky dough. Divide into 12 balls. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes or so. With slightly moist hands, pat the balls down into thick tortilla-shaped breads. Bake on an ungreased cast iron griddle over campfire coals or on clean large rocks, propped up slightly before the coals. If using the stones, have them hot when you place the cakes on them. You’ll have to lightly peel an edge to peek and see if they are done. They will be slightly brown. Turn them over and bake on the other side, if necessary. Add butter, if necessary.

Recipe Sources

To conclude, the mighty oak tree is a symbol for strength, longevity and durability, and their seeds are no different. Understanding how underutilized this food source is can give you an upper-hand for a time when food may not be as readily available.

Related Articles:

Acorn Nuts: The Grain That Grows on Trees

Acorn: The Perennial Grain


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

How To Homestead When You Rent: Part Three

apartments

Most prepper-types are also homesteaders but do not know it.  I say that because we “Homestead in Place” which is a term I defined back in January 2014.  Perhaps others are now using that term; I have not checked.  None the less, it still applies.

By my own definition, to “homestead in place” means that you take what you have – be it a downtown condo, an urban apartment, a suburban tract home or a cottage home in a seaside community – and choose an assortment of traditional homesteading activities to apply to your unique environment.

Taking that up a notch, homesteading seems to imply ownership. But wait.  Renters can homestead as well!

For this series of articles, I have asked LeAnn Edmondson aka the Homestead Dreamer, to coach us on the tactics needed to homestead if you are a renter.  If you have already read parts one and part two, you will begin to recognize a common theme.  Homesteading, whether you rent or own, is 90% mindset!

Here, in part three, learn to pick a task then assess the resources you need to accomplish that task. Surely you can do that, right?

How to Homestead When You Rent – Assess Your Resources

It is 100% possible to homestead when you rent and it amazes me how few people realize this simple fact. The days of pioneering people moving West may be over, but the ideals and lessons they left behind are there for those who feel the tug that pulls us to follow in their footsteps. To be more self-reliant and produce more of your own food and comforts is usually at the heart of it. Look up modern homesteading and you may be very surprised at what you find.

It is reassuring to know that there are others just like you with similar (or even less) living space than you have and the amazing things they are doing with it. You define what homesteading is for yourself. There is no right or wrong answer.

Let’s say you have chosen to focus on growing herbs because you want access to fresh more often and don’t want to pay the high prices for dehydrated spices. You have your focus! Now it’s time to gather your resources. This is where we really get into the meat of your mentality shifting from ‘consumer’ to ‘producer’ and homesteader!

No one can do it all alone but I would rather do some of it instead of none.

Let’s assume you live in a large apartment building and have a very small balcony, say 12-15 total square feet. (We also assume the rules allow for plants on the balcony). You have a limited budget along with limited space. These are usually the excuses given for not even starting something anything considered homesteading.

Break through the reasons you can’t do what you want and problem solve the ways you can.

Assess Your Resources

You know you will need containers to plant in, soil, seeds, and some good fertilizer or plant food. For the preservation of your harvest, you will need to learn which method suits you, best given what you have available and how to do it.

Because of your budget restrictions, you might be able to buy a couple bags of soil, but cannot afford to buy everything new. Honestly, you shouldn’t have to! You already have 50% of what you need just lying around your house. The soil and seeds can also be gotten for (almost) free if you are willing to do the legwork.

Containers. Save your milk jugs, soda bottles (if you drink it), and go through your cupboards for any plastic containers that have seen better days. These are wonderful for getting your starts going! Function first, looks second!

Fertilizer. Do you drink coffee? Eat eggs? If not, chances are you know someone who does. Coffee grounds are a wonderful source of nitrogen for your plants. You can sprinkle them over the top of the soil, work it into the top few inches, or simply steep some in the water you use for your plants. The eggshells can be crushed down and mixed in with the soil as well to add back calcium and other trace minerals into the soil. Neither method should be done all the time, only as needed for a nice boost. The egg shells will take several months to absorb (depending how finely they are crushed).

Soil. Due to the space given in this scenario, you won’t need very much. If your budget is zero or you can’t get some from a local store, there are other ways! Social media is a great way to get the word out there. You could barter (another very homestead thing to do) some of your time or skills for a bag of extra soil someone has. Hit Craigslist and check for people in your area who may have some they need to get rid of. Don’t forget farmers and farmer’s markets!

Seeds. Seeds are incredibly inexpensive for the amount you get. Again, because you may be dealing with an extremely small space, a whole pouch of lettuce seeds may be too much. There are ways to get a variety of seeds without spending a lot of money.

You can buy a few different packs (for around $4-6 total) of seeds, take out what you want to use and take the rest to a seed exchange! Check your local agricultural extension office for information about seed exchanges in your area. Also check farmer’s markets and Craigslist.

There are people who have so many extra, they give them away. Asking for packets from last year on social media is another way to get free seeds. Their germination rate may be lower but it was free and you still reap the rewards of the harvest!

Preserving the Harvest. There are many methods that you can choose from to suit your needs and capabilities. Since what you have grown in this scenario are things like sage, oregano, chives, and rosemary, all you really need to do for preservation is to dry them out and store them!

There are dehydrators you can buy that will speed up the process and ensure everything is truly dry but you can also simply use your oven on the lowest setting possible with the door opened a crack. Not the most energy efficient but it will do in a pinch. See if your friends have a dehydrator you can use or research different ways to dry them in the house. Most homes have some sort of humidity in them which runs the risk of molding due to the leaves not being fully dried. To combat that, you can have a small fan blowing air around.

You can also preserve your fresh herbs and spices by making an olive oil infusion. Place the herbs into a bottle with olive oil, cork it tightly and let it sit for a few days until the flavor has worked through it. This method requires you use it sooner rather than later.

Another longer term storage idea is placing herbs into ice cube trays and pouring olive oil over them. Freeze the tray until everything is solid and then simply pop them out. If using a plastic bag, make sure it is freezer grade. This is recommended for the hardier, thicker herbs such as rosemary. Other people will also place herbs into the ice tray and simply fill them with water. When they are making a soup or stew, they just grab a few cubes to add ‘fresh’ herbs to the meal!

As you can see above, all you have to do is shift your mentality.

Look at what you have around you that serves the same purposes as a “flower pot” would, for example. Just because it isn’t a certain shape or color doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into one! These are the first steps to seeing items that others would view as trash and repurposing them to fit your needs.

Function First, Looks Second!

One of the most common questions I get asked by new gardeners is “What should I grow?”

My answer is, “Grow what you eat.” I usually get a surprised look in response because it really is just that easy. Do you like a lot of green salads? Grow a jungle of different greens! My only caution here is to focus on a few different things you most commonly enjoy eating. If you try to plant two or three of each vegetable you enjoy eating, you will get overwhelmed and your results will likely suffer for it. Start small.

Remembering that there are people around you who are into the same thing and building your network of like minded people will bring you knowledge, new resources to tap into, and increase your chances for success. You will likely make some great new friends in the process. No matter what ‘homesteading’ project you decide to tackle first, the basic steps are the same. Decide what you want to do, figure out what you need, assess your resources, and then implement the plan!

We will cover that in Part 4 of How to Homestead When You Rent.

This is part 3 of a 5 part series on “How to Homestead When You Rent.” If you missed part 1, click here.  Part 2 can be found hereFor more about LeAnn, see About LeAnn Edmondson.

The Final Word

I keep going back to the concept of “Homestead in Place”.  The tactical steps in doing so are so in-your-face simple that none of us has an excuse for not making a concerted attempt to achieve a homesteaders level of self-sufficiency.

Renter or not, having a positive attitude and a forward-thinking mindset will reap you many rewards as you move forward in both your preparedness and your homesteading journeys.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

7 Reasons Why Sunflowers Are A Multi-Purpose Prep

Sunflower

Thomas Bulfinch was once quoted as saying, “The sunflower is a favorite emblem of constancy.”  How right he was. This faithful flower is as useful as it is lovely, and should be a must in your personal seed libraries.

Sunflower seeds are often overlooked for long-term preparedness goals. It’s a small seed, so it’s understandable. That said, it should be considered a multi-purpose prep. Best of all, the seeds are adequately priced and store well.

Benefits of Sunflowers in the Garden

  1. They provide good harvests. With minimal effort, you can harvest a substantial amount of sunflower seeds for a long-term emergency situation. In a 2,500 square foot lot, you can grow up to 20 pounds of nutritious, non-hulled seeds with enough broken seeds left over to feed a winter’s worth of birds.
  2. They attract bees and birds to the garden. My grandfather had a vegetable garden every year and in that garden were rows of robust, yellow flowers swaying in the warm summer breeze. As a child, I asked him why he was growing these giant flowers along with his vegetables. He smiled and said, “Do you see the bees buzzing around the flowers? And the birds? That’s why I put them in my garden – and every garden should have sunflowers.”
  3. Can be put to use in the garden. The stalk of the Mammoth Sunflower is very strong and can be used in the “Three Sisters” gardening method as a living gardening stake. In lieu of growing corn, grow sunflowers in its place and allow climbing plants such as green beans, peas, squash, etc., to grow up the stalk. As well, when the sunflowers tower over the smaller plants and vegetables in the garden, the sunflowers provide a shade canopy and increase the humidity, as well. This would be a welcome addition to the garden during the dog days of summer.
  4. Make your own oil. Has anyone thought about making their own oil for a continued supply? The high oil content of sunflower seed, often over 40%, makes it a great choice in making homemade oil. Oil used for food is one of the first items to disasppear if a long term disaster were to occur. In a 2,500 square foot lot, a family of four can grow each year enough sunflower seeds to produce three gallons of homemade oil suitable for salads or cooking. Source As well, you can make your own biodiesel. Sunflower oil can be used to run diesel engines.
  5. Enjoy the health benefits of sunflower seeds. The seeds are high in vitamin A and E, have natural tannins, inulin, levulin, magnesium, selenium, B-1, B-5, phosphorous, tryptophan, copper, B-6, manganese, folate, fiber, iron and zinc, amino acids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Seeds can also be sprouted to have a natural source of enzymes. Sprouted sunflower greens, known as microgreens contain up to 100 times the enzymes of regular, full-grown greens. This means your body can more easily absorb the nutritional benefits.
  6. Sunflowers have medicinal properties. Aside from the health aspects and usefulness in the garden, they also possess some medicinal qualities. The seeds, leaves and roots can be used to ease symptoms of various ailments. The seeds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and expectorant properties. They can help reducing the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and help in cases of bronchial, pulmonary and laryngeal problems. They can reduce high blood pressure and migraine headaches. Due to their magnesium content, sunflower seeds can also act as prevention against heart attacks and strokes. Sunflower leaves can be used as an infusion to treat high fevers, lung problems and diarrhea. As a poultice, sunflower root is used against snake and spider bites.
  7. Use it as a livestock feed. Ground seeds used in making sunflower oil can be turned into meal and readily used as a livestock feed. Sunflower meal contains less protein and much more fiber than soybean meal, making it a valuable livestock feed

Most sunflowers are remarkably tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not waterlogged. Most are heat- and drought-tolerant. Growing these seeds will help you create the sustainable environment you are working toward.

Additional Reading:

Sunflowers for Biofuel Production

How to Perfectly Roast Shelled Sunflower Seeds


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

9 Things To Do To Prepare For Hard Times Ahead

uncertainty-ahead

Most Prepper types that I know appear to have a common trait: they are good at evaluating risks then moving to mitigate those risks in a nimble manner.  What that means, in somewhat plainer English, is they have the ability to evaluate a situations, make a plan, learn from it, and ultimately act in a responsible manner.

Along those lines, more recently I have done some personal analysis and put more focus on what I call “hard times ahead”.  With my disaster preps more or less in order, I want to ensure that my own household will get through a period of difficulty when, for instance, there is not enough food, work, or money to go around.

A couple of years I shared 7 Tips to Prepare for Hard Times.  Today, with even more concern about an eminent financial collapse, I suggest 9 more tips to prepare for hard times ahead.

Are You Ready for Hard Times? 9 Things You Can Do Now

1.  Accumulate cash and store it under your mattress, preferably in small denominations

No silly, I don’t really mean that you should store cash under your mattress (so do not come over and look under mine!). Rather, you will want to store cash is some well-hidden place or places where you can get to it in secret, if needed.  Although I have not done so yet, I plan to locate a cache of bills underground in two or three different locations.

Now that I think about it, burying a supply of heirloom seeds, well sealed in Mylar bags, might be a good idea as well.

2.  Practice blending in and looking normal and nondescript

Even if you are normally reclusive and keep to yourself, get out in the community and be seen.  Wear drab clothing and look ordinary.  The point is that you want to be seen as a “regular” but not noticed because you appear different or worse, as a stranger to the community.

3.  Practice haggling and the art of barter for goods and services

A good place to start is at flea markets or thrift shops. In my big-city days I have even tried this in boutiques but I never did have enough nerve to do so while shopping for shoes at Nordstrom.

For many, this will take you outside of your comfort zone so start modestly and work your way up toward more sophisticated barter transactions.

See:  101 Low Cost Items to Barter When the SHTF

4.  Take care of major or minor health concerns now

Get your teeth cleaned and take care of any dental work that needs to be done.  If there is a medical procedure you have been putting off, do so now.  Are you overweight and in poor physical shape?  Cut out sweets for awhile and start walking to build your stamina.

5.  Keep your vehicles in top working condition and always top them off with fuel

A vehicle does not have to be a shiny new model in order to function well.  As a matter of fact, part of “blending in” means you will have an older vehicle but one that is well taken care of.

Here is Washington state, many of us have Subaru’s because they are four-wheel drive and run forever.  Have a white Subaru in my State?  That is the surest way to hide in plain sight.  See what I mean?

6.  Take care of home repairs that have been on the deferred maintenance list forever

This one is near and dear.  My home was built in 2006 so it is fairly new.  On the other hand, it is getting to the point where walls need to be touched up, boards on the porch need to be nailed down, plumbing fixtures need to be checked for leaks, and a lot more.

All of those little things around the house that have been put off may be an mere annoyance now, but down the road?  Anything and everything in disrepair can and will come back to haunt you.

7.  Learn to cook bulk foods from food storage

In a recent comment, a Backdoor Survival reader took issue with the “store what you eat” mantra of food storage.  And in a way she was right but with this twist.

Without question, beans, rice, oats, wheat and the like are going to be the cheapest food storage items out there.  Rather than shun them because you don’t eat them now, learn to prepare them in such a way that they become palatable to your family.  For very little money, you can store a year’s worth of bulk foods.  Perhaps they will not be as tasty as a juicy hamburger, but you will not starve.

I suggest you start with the ubiquitous pinto bean:  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean

8.  Make arrangements for alternate living quarters just in case

This is a two way street.  If something should happen and you could not live in your home, where would you go?  It would be nice to have a reciprocal arrangement with family or friends, even if they are not preppers.

Speaking for myself, I have set up such an arrangement with friends and likewise, have prepared my small home with those things that will be needed in the event my non-Prepper brother and his family needs a place to stay.

9.  Learn to become self-entertaining without spending money

Like an old broken record that has a repeating skip, I am again telling you to become self-entertaining.

Learn to enjoy your free time without being dependent upon money, cable-TV, or trips to the shopping mall.  Read, ride a bicycle, play cards or board games, dance or go for a hike.  There are are way more pursuits to keep you occupied than I can list here, and yet it amazes me how many people can not stand to be by themselves.

The Final Word

As cliché as it may sound, prepping IS overwhelming.  Likewise, it is a lifestyle choice that will provide insurance against disruptive and possibly catastrophic events.  I find it interesting that whereas the US government promotes preparedness, they tout economic recovery rather than prepping for hard times.

Let us take control of our future and prepare for hard times.  They may, or may not occur, but at least we will be ready.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

DIY Emergency Lights From Solar Yard Lights

solar lights

When it comes to emergency lighting, flashlights and lanterns rule.  The problem, however, is that they require a power source, be it batteries, propane, or some other type of fuel.  There are candles, of course, but candles do eventually burn out, plus, in some environments and especially around children, candles can represent a safety hazard.

The option of choice, for many, is solar lighting.  Indeed, I have a SunBell that gives off a lot light and is easily recharged, even on a cloudy day.  That marvelous piece of gear comes at a price though.  At, $70, it is well worth the cost for one but just how many can I afford?  (In all fairness, the SunBell also charges my phone and other portable devices.)

With that introduction, today I am going to show you how to make your own DIY emergency lights from solar yard lights.  This is not a new concept and many of you are undoubtedly already using these lights yourself.

Before you yawn off though, let me explain that in this DIY, we will be adding a switch to those ubiquitous solar yard lights, so that once the lights are charged up, you can turn them on then off again, thus mitigating setting them out in the sun each day.

How to Make Emergency Lights from Solar Yard Lights

Using inexpensive solar yard lights for emergency lighting inside your home is an easy deal.  Charge them up in the sun, bring them inside, and you have light. The problem, however, is that once the activation tab is pulled on the lights, they have to be put in sunlight each day to ensure that the battery is charged up and ready to go during an emergency. This is not a practical solution.

To get around this, some people do not pull the activation tab until the light is actually needed in an emergency. This essentially is a one time use. Again, not a practical solution.  We are going to solve this conundrum by installing a micro switch that can turn solar lights on or off whenever we want.

To begin with, you are going to need a solar yard light.  There are various makes and models of solar yard lights available.  In this article, I am using a 1 lumen light purchased at Wal-Mart but you can find comparable solar lights just about anywhere, including your local hardware store or Amazon.

Emergency-Lights-1a

You are also going to need some “Micro Switches”.  If you can not find them locally, they can be purchased from Amazon (see these) or from eBay.  When shopping on eBay, search for “On Off Mini Push Button Switch for Electric Torch.” Usually you can buy 10 micro switches for $1.99 and that includes shipping. They are shipped directly to you from Hong Kong, so allow some lead time to get your micro switches.  Amazon is faster but still relatively inexpensive.

Step One

First remove the screws holding the base plate to the solar unit. There are 3 screws on the light shown.

Emergency-Lights-2-Micro-Switch

Step Two

Carefully clamp the base plate in a vise. Drill a hole through the base plate, slightly larger than the diameter of the round part of the switch base. A ¼” drill bit was used on the light being modified. It is easier when you first drill a small pilot hole.

Emergency-Lights-3

Emergency-Lights-4

Step Three

Attach the micro switch to the base plate. Shoe Goo (good to have in your preps regardless), works very well. A hot glue gun would also work well.

Turn the switch so that one of the leads is as close to the small circuit board as practical. If necessary, trim the glue the manufacture used above the hole as shown so that the switch mounts flat to the base plate.

Step Four

Locate the wire that goes to the negative end of the battery. Cut this wire, leaving enough length to attach the wire coming from the circuit board to the closest terminal of the micro switch. Carefully remove enough of the wire insulation to expose a short length of bare wire.

Emergency-Lights-5

Step Five

Locate some wire with about the same gauge as the wire cut. Don’t worry about the color of the wire as no one will ever see it. Solder about 1” of additional wire to the wire coming from the ground end of the battery. You can insulate the wire splice if you wish with Shoe Goo or other cement.

Next, solder both ends of the cut wire to the micro switch terminals.

Emergency-Lights-6

Step Six

Now you are ready to test the operation of the micro switch. Pull the actuating tab. The LED light should turn on and off when you toggle the micro switch

Emergency-Lights-7

Bend the micro switch terminal connected to the battery ground and reposition the wire so that they fit inside of the solar unit. Lastly, place the base plate back on to the solar unit being careful not to allow any of the wires to be placed over the screw holes. Re-install the screws that attach the base plate to the solar unit.  You are done!

Using Your MacGyver’ed Solar Light

When you want to turn your modified solar lights on or off, simply push the micro switch button.

When turned on, you can expect it to provide light for up to eight hours.  Keep in mind, though, that lights having only 1 lumen do not put out a lot of light,  That said, if you place several in a dark room, you can see well enough to easily move about without running into things.  Also, if you turn the lights upside down, they stand up very well

Something to remember is that you will need to turn the light on when you take the light outside to recharge it in the sun. Likewise, turn the light off when you remove it from the sun light. The beauty of this is that when the solar light is not in use, the battery will stay charged for a long time before needing recharging.

Here is one last additional tip. If you have a lot of lights to charge up outside at once, create a charging stand by drilling holes in a board to hold the lights when the bottom of the solar light has been removed.

The Final Word

To be truly prepared, we all need options as well as redundancy.  The beauty of these DIY indoor emergency lights is that they are inexpensive if not downright cheap, and can be used over and over again without reliance on an outside power source.  In addition, although they do need to be charged in the sun, most of the better quality yard lights will also charge up in the shade.  They just need more time.

Before closing, I would like to thank an anonymous reader in Idaho that submitted the idea and concept for this article.  As I tell you often, the readers and fans of Backdoor Survival are the best on the planet!

If you decide to build some of these indoor emergency lights yourself, be sure to check back in and let us know how they worked out for you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

The War On Preppers: Obama Bans Ammo For The Most Popular Rifle In America

obama gun control

Because he can’t get Congress to approve the things that he wants to do, Barack Obama has apparently decided to rule by decree for the rest of his time in the White House.  One of Obama’s latest moves is to try to ban some of the most popular ammunition for the most popular rifle in America.  Previously, the Obama administration attempted unsuccessfully to ban the AR-15.  That didn’t work, so now Obama is going after the ammunition.  This is yet another example of the war on preppers that is going on all over the nation.  Whether you are a gun owner or not, this assault on our constitutional rights should disturb you greatly.  Barack Obama has promised to try to squeeze as much “change” as possible out of his last two years, and in the process he is “fundamentally transforming” America.  But what will our country look like when he is done?

At the top of the Drudge Report today, there was a story from the Washington Examiner detailing this ammo ban…

As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.

And here is more on this ammo ban from the NRA

As NRA has been reporting since the night the news broke, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is moving to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners with a drastic reinterpretation of a nearly 30-year-old law regulating so-called “armor piercing” ammunition. So draconian is BATFE’s new “Framework” that it would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, and sale of M855 ball ammunition, one of the most popular cartridges for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. Not coincidentally, the AR-15 is among the firearms the Obama Administration has unsuccessfully sought to outlaw. If they can’t ban the pie, so the thinking apparently goes, they might at least get the apples.

In an effort to thwart BATFE’s attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers’ opposition to the proposed Framework. To read a copy of the letter, please click this link.

According to the letter, “The idea that Congress intended [the ‘armor piercing’ ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.” It goes on to state that the law “should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.” This includes due consideration of “the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.“ The letter concludes with several pointed questions for B. Todd Jones, BATFE’s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.

The crazy thing about all of this is the fact that this ammunition has never met the legal definition of being “armor piercing”.  So what the Obama administration is attempting to do is outside the law.

A recent Infowars article broke this down…

The ATF is trying to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition by declaring it “armor piercing,” despite the ammo containing lead which exempts it from the classification according to law.

To be considered “armor piercing” under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B), a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighting more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn’t include M855 rounds because their bullets are partly lead.

The definition in full:

(17)

(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.

(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means- (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

(C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

Needless to say, this ban is creating quite a bit of panic among gun owners.

Many gun owners are stocking up on this ammo while they still can

Word of ATF’s proposal sparked a run on ammo at some Springfield gun stores, and steep price spikes for steel-tipped military surplus ammo at some online ammo dealers. Rounds that sold for 25 to 30 cents apiece tripled at some some stores after BATF posted its proposal on its web site.

“We sold out of what we had in stock,” said Ryan Cook, manager of Eagle Armory in Springfield. “We didn’t have a lot in the store but I might have sold four or five cases after ATF’s statement came out. I called our suppliers but they said there was none available to order. It’s like the ammo shortage before. People are going to panic.”

Like I said earlier, even if you are not a gun owner you have got to be extremely concerned about this erosion of our constitutional rights.

We have a man occupying the White House that seems absolutely determined to stretch the limits of presidential power as far as they can possibly go.

And at this point he has become so arrogant that he doesn’t even care if Congress believes that what he is doing is legal.  Just consider what he said during one recent speech

Pres. Obama is daring Republicans to vote on whether or not his executive actions are legal.

Discussing opposition to his executive amnesty orders at an immigration town hall Wednesday, Obama said he would veto the vote because his actions are “the right thing to do”:

So in the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do.

This is how republics die.  When one man starts grabbing more and more power and nobody stops him, eventually a dictatorship is born.

This is not what our founding fathers intended.  If they could see us today, they would be rolling over in their graves.

And a lot of Americans are getting fed up.

In fact, according to one recent survey only 47 percent of Americans still believe that Obama loves this country…

While the creepy #ILOVEOBAMA continues to trend on Twitter, fewer than half of American adults, 47 percent, say they believe that the president loves his country.

According to a survey conducted by Huffington Post/YouGov and released this week, a whopping 35 percent of Americans, more than one in three, believe that Obama doesn’t love the United States, while 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

The poll was conducted in the wake of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani telling a gathering in Manhattan that “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

So what do you think?

Do you believe that what Obama is trying to do is legal?

And do you believe that Obama actually loves this country and everything that it is supposed to stand for?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

How To Build A Simple Faraday Cage For EMP Survival

emp-blast-810x446

Of all of the reasons to prepare, one that we all need to take seriously is the possibility of a catastrophic EMP, or electromagnetic pulse. This is a frequent topic in many post-apocalyptic novels and something that most of us are aware of, even if we do not completely understand the science.

As I wrote way back when in the article Prepping for an EMP and Solar Flares:

To be blunt about it, an EMP, if large enough, would affect the entire planet.  In an instant, civilization as we know it would change as we get swept backward in time by a century or two.

Understanding the risks of an EMP goes hand in hand with threats of a cyber-attack since there is a cause and effect relationship between the two.  In this article I want to accomplish a few things:

Explain EMPs and the risks in simple, easy-to-understand language
Give you instructions to build a simple Faraday cage to protect your electronics
Provide a list of items to put inside your Faraday cage

What is an EMP?

An electromagnetic pulse or EMP, is an abrupt burst of electromagnetic radiation.

To start with, an EMP is caused by certain types of high energy explosions.  A nuclear explosion, for example, will surely cause an EMP.  Likewise, an EMP can be the result of a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field.  Or, as I have mentioned before, it can be the result of Coronal Mass Eject (CME) from solar activity.  But perhaps most sobering of all, is the possibility of a man-made EMP weapon that is purposely deployed in order to wreak devastation on our planet.  Scary stuff.

Regardless of the trigger, an EMP can be devastating to the power grid, resulting in rapidly changing electrical fields that will create fluctuating electrical currents and wild voltage surges.  Bottom line?  The electronic gizmos we have come to rely on would be toast.  The microchips would be fried or so severely damaged that they would become useless.

So what would life be like following a massive EMP event or episode?  There would be no power, no transportation systems, no communication systems, no banking, no internet, and, no surprise, no food and no water delivery systems.  This would truly be an End of The World As We Know it situation.

Ask yourself these questions:

What if the power went out and never came back on?  Could you fend for yourself?

Could you keep yourself warm in the winter and cool in the summer?

Where would you find food?

What would you use for money if credit cards and ATM’s no longer worked?

How would you get from one place to another without transportation?

How would you wash your clothes?

How would you keep yourself healthy if sanitation systems were no longer functional and medicine could no longer be manufactured.

And the biggest question of all, how would you communicate with the rest of the world?

An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all the microchips in the United States. In an instant, nearly all of our electronic devices would be rendered useless.

Back in 2004 the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.”

With that introduction, today I would like to introduce you to the Faraday cage, and further, how to build a simple Faraday cage.

The Faraday Cage

In the simplest of terms, a Faraday cage is any shielded enclosure that surrounds your electronic devices and protects them an EMP blast.  Commonly used enclosures include galvanized metal garbage cans, popcorn tins, and even tightly sealed metal filing cabinets.  In all cases, the metal container is lined with insulating material to prevent the contents from having contact with the metal.  Examples of insulating material are cardboard, Styrofoam, and even carpet scraps.

More elaborate structures can be custom built from sheet metal but for the home user, why bother?  As a matter of fact, I suspect that wrapping your devices in plain, ordinary, aluminum foil will work as well.

Factoid: Faraday cages are named after English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836.

What About Using a Microwave Oven?

In my research I read that a microwave oven, new or used,  can be used as an effective Faraday cage.  On the surface, that seems logical since, by design, a microwave oven keeps the energy it creates confined to the interior which likewise, should prevent strong electrical pulses from getting back inside.

This was easy enough to test. I put a cell phone inside my microwave oven and tried calling it. It rang. Oops.  On the other hand, I wrapped my cell phone in aluminum foil and called it.  Nothing. Nada. No Michael Buble ringtone; the call went straight to voicemail.

A foil-wrapped cell phone blocked the cell signal

A foil-wrapped cell phone blocked the cell signal

Granted, cell phones operate at various radio frequencies so while one cell phone may not work, another one will.  Still, with this being so easy to test, why chance it?

Testing the Faraday Cage

Aside from calling a cell phone, you can test your homemade Faraday cage by putting a portable radio inside the shield after tuning it to a strong FM station.  If you can hear the FM station while the radio is inside your Faraday cage, then you need to go back to square one to ensure your shield is properly sealed.

Sealing your garbage can with duct tape will help tremendously.

A Second (Expert) Opinion

I asked my friend George Ure to comment and to offer his perspective on Faraday cages since EMP preparedness is something he covered in-depth on his subscriber site, Peoplenomics ($40 a year but worth it for the technical information on the many topics he covers.).

He was quick to point out several things about EMPs.  The definitive public information is contained In the 2004 Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report “High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments”.  The following diagram shows how an EMP causes the complex systems we rely on to provide everyday essentials for living, to fail in a cascading manner.

EMP-Cascade-Effect

So, a quick inspection of the EMP failure modes, George offers, is one way to build a list of items to put in your Faraday cage.

He also told me some personal research he’s done that seems to indicate that about 90% of cars will continue to operate after an EMP event of moderate size. The problem, he points out, is that with an EMP, the grid is likely to fail, and with that, power transformers will likely fail, along with the supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) control systems for railroads, power, water, and other utility distribution.

George’s personal Faraday cage is a 33 gallon garbage can.  He considers his metal garbage effective by itself because the metal lid overlaps the can itself by an inch and radio waves don’t like to go around corners, too well. Still, the ultimate prepping device would be a metal garbage can which has the top cover sealed to the bottom of the can with aluminized duct tape such as the type found at Amazon, Lowes, Home Depot and other hardware stores.

What to Put in the Faraday Cage

The equipment you store in a Faraday cage should encompass those devices that will help you communicate with the world following a devastating loss of the grid. Short-range communications will be critical. A good starting list would include:

Multiple GMRS radios and chargers along with cables to plug in for solar charging.

Multiple 2 meter and 440 MHz ham radios (such as the portable Baofengs), again with charging cables and solar power adapters.

A laptop computer with a fresh battery, a charger, solar adapter, and all the key software on CD so if you need to bring up a fresh copy of the operating system, you’ll have the product key and then any prepping articles or references you might need.

An AM/FM/Shortwave/NOAA Weather radio that includes a solar panel charging mechanism.

High-capacity USB thumb drive holding  pertinent financial information including past year tax records, scanned copies of birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, deeds, vehicle registrations and medical records.

George also recommends simple insulation for your electronics, so that units do not touch each other, He uses low tech insulation: a combination of cardboard and bubble-wrap works well.

Protecting Small Electronics Day to Day

This article would not be complete if I did not mention the availability of small, shielded metalized bags that can be used to provide EMP protection on a daily basis.  I am currently testing this type of bag from Mobilsec and an quite impressed.  While my phone is in the bag, it reads “no service”.

If a cell signal cannot be detected, I can only assume that an EMP would also not touch it.  Good to know and certainly an option, especially for a laptop that could be placed inside a properly sized bag when not being used.  Couple the Faraday bag with a solar charging system and if there was an EMP, you would still have a working computer.

One other thing. You may find sources online that say that when a device is turned off, it will not need EMP protection.  I reached out to Joel Ho, the developer of the Mobilesec Bagsand asked him about that.  Here is what he said:

I’m assuming you are referring to the part about devices being off not needing protection – it’s simplified a bit – essentially, devices that are off are extremely difficult to damage because there’s no existing current to piggyback on.

Imagine that an EMP is a tidal wave.  If it approaches a full reservoir (electricity and current) it can keep going. If the reservoir is empty (no juice), the tidal wave loses energy navigating the reservoir.

There are hints of this in the article Electromagnetic Pulse Protection by Jerry Emanuelson.

The major reason [most sources] don’t say “your devices are safe if off” is because most devices are usually still connected to power lines and thus susceptible – but if devices are in EMP bags (which by definition are almost always disconnected as the filters are expensive), AND the devices are off, it is unlikely, given the relatively high FCC shielding regulations to prevent excess energy from bleeding OUT into the environment, that enough can get IN to damage those electronics.

This is NOT true for every device – more like a guideline than a hard 100% rule.  Different devices have different levels of built-in shielding – a computer has much more than a $10 Radio Shack timer, for example.

The Final Word

Should a massive EMP occur, stores won’t be open, credit cards won’t work, and the gas you have in your car may be all the gas you’ll ever have for months or even possibly years. When you think about it, an EMP will become the “Ebola virus of electronics”.

That said, you know that I am not a doom and gloomer.  Quite the contrary.  I am an optimist to the nth degree.  Yet even the optimist is sobered at the ramifications of an EMP and especially at the prospect of a weapon-based EMP. If nothing else, I would like to have a mode of communication following a massive EMP.

Will the DIY Faraday cage work?  It is speculation to say for sure.  My own research plus my limited understanding of electronics tells me it will, but this premise will remain unproven until an actual EMP event occurs.

The bottom line is that I hope a catastrophic EMP never happens.  But if it does, I want to be ready to fend for myself without electronics. Sure, having communication gear and other electronic gizmos in a working Faraday cage will be a wonderful thing.  But even if it doesn’t work, the goal of preparedness is to prevail, even if that means living in an off-grid society for weeks, months, or even years.

I would like to acknowledge my pal George Ure for his assistance with this article.  His research and first hand experience with Faraday cages, along with his perspective, is appreciated.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

10 New Steps For Living A Strategic Life

Successful Strategy

When it comes to living a preparedness lifestyle, from the get go I have focused on what I like to call “prepping for the rest of us”.  To me, this has always meant embracing survival strategies that transcend the weird, the strange and the off-the-wall.

The focus is and has always been prepping for ordinary folks who simply want to reduce their dependency on others, regardless, or in spite of, the woes created by Mother Nature, big business, and, sadly, the government and its political machine.

I call this living a Strategic Life.

I first wrote about living a Strategic Life back in October 2011.  A year later, that article, 10 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, became the basis of a book that I co-authored with my BFF George Ure at Urban Survival, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: A Guide to Survival During Uncertain Times.

A lot has happened since then.  The world did not end in December 2012.  The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima became a lesson in cover-up and misinformation.  Ebola arrived in the Western World, and hurricanes, tornados, storms and natural disasters of all types have become extreme if not downright bizarre.  One other thing has happened.  Preparedness, encompassing both preppers and hard core survivalist types, has become big business.

Whereas those 10 initial steps were a starting point for living a prepared life, they now seem rather mundane and commonplace. This is because in their own way, bloggers and mainstream journalists write about these very same steps everyday of the week and at times, it seems as though everyone is writing about the same thing.

Get out of debt and grow your own food?  Sure, those are as much a part of the Strategic Life equation now as they were then but to me it feels like a been there, done that.

All of this brings me around to today and the here and the now.

A month ago I took pen to paper (and yes, some of us still do that), and renewed my personal goals for the year.  While doing so, it became clear to me that what I had done was to define 10 new steps for living a Strategic Life.

Today I share them with you.

10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life

The following steps are presented in no particular order and, as a matter of fact, should be shuffled around as life and your current mental state dictate.

1.  Harden your home and prepare to hunker down if things get bad.

Note that only you can define “bad”.

For me, bad means a pandemic, a collapse of the economy or worse, society.  It also means a major natural disaster resulting in hungry and desperate people seeking food, water, and shelter.

2.  Define the word “comfort” in your own terms and surround yourself with whatever it takes to fulfill that definition.

Comfort can mean many things depending upon time and circumstance.  My definition includes a warm home and a full belly.  It also means a life with lots of hugs and without an iota of loneliness.

3.  Reduce dependencies on big pharma and prescription drugs that are being force fed by the medical and pharmaceutical communities.

I always recommend that you do this in partnership with an understanding physician who has your best interests in mind.

Experimentation is fine as long on you are not dealing with a life-threatening illness.  Natural remedies such as herbs and essential oils can work minor miracles but, in spite of what you might read and to the best of my knowledge, they will not cure dread diseases such as cancer or Ebola.

What they can do is mitigate the symptoms, and possibly stop the spread of viruses and bacterial infections.

4.  Learn to cook and eat simple foods that are low in cost yet nutritionally sound and calorically dense.

Eating healthy food should be no-brainer but sometimes even I struggle because let’s face it, chocolate cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream is really good.  That said, learning to maintain a sourdough starter, cooking beets, and smoking meats are high on my bucket list.

5.  Exercise your body and mind by walking, reading, and opening your mind to new ways of thinking about life.

Almost everyone I know is stressed-out these days.  Those that work outside the home are putting in long hours, leaving home before dark and coming home after dark. Those that work from home are often always on call, with work related texts and emails seducing them at all hours of the day and night.

For a brief period each day, shut down the smart phone, the iPad, and the laptop.  Step away and breath some fresh air. Bundle up if you have to, then stand on the porch or take a walk so that you can take in the universe.  Think about yourself, your life, and your loved ones.

If you are spiritual, think about God or a higher being.  Open your mind to the possibility and try to remember that in spite of everything, the glass is always half full.

6.  Learn at least three pioneer skills that you will be able to call upon if we reach a tipping point and the SHTF.  See 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader.

No one person can do everything, so pick three and learn to do them passably well.  I want to learn to bake with a sourdough starter so I am not dependent upon yeast for bread making.  I have already started to grind my own flour using a manual mill; it is not easy but I did it.  I still need to pick two more.

If you pick three skills that interest you and they will become hobbies and not chores.

7.  Take time out everyday for yourself and the pursuit of hobbies that fulfill your need to relax and to be creative.

This is a close cousin to numbers five and six but because it is so important, it warrants its own strategic focus.

8.  Laugh.  Laugh more.

When is the last time you laughed?  While compiling this list I had to ask myself that because honestly, I could not remember.

9.  Keep a journal.

I hope you will choose to take pen to paper but even if you write a few words into a computer log, memorialize your thoughts and experiences.  Hit the delete key when you are done, or not, the choice is yours.  It is the process that counts.

10.  Don’t put off living while waiting for an apocalypse that may never happen.

Sometimes I feel that hard core preppers and survivalists want something to happen so that they can put their plans into action.  Doomsday preppers, perhaps?

Please, if you do nothing else, don’t put off living the life you want for yourself and your family.  Just because you prepare, does not mean it will happen.  Could it?  Darn right!  Will it?  Sorry, I don’t have a time machine that will launch me into the future so that I can come back and tell you it is so.

This is important and between now and the end of summer, am working toward my own “living in the present” goal.  You need to do the same.  Don’t put something off just because the SHFT might happen between now and then and your efforts will be moot.  Just do it.

What Happens Next?

As you can see, these are all simple things that anyone can do.  Of course a lot more can be said about each one and I plan to do that.  I have recruited George, and together we plan to write an all-new book on living a Strategic Life, this time with a distinct, long-term preparedness and survival focus.

The Final Word

A few weeks ago I found a description of Backdoor Survival that said:

While this site is slightly more difficult to navigate, it has a wealth of in-depth preparation tips, particularly for those with large families and those who want tips on training their mind as well as their bug-out bags.

That made me smile because I have always felt that training the mind, and developing both a survival and coping mindset, were important components to long term self-reliance.  With that being said, I want to ask you for your thoughts.  What steps do you feel are key to living a Strategic Life?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

 

Is Your Family Prepared To Survive The Economic Collapse?

prepared

According to Statistic Brain there are 12,800,000 Americans on welfare, 46,700,000 on food stamps or SNAP, 5,600,000 on unemployment, with a total government spending on welfare annually of approximately $132 billion and this does not even include food stamps or unemployment. These people comprise the army of the Zombie Apocalypse. These people will be your worst nightmare who will be knocking your door down when the welfare gravy train stops coming,

In today’s environment, anyone who discusses the importance of individual preparation and personal responsibility, due to the fact that we live in very troubled times, are often labeled as fear mongers. Upon closer examination, the real fear mongers are the very people who are responsible for perpetuating the present set of crises.

The Real Fear Mongers

Once you get beyond the labels of “conspiracy theorist” and “fear monger” and you realize that you have an obligation to protect your family, there are some simple common sense things that one can do in order to increase their odds of survival following the coming economic collapse.   In both 1929 and 2008, there was literally no warning when the economy crashed. The same will hold true for 2015, you will get no warning. In fact, you may choose to look at this article as your first and last warning.

1. The Creation of a Fake-Identity

It may be necessary to become invisible in the event you think you believe that your name could be on a (Red) list because roundups will usually occur in dire situations. Therefore, the creation of a pseudo-identity could become very important.

2. It Takes Money to Prepare

I have committed much effort, time and resources illustrating how a coming economic collapse is unavoidable and how the elite have conspired to steal as many of your assets as possible prior to the collapse. There are some common sense things one can do which could increase the chances of surviving a major societal meltdown resulting from an economic collapse. If you have any doubts as to what is coming, I strongly encourage you to read what I have written about on this topic over the past 7 weeks. Ray Charles could see that our economy will not be around much longer in its present form. Your can read these stories here, here, here, here, here, here ,here, here, here, her, here, here, here, here and here.

If you have read the articles at the above links, you should have concluded that it is the height of stupidity to leave your life savings in an institution that is planning to steal from you. You need to divert your cash, other than the ability to pay basic bills, in preparation for what is coming.

Getting your money out of the bank has become an art form and you need to be careful.  In a future article, I will be revealing steps you can take in order secure your money from the institutions that are presently holding you hostage.  I cannot promise you that you will be able to retrieve all of your assets. However, I can promise you that if you do not act, you will lose everything and you will lack needed supplies to weather what is coming.

I would strongly suggest that you keep your gas tank filled and you have plenty of cash, food and ammunition on hand. It is better to be safe than sorry.

3. Make a List and Check It Twice

Buy a good prepper book. Holly Deyo is an excellent source for this information (www.standdeyo.com). In the interim, procure your food, water, guns, ammo and home security adjustments.  If you do not have a big dog, consider obtaining a pair. These animals will be your companion, home security system and ally if someone attempts to breach your home with bad intent. Of course, you will have to store dog food as well.

Sit down and construct a list of what you will Make a Listneed after reading a good prepper book.

Make all of you purchases in cash! You do not want to let the wrong people know what you are up to.

4. Rural Vs. Urban

We have to live our lives for today and it may not be possible to move to a rural area because of your job. However, one survivalist that I was speaking with estimates that the rate of survival for a country in economic chaos would be 10 times higher for rural residents as opposed to urban residents. Consider buying a place in an isolated area and commuting to work in the interim.

5. Pay Off Your Mortgage

If you have a CD, a 401k or any other long-term investment, you might want to consider taking the penalty and executing a withdrawal and apply what’s left of the principal, usually about 50% of the original value, and paying down your major debts.The key word here is “consider”. Because nobody can accurately predict the time frames of these kinds of events, one has to judiciously decide for themselves what is the best course of action.

After an economic collapse, you most likely will not have a job and your retirement and savings will likely be wiped out and confiscated. That is why it would be wise to pay down your debt while you can afford to do so because after the collapse, there will still be foreclosures and repossessions and if you and your family survive, you could be on the street if you cannot pay your bills.

6. Buy Gold and Silver While You Can Afford It

Goldman Sachs has been shorting gold. The elite have been hording gold as have the BRICS. These entities are telling you, by action, what medium of exchange is going to be of value following the collapse that is coming.

Storing gold and silver is an economic survival strategy which will pay dividends after the smoke begins to clear in the post-collapse era.

7. Practice Austerity Before Austerity Is Imposed On You

It is critical to immediately eliminate all unnecessary expenses. Give yourself some operating capital. You may be able to purchase a bug-out residence in a rural area. You will certainly be able to afford more survival gear.

In order to increase your immediate cash flow, start an at-home business. Start a business which has virtually no upfront and startup costs.  Even if you are not able to generate much income, you will create a legal tax evasion strategy in which you can legally deduct many of your present activities and expenses (e.g. mileage, the purchase of any office supply, etc.) including survival gear.

8. Create and Store Your Own Food

With regard to storing food, you need to do so immediately. I recommend storing two years worth of food. However, you need to master the art of growing food inside your home. There are plenty of resources which can teach you how to do that. However, you would be wise if you would create a hiding place in which you can store food and water safely in a hidden location.  If you are ever robbed, you will not have exhausted your food supplies.  You are most likely to be robbed by FEMA or one of their mercenary groups (e.g. Academia) during the beginning of the crisis because food and water will be used as weapons to control you. I am personally aware of FEMA going to selected homeowners in order to catalogue a family’s reserve food and water supplies. Remember, water is sunlight and temperature sensitive. There are plenty of prepper manuals that you can consult for instructions on how to meet these needs.

The biggest threat to survival is death due to dehydration and starving to death.  Contaminated water will also pose a threat. There are plenty of places to purchase large drums and obtain water tablets for water purification purposes.  Obtain a pair of water filters in case you have to go mobile to survive.

Finally, learn to grow your own food within your residence. Your garden will likely be raided by humans and hungry animals alike. There are plenty of prepper manuals which can teach you how to accomplish this task.

9. Personal Supplies

Of course you will need toothpaste, toiletries, eating utensils, etc. For a complete list of personal items see Steve Quayles list on his website.

10. Stockpile Medicines and Medical Supplies

 If you or your family has a chronic health condition, it is critical that you have 6 months to a year in medicine. Also, you should research natural alternatives to treatment for health conditions in case you are not able to meet this goal due to the inability to obtain prescriptions. Don’t forget to obtain some pain medication and antibiotics in case of unforeseen emergencies.  Make a trip to Mexico and sneak across medication in old pill bottles in order to escape detection by the Border Patrol who will ask you if you obtained medication in Mexico when you come back across the border.

If you can safely ration your existing medication doses, do so and store the excesses. Make sure you also have a first aid kit. Take a First Aid class including CPR at your local fire station. Do not forget your hygiene supplies.

Some are thinking that this is a lot of work. My response would be, how bad do you want you and your family to survive?

11. Guns and Ammunition

Regardless of your moral convictions, ask yourself if you want your family to survive.

Buy your guns off the books from private parties and at gun shows. “Keep guns for show and guns for go”. In other words, have a safe location that you can bury guns so that when gun confiscation begins, you will not be left totally defenseless.

America needs to not only create safe and secure homes, but to create as many Warsaw ghettos as possible (look it up). We need to make ourselves a hard country to conquer and occupy. We cannot stop a treasonous leader from handing off the country to some foreign entity (e.g. the UN). However, occupation of America should be problematic for the blue-helmet wearing Russians, Chinese and other proxy forces training on our soil to occupy us.

It is recommended that you have 3 types of weapons: (1) pistols for close in fighting; (2) shotguns for defense of the entrance to your home; and, (3) a rifle with a scope in order to fight back against long-range snipers that do not want to storm your home because you appear to be prepared. Immediately, obtain weapons instruction for you and your family, firearms training and then practice!  Conduct mock raids on your residence so that you can see your vulnerabilities. An armed populace makes a people more feared by an abusive government. If I had not gun training at all, I would opt for a shotgun with regard to home defense.

Do not forget about gas masks for each member of your family and make sure to store extras. If you have the means to obtain body armor, do so now, because Congress is preparing to outlaw the private use of body armor.

12. Obtain Night Vision Equipment

If your family is located in a fixed location, the challenges of defending your property go up exponentially at night because you cannot see where the threat is coming from. Night vision equipment is not cheap, but your family is literally defenseless without it after the sun goes down.

13. Prepare to Survive in the Raw Elements and Build a New Culture for Your Family

It is possible that you can learn to survive in the raw elements without heating and central air conditioning. You may not have lights. Obtain flashlights, many batteries and a hand crank radio. Make sure you have clothes befitting all weather that you may encounter because a crisis that begins in January, may not be over by August.

Take a weekend and pretend the grid is down. This will allow you to see firsthand what supplies you will need. When should you perform this drill? There is no time like the present. Also, take a camping weekend where you simulate having to “bug out”.

To people with generators, congratulations on your foresight. However, if you are the only house on the block with lights, how long do you think it will be until you have unwanted visitors with bad intent?

Don’t forget about procuring non-electronic forms of entertainment. This should include board games and educational materials for your children. You will want to establish some normalcy for the sake of your children. You are preparing to adopt a new way of life. Make the new life worth living.

I would also recommend that every personal library contain The Constitution of the United States. After the chaos subsides, we will need to rebuild. You will not want to live in a “might makes right” society.

14.  Prepare Yourself Physically

If you are on the run, you may have to travel up to 20 miles per day. Get in shape, begin to walk, jog or run. The better shape you are in, the better.

Take self-defense classes. Many of these classes are offered free of charge at churches and community centers.

Practice shooting on a regular basis. If you can afford it, take gun safety and shooting lessons.

15. Do Not Tell Anyone

If your four adjacent neighbors broach the topic of preparedness, gauge the situation and then make an informed decision. If your neighbors are on board with preparing, that will help you form a defensive perimeter and a mutual alliance pact. Otherwise, tell nobody of your preparation plans. Do not tell your friends, family members, and co-workers. Make your preparations in cash or cashier’s checks as much as possible. Limit the paper trail to you. You do not want the government to know that you are prepared because you could be the first one on your block that is visited at 3AM. You and your mate should prepare in stealth. Kids talk and so do their friends.

16.  You Need to Become the Neighborhood Nut Because There is Safety In Numbers

 Never offer what you are doing to prepare or how far along you are with your preparations. However, you will need allies because you cannot guard your property 24/7/365.  So, how do  you recruit neighbors to become your allies without telling them what you are up to? Simple, with each neighbor that is convinced and understands what is at stake, you should feign ignorance and act as if you and your neighbor are learning prepping together. Teach your awake neighbor how to prepare. You will need allies to help protect your family and resources and it is not likely that you can do this alone.

17.  PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY AND BE SURE TO PRAY!

Survival is never guaranteed, salvation is! And do not forget one of your most important resources, your Bible.

Conclusion

There is a time to stop talking and to start doing. That time would be now. The economy is going to collapse, the only question is when. May good fortune and God’s blessings follow all with regard to what is coming. Please prepare while you still have time.


Dave Hodges is the host of the popular weekly talk show, The Common Sense Show, which airs on Sunday nights from 9pm – Midnight (central) on the Republic Broadcasting Network and its 29 affiliate stations. Dave also hosts a website (www.thecommonsenseshow.com) in which he writes daily articles on the geopolitical state of affairs both nationally and internationally. The theme of Dave’s show and website centers around exposing the corruption and treason which has invaded the presidency and Congress as well as their corporate and banking benefactors. Dave is an award winning psychology, sociology, statistics and research professor. He is also a former college basketball coach who retired as the winningest coach in his college’s history. A mental health therapist by training, Dave brings a broad based perspective in his fight against the corrupt central banking cartels which have hijacked the US government. Dave and his wife, Nora have one son and they presently reside in rural Arizona approximately 25 miles north of the greater Phoenix area. Dave was drawn to the fight for freedom when the globalist central banking forces, led by Senator John McCain, attempted to seize his home and property and that of 300 of his neighbors, without one dime being offered in compensation. This attempted public theft of private property was conducted for the purpose of securing cheap land in which the globalists intended on putting in an international highway through their area known as the Canamex Corridor. Dave’s community appointed him the spokesperson and eventually his community won their fight against the bankers and their front man, Senator McCain. This event launched Dave’s career as a broadcaster and an investigative journalist. Dave’s website presently enjoys over a half a million visitors every month.

 

Build A Pantry For Pennies: 5 Frugal Shopping Strategies

Piggy Bank On Pennies

One of the most common reasons that people give for not prepping is the cost involved.  People seem to have this mental image of a bedroom or basement dedicated to being filled to the rafters with cans of Chef-Boy-Ardee.  They imagine someone going out and spending $5000 at a time for a year’s worth of food, or perhaps an 18-wheeler backing up into their driveway and unloading the contents with a forklift.

It’s time to learn a whole new way to shop. Thrift is of the utmost importance if you want to be able to afford to build your pantry quickly.

The fact is, a pantry is a work in progress, and a whole new type of personal economy.  You can save a fortune on your food budget by shopping carefully and in quantity.

A well-stocked food pantry is an investment: purchasing food at today’s prices is a great hedge against tomorrow’s increases.  The cost of food will only be going up.  Consider the drought that has ravaged California, the number one producer of fresh fruits and vegetables in the entire country. Farmers there have been forced to cut back on the amount they produce, due to water shortages.  Livestock herds have been culled because they can’t grow enough to feed them. Winters are longer and more severe in other parts of the country, leading to shortened growing seasons and freak storms that destroy newly planted crops.  Your pantry is your insurance against drought, pestilence, bad weather, and rising prices.

Take peanut butter, as an example:  A few years ago, I purchased a store-brand peanut butter for $1.88 per jar when it was on sale.  The following year, that very same brand in the very same sized jar was $5.99 on sale because of a poor peanut harvest.  Each jar of peanut butter on the shelves represented a savings of $4.11  – there is no other investment that gives you over a 200% return.

Here’s why I keep a well-stocked pantry

Before I even knew what prepping was, I had a well-stocked pantry because I learned the hard way how quickly things can change.

When I was first married and had a newborn baby, I was struggling to put food on the table with our tiny grocery budget.  Then, as life often has it, things got even worse when my husband got laid off. We had a few dozen bags of sale-purchased bagels in our freezer, a few jars of peanut butter in the pantry, and high hopes for the garden we had just planted. Our situation was desperate, and the new little addition to our family added to our panic.

As we rationed out our bagels with peanut butter over the next few weeks, waiting for unemployment insurance to finally kick in, my husband frantically searched for a job and I became determined to never be in such a position again. (Think Scarlett O’Hara waving her dirty fist around.)

scarlett-ill-never-be-hungry-again

Since we had absolutely no money for entertainment, the library was my saving grace throughout this time.  One day, searching for answers among the shelves, I stumbled upon a series of books by Amy Dacyczyn called “The Tightwad Gazette“.  These three volumes gave me a whole new perspective on grocery shopping, and is still the shopping basic philosophy I adhere to today. (By the way, I highly recommend the books – you can get one big compendium containing all 3 titles for less than $15.)

The TG recommends something called “The Pantry Principle.”  It’s a process that saves both time and money. The idea is to consistently stock up on items at the lowest possible prices, creating a supply of ingredients at rock-bottom cost.  This means sometimes you have to say no to preparing a meal just because it sounds good. You have to discipline yourself to adhere to a whole new way of shopping that does not supply just food for the week, but replenishes your pantry, again, at the lowest possible prices.

#1 Create a Price Book

First, start a “price book” – this is a vital tool. Without it, you can’t really be sure if that sale is really a sale at all.  A price book is simply a notebook that you keep with you when shopping, into which you write down the price that you pay for certain items.  You should always update your price book with the lowest price for these items.  This is what allowed me to see that at one point I paid $1.88 for peanut butter and a year later the lowest price I could find was $5.99, like I mentioned above.

In The Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn wrote:

My price book is a small loose-leaf binder. Each page contains prices for one item, and the pages are in alphabetical order for quick reference. I include my code for the store name, the brand, the size of the item, the price, and the unit price.

I began by writing down prices on sale flyers and from my grocery slips. I made a few trips to compare prices of specific items. It quickly became evident that not every sale was really a sale. But when I did find a good buy, and I could verify it with months of records…what power! I could stock up with confidence.

At first you may think this is too much work and the idea of shopping at so many stores will be inconceivable. It will pay off. A good strategy is to shop at different stores each week of the month so that within a 30-day cycle you can hit them all. We have our shopping system down to once a month with only a few short trips to hit unbeatable sales.

[A price book] revolutionized our shopping strategy more than anything else we did. For the first time we had a feeling of control over our food budget.

It might take you a total of five hours to make up a price book for comparison shopping, but after several years of supermarket excursions, you may discover that your hourly “pay” for those five hours was over $1,000.

You’ll discover all sorts of trends with this type of record keeping:

  • Your local sales cycles
  • When certain items tend to be loss leaders
  • Which stores are consistently cheaper for specific ingredients
  • Whether a highly promoted sale is actually a good deal or not
  • Whether a big package of whatsits is a better deal than individually purchased whatsits at a different store

Speaking of sizes…

#2 Always Calculate the Unit Price

Be sure to record the size of the package you are purchasing so that you can accurately calculate the unit price. A unit price is vitally important.  If you happen to go to one of those giant, members-only warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, you may discover that although a huge package seems like a good deal, it was actually cheaper to purchase the items in smaller quantities elsewhere.

The unit price tells you the cost per ounce, per gallon, per pound, etc., of what you want to buy.

Just divide the cost by the quantity.  Here’s an easy-peasy example:

$100/25 pounds = $4 per pound

The goal is to compare the unit prices to find the best deal. Here’s an example of this:

  • 2 pounds of chocolate at $3.80
  • 1.5 pounds of chocolate at $2.70

In this case the unit is 1 pound, and the unit prices are:

  • $3.80/ 2 pounds= $1.90 per pound
  • $2.70/ 1.5 pounds = $1.80 per pound

You know how most businesses try to convince you the bigger package is always the better deal? That’s not always the case. In this situation, the second package of chocolate, although a smaller quantity, is actually a better bargain.

Another reason you must compare unit prices as opposed to simply grabbing a package that looks the same is the sneaky maneuver that food manufacturers use of reducing the contents of a package and selling it for the same price as before.  For example, one company used to sell 1 pound cans of coffee.  As prices went up, it appeared their price was the only one to remain the same. However, reading the label showed that they had reduced the amount of coffee in the can to 14 ounces.  This misleading marketing ploy will become even more common as production prices continue to rise.

#3 Turn Pennies into Dollars

Now that you know you can confidently identify a good bargain, let’s move on to the next step in your new shopping style: saving pennies that add up to dollars.

When you find a staple at a good price, purchase in as much quantity as you can afford and reasonably use before it expires.  This will allow you to begin building your stockpile.  After a couple of months of shopping in this manner, you’ll discover that you don’t actually “grocery shop” any more – you shop to replenish your stockpile.

Items that you stockpile should be foods that you regularly consume.  If you normally eat steak and potatoes, for example, but you fill your pantry with beans and rice, when the day comes that you are relying on that pantry you will suffer from “food fatigue” and you will also feel deprived. Start now by adjusting the food that you consume on a regular basis to foods that will be sustainable in a food storage pantry.

Once you have the hang of it, you can apply this same pantry principle to nearly everything that you purchase. Your pantry doesn’t have to stop at the kitchen. Use your theory of Preppernomics to keep your household running smoothly on far less money!

  • Soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Shampoo
  • Kitty litter
  • School supplies
  • Garbage bags
  • Toothpaste

You get the idea – anything that you normally purchase, if you purchase it at deep discount, will add up to a tremendous savings.

You may be saying, “Wait a minute, Daisy. I don’t have time to run all over the place just to save 10 cents here and 25 cents there.  This is ridiculous.”

It’s not as crazy as it sounds.  Here’s why.

It’s a cumulative savings.

Think about a cart full of groceries during a weekly shopping trip. You might have 100 items in your cart for the week ahead, right.

So, let’s say you save 10 cents on every single item in your cart. (Which, when you’re shopping like this is a very low savings – you’ll probably save far more.)

In a cart with 100 items, you’ve saved $10 in a week.

If you do that every single week over the course of an entire year, you’ve saved $520.

If you apply this to everything you purchase, can you see how quickly this could add up for you? You can save thousands of dollars per year and have a loaded pantry, ready to sustain you through emergencies.

#4 Plan your shopping trips with the precision of a military maneuver.

If you’re driving without a plan all over the place to hit the sales, you aren’t really going to save enough money to make it worthwhile in most cases. You should shop with a plan in order to maximize your time and fuel costs.

Most areas distribute free weekly flyers to your house. These are good for more than just lining the bottom of the litter box.  If you are in an area where you don’t get sales flyers, you can generally find them online.

These sales flyers will help you to identify “loss leader” items that are geared to get customers in the doors. The loss leader is simply the unbeatable, oh-my-gosh-what-a-sale bargain to get you in the door at which point they hope you’ll purchase other dramatically overpriced items just because you’re there.  This is a technique usually used by big corporations, so I have no qualms whatsoever about beating them at their own game and stopping JUST to purchase the loss leader items in quantity.

It isn’t always worthwhile to go far out of your way to purchase the loss-leaders, though. You have to establish a sensible route and pick up sale items along the way. Wasting half a tank of gas just to save 50 cents per item isn’t thrifty at all.

Spend a couple of hours each week writing down the sales that seem good.  Then, check your price book and compare the unit costs. Are the advertised items really a good deal?

While I do recommend making a list, it’s vital to remember, the list is not the Gospel – it is just a guideline. You know how some of those websites preach strict adherence to your lists and menus?  Ignore them!

Here’s why: Let’s say you have a whole chicken on your list, but chicken is outrageously expensive this week. But, pork is on sale. Doesn’t it make a lot more sense to take that into consideration? Be flexible.

For the thriftiest possible shopping trip, your list should include:

  • Items that you have coupons for
  • Sale items, listed by store, that are a good deal
  • Must-have items, like milk if you have small children (there should be very few must-have items – flexibility is the key to a barebones budget!)
  • Ingredients that you require for your meal plans (again, this should be flexible – also, don’t waste money on an ingredient that you can only use in one dish if your budget is tight!)
  • Map your route before you go – if you have several stops to make, do so efficiently and without backtracking.
  • Organize your lists by store

If a store is out of the way from the other shops you plan to hit, think about the week ahead. Do you have any errands or obligations that will take you to that store?  There is a warehouse store about an hour away from us. Any time we have an appointment in that city, we plan ahead to allow some extra time to stop at the warehouse store and stock up.

When embarking on an afternoon of sales shopping, it can be a good idea to put some ice in a cooler for housing perishable food. Try to plan to pick up most of the perishable items on your last stop.

Here are a few more tips to help you keep the budget under control if you are spending an afternoon stockpile shopping:

  • Eat before you go – hunger can impair your judgment because everything just looks so darned good!
  • Take a bottle of water or a cup of coffee with you so that you aren’t tempted by the coolers or the Starbucks at the front of the store.
  • Go alone – it is always far more expensive with a spouse or a child in tow. Admit it, who among us hasn’t bought something frivolous just to make another family member happy?

#5 Make bulk purchases

It gets even better when you begin purchasing in bulk quantities instead of grocery store quantities.

Let’s look at some more math – and you’ll see why maintaining a pantry beats out weekly grocery shopping every time.

I purchase my beef in bulk from a local farmer through a butcher shop.  They raise hormone-free meat, the cattle are grass fed, the animals are treated humanely, and the quality is superior.  Because I purchase 1/4 of a cow each year, I’m able to get all of my beef at $3.99 per pound.

Compare this to the grocery store (and we’re only talking about price, not the superior quality of the meat purchased farm direct):  the best price this week for stewing beef was $4.99 per pound.  The best price for ground beef was $2.99 per pound.  The best price for roast was $9.99 per pound.  When you average all of these together, I pay slightly more for ground beef and far less for everything else. As well, I have the added benefit of excellent quality meat that is cut and wrapped to order, and I’m avoiding the nasty chemicals and factory farming practices that taint the grocery store meat. The average grocery store price per pound, on sale, is $5.99

·         Pantry method: $3.99 per pound

·         Regular shopping method: $5.99 per pound

Now, for another example, let’s look at grains.

When I lived in Canada, I bought organic wheat berries. I paid $17.04 for 10 kg (about 22 pounds).  The shipping was $21.78, bringing my total to $38.82, delivered to my door – or $1.76 per pound. I couldn’t get wheat berries at the local store.  I had to drive an hour and 15 minutes to get them, resulting in a tank of gas. At the closest place I can find wheat berries, the cost in bulk is $2.60 per pound. Yes, I could buy a smaller amount, but purchasing the larger amount also results in savings because of fewer trips to the store. (Now that I’m in the United States, I purchase my grains online.)

Most food calculators recommends 300 pounds of wheat per person per year.  This would be wheat for making bread, pasta, cookies and other baked goods.   If you are buying your wheat already processed into bread, pasta and cereal, the price continues to climb.

·         Pantry method: $1.76 per pound

·         Regular shopping method: $2.60 per pound

At $1.76 per pound, that costs $529 per year. Per person. At $2.60 per pound, that costs $780 per year.  Per person. If you can do this with all of your staples, you can see the savings that can be achieved. That is over $1000 per year for a family of four, for just one item.

Some of the things I buy in extremely large quantities are:

  • Beef
  • Sugar
  • Wheat
  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Coconut Oil
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Popcorn
  • Tomatoes
  • Dry milk

You’ll be astonished at how life-changing it is to shop for your pantry instead of to fulfil your weekly grocery list. Stock up and prepare for that rainy day that could be just around the corner.  And if the rainy day never comes, you’ve saved time and money while providing healthy food for your family.

 ***

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Pantry Primer: A Beginner’s Complete Guide to Creating a Food Stockpile on a Budget, which will be available this spring.  An expanded 2nd edition to the original Pantry Primer book, this updated version will have over 200 pages of strategies, lists, recipes, and how-to guides to help beginners create their pantries without increasing their grocery budgets.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

Learn To Use Body Language To Establish Trust

Learning-to-Use-Body-Language-to-Establish-Trust

Building a prepper community that you can rely on to come together in times of need is high on everyone’s list of goals.  Sadly, however, most of us have an issue with determining just who we should let into out inner circle of trusted friends. That includes family.  Who is to say that a trusted family member will not turn on us when the chips are down? This a special concern when there is a perception, real or imagined, that an immediate member of his or her own family is at risk.

These are tough questions that have come up over and over again as together we have explored the viability of building a trusted network of preppers that we can count on to watch our backs as we would watch theirs.

I do not have the answers myself.  Being somewhat reclusive, those in close physical proximity know little about me and my personal life and circumstances.  Having said that, I know that to prevail after the tipping point we call SHFT occurs, I will need to learn to surround myself with people I trust.  Learning who they are after the fact will be too late.

To help with this dilemma, I asked Jim Cobb, who you know as a prolific, and well-grounded survivalist and author, to share his experience in reading body language to establish trust.  He is a licensed private detective and deals with body language and trust issues on a daily basis.

Here is what he has to say about learning to use body language to establish trust.

Body Language – What are They Really Saying?

By Jim Cobb

Experts differ a bit on the exact percentage but they all agree that the vast majority of interpersonal communication in non-verbal. Often, this is why people have so many disagreements online. Without those body language cues, as well as a lack of vocal tone, misunderstandings are very common. I’ve often said that the person who comes up with a specific font that is universally recognized as indicating sarcasm will be a billionaire overnight.

A basic understanding of body language can go a long way toward not only having a deeper understanding of communication but helping to discern honesty among those with whom you are communicating. However, it is important to note that no individual cue should be seen as authoritative in that regard in particular. Every person is unique and what might be seen as an indicator of dishonesty in one person might just be a tic or affectation in another. Think about it like this, you can’t easily determine the entire plot of a novel by reading just a single sentence. Body language is about the sum of its parts, not just any one particular cue.

If the person is someone you know well, pay particular attention to behavior patterns that differ considerably from the norm. For example, if they almost always look you dead in the eye when speaking and now they suddenly seem to want to look at anything but you, that’s a pretty strong indicator something is going on.

Interpreting body language involves paying attention to things like facial expressions, eye movement, posture, and gestures. Obviously, you aren’t going to become any sort of expert just by reading a single blog post. However, given that most of us would be more concerned with determining honesty more than anything else, let’s look at some common indicators of lying.

Often, body language cues of dishonesty are the same or very similar to someone who is afraid. This stands to reason as most liars fear being caught. So, if the person appears afraid, such as their breathing is somewhat rapid and their face flushed, that can be a clue that something is amiss.

Of course, avoiding eye contact is one of the most common indicators of dishonesty. Most parents learn that one early on. However, an inability to look you in the eyes might also just be because the person feels nervous or intimidated by you. Again, you need to read the whole book, not just a sentence or two.

Someone a bit more accomplished at deception might look away from you as they give thought to their answer, then look you dead in the eye as they speak. Consider the question you’ve asked and whether it should take them a bit of time to think of the appropriate answer.

Often, someone who is lying will unconsciously try to cover their mouth or divert their mouth away from you. They may rub their face or turn their head slightly. Of course, they might also fear they have bad breath.

A posture that leans away from you, such as leaning back when they are seated, can indicate they want to get away from you. It could also mean you have bad breath.

Crossing the arms is a common indicator of defensive body language. It can also show anger or an unwillingness to cooperate. Then again, they might just be cold.

When under stress, the body can do some funny things. For some reason, for example, the mouth can often get very dry. If the person to whom you are speaking seems to have trouble talking because of a dry mouth, that can be a clue they’re not comfortable with the conversation.

Adept liars are often very aware of their own body language and will work to curtail any telltale signs of dishonesty. For example, while squirming is something most parents would recognize as indicative of lying, those who are practiced liars will remain absolutely stock still. Again, if remaining that still is unusual for the person, that should be noted.

While not strictly a part of body language, it is important to pay attention to what the person is saying. I know, that sounds obvious, but let me elaborate. Liars often repeat themselves over and over in an attempt to get you to believe them. They figure if they say it often enough, it will be true. They will also share an overabundance of details, most of which won’t be relevant to the actual answer. They do this in hopes that they’ll be seen as cooperative and open.

Perhaps the most important thing to do when attempting to determine honesty is to listen to your gut. Quite often, our unconscious mind picks up on subtle cues that our eyes aren’t registering. How many times have you gotten out of a bad relationship and only then realized what your inner mind, your gut, had been telling you all along?

I know I’ve said this several times but it bears repeating once more. It is absolutely crucial to not get hung up on any one individual indicator of dishonesty. You must take into account the whole picture, including what is “normal” behavior for that person, if known. Read the whole book, or at least a few chapters, before determining the appropriate course of action.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Cobb is a recognized authority on disaster readiness. He has also been a licensed private detective for about 15 years. Previous to that, he spent several years working in loss prevention and security. During this time, he has interviewed countless individuals suspected of dishonesty and received training in interpreting body language.

Jim’s books include Prepper’s Home Defense, Countdown to Preparedness, and Prepper’s Financial Guide (coming March 2015). He can be found online at http://www.SurvivalWeekly.com/ and http://www.DisasterPrepConsultants.com/. You can connect with him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jimcobbsurvival/.

The Final Word

Merriam-Webster defines trust as “Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.

For those of us that strive for autonomy, self-sufficiency, and unilateral preparedness, trust is a tough topic but an important one.  This goes beyond talking (or not) about your preps and your stored supplies.  It involves knowing that your trusted comrade is strong enough in character to do the right thing when called upon to act on behalf of the group.

As we look to develop trust in others, we also need to look inward at ourselves.  When push comes to shove, could you be trusted?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

 

6 More Uncommon First Aid Items

first_aid_kit

As I wrote last September, I have a fairly decent first aid kit.  It includes everything from a large variety of bandages to pain killers, antibiotics, essential oils, trauma supplies, first aid books, and equipment such as braces, splints and a blood pressure monitor.

Since then, however, Ebola and now measles have become a threat and it is only a matter of time where my first aid kit will be called into play to protect my household from contamination from sickness, or worse, a pandemic.

As I try to cover all contingencies, I have come up with six additional items well suited to the prepper’s first aid kit.  These are all items that are commonly available and low in price.  Not only that, you may already have a number on hand.

Wouldn’t this be a good time to gather them together with the rest of your first aid items?

6 More Items You May Have Overlooked in Your First-Aid Kit

Hazardous Waste Garbage Bags:  Following Ebola, this was the first new item I sought for my first aid kit.  These red bags are clearly marked as “Biohazardous/Infectious Waste” and include a biohazard symbol.  They come in many sizes and can be used to discard bandages, compresses, needles, tissues, clothing, and all manner of contaminants.  They are perfect as a trash can liner for the sick room.

Since disposition of hazardous medical supplies may not be immediate, it will be important to keep contaminants separated from the rest of the garbage; my plan is to take the sealed hazardous waste bags and double then triple bag then in hefty bags.

Link:  Medical Action Infectious Waste Bag

Razor Blades:  You might be wondering why the heck razor blades are suggested for the first aid kit.  The single most important reason is that in order to get a proper fit with your N95 or N100 mask , you are going to need to have a clear patch of skin.  If you are ever in a situation where a protective mask is required, it will be handy to have razor blades right there in your kit, ready to go.

It also might be a good idea to have a hank of denim in your FAK so that you can strop the used blades and give them an indefinite life.  See How to Sharpen Razor Blades for the Long Term.

Link:  Bic Twin Disposable Shaver for Men, 3 – 10 packs

Whiskey, Bourbon or other Spirits:  The higher the alcohol content, the better. Spirits can be used to sterilize instruments and clean wounds.  Unlike isopropyl alcohol, spirits can be ingested internally to dull the patients pain prior to an invasive procedure when anesthetics are unavailable.  Most definitely, whiskey, bourbon, or other spirits belong in the first aid trauma kit.

Oil of Oregano: Oregano essential oil is one of natures most powerful antibiotics.  It is also considered to be antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-allergenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic.  Perhaps most notably, oregano essential oil is an anti-microbial with a demonstrated ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Mixed in a lotion or with a bit of coconut oil, Oregano oil makes a perfect hand sanitizer that will not expire.  See:  25 Ways to Use Oregano Essential Oil for Health and Wellness.

Link:  Spark Naturals Oregano Essential Oil, NOW Foods Oregano Oil

Chicken Bouillon:  There is a reason why chicken soup is considered a cure-all for colds and other illnesses.  It works.  According to Medline and the NIH:

The steam from chicken soup may open up congested noses and throats. Soup also provides fluid, which is important for fighting infection. Some researchers suggest that substances in chicken soup reduce the inflammation associated with the common cold, thus providing some relief of symptoms.

Although researchers have not been able to prove that chicken soup helps cure the common cold or other illnesses, you may want to take advantage of these apparent healing properties.

Since it is not convenient to store dozens of cans of chicken soup in your first aid kit, consider chicken bouillon which is cheap, portable, and has an infinite shelf life.

Link:  Tone’s Bouillon Cubes, Chicken, 32 Ounce

Flexible Drinking Straws:  The final uncommon item is the ubiquitous drinking straw.  If you have ever been down for the count, you know how difficult it is to drink out of cup or bottle when you can barely hold your head up.  In addition, drinking from a straw is more sanitary in that after doing so, the straw can be disposed of in a hazardous waste bags; no washing required.

Link:  Crystalware Plastic Flexible Straws, Individually Wrapped

Other Uncommon First Aid Items

In addition to these six items, take a few moments to look over your first aid kit to ensure that you also have these additional uncommon items that were described in the article 8 Uncommon First Aid Items.

Liquid Bandage such as New-Skin
Super Glue
Tampons and Maxi-pads
Hand Sanitizer
Safety Pins
Tongue Depressors
Self-Adhering Cohesive Wrap Bandages or Vet Wrap
Hemostatic Agent such as Quikclot

The Final Word

No one wants to be sick but when you are, it is comforting to have a caregiver that is well prepared and that has taken steps to ensure your comfort as well as their own safety from contaminants.

I am always on the lookout for things I may have overlooked when putting together my own first aid kit. Most especially, I keep an eye peeled for items that have multiples uses.  With the exception, perhaps, of the hazardous waste bags, the six items today meet that criteria.  No comment on the spirits, if the shoe fits, put it on!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation.


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

 

Agenda For Change: The American Prepper Movement

proverbs 27 12

Last month when I posted Define the Prepper Movement With A Call Action, I did not know what to expect.  One part of me thought, okay, I am going to put this out there and be run out of town for expressing such crazy ideas.  The other part of me dictated that I post the article because I believed in it.  Not posting would be paramount to selling out to what was popular as well as profitable in the prepper blogging community.

Selling out is not in my DNA so I went ahead and shared the think piece by Richard Earl Broome, and much to my delight, it found a thoughtful and passionate audience here at Backdoor Survival.  I was pleased.

The next question, of course, is where do we go from here.

In today’s think piece, Richard kicks things up a notch and suggests that we take some time to develop a mission statement for the American Prepper Movement.

An Agenda for Change: “Power to the Preppers”

Before anyone ever thinks about starting a movement, you need to look at previous movements that were successful and truly did drive change. Two that immediately come to mind are the Civil Rights and Anti Vietnam War movements. What made them successful?

At their origins both seemed to have disparate pockets of political activism, with members that seemed to be just fringe agitators. Over time these disparate pockets integrated and became more respected. As a result, the beliefs they represented became more forceful and powerful because each managed to achieve discipline within a common agenda of fighting against true injustice.

Once more cohesive, they also became increasingly focused and articulate with arguments that created a coherent and compelling agenda for change. Eventually, both had a seat at the national table and helped drive new laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and a new national policy, the elimination of the military draft in 1973.

Why is it important for Preppers of all shapes, sizes and interests to try to find a common ground and organize a movement like this?

At present, Preppers are mostly dismissed as a group outside of the mainstream. Yet as a community, we are more knowledgeable and better prepared to meet the increasing level of threatening events facing us than almost everyone else. As a disparate group, with no common agenda that Preppers agree upon, we currently have little influence or power when it is most needed.

The American Prepper Movement must have a voice at the federal, state and local level with regard to policy, planning, budgeting and legislation. To achieve a seat at the table, Preppers need to become more focused, disciplined and articulate and represent a powerful voting bloc with a clear and coherent agenda for change that elected officials will respect.

What do you think needs to be a part of the American Prepper Nation agenda?

First, let us all accept the premise that there is a new global reality. Terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemic threats, etc., have reached all nations, and as we most recently witnessed with the Boston Marathon bombing last spring and now in France, this is no longer just happening somewhere else in the world. It is a clear and present danger to all of us. A war on all citizens is underway. We have squandered the time we had to prepare for it, so like our nation after Pearl Harbor some seventy-three years ago, we need to catch up and right now.

We are only at the beginning of a discussion about what I think is the critical Prepper Agenda for Change. Here are some ideas, most of which are from the readers of Backdoor Survival in response to my December 30th, 2014 think piece on Backdoor Survival, “Do Not Go Gentle Into the Night.” We seemed to think the Prepper Agenda for Change was in four categories:

–First, develop a mission statement that we all would agree articulates what the Prepper movement is really about.

The media tends to have a cynical view of prepping, which impacts the psychology of most uninformed audiences, and gives the impression we are all slightly odd and not to be taken seriously. Yet, you can go to Ready.gov and see very similar advice for the entire nation coming from FEMA. So we are, in fact, just doing what our government asks.

We also know that we can give better advice to our fellow citizens than the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. do, and on much a wider range of topics. We need our more informed, experienced Prepper voices heard.

A starting point would be our mission statement for the American Prepper Movement. How about we start a Proverb as our inspiration, and then the readers of Backdoor Survival can add their own thoughts?

Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

–Second, what can we learn from others?

We created the Department of Homeland Security twelve years ago. The State of Israel was founded sixty-seven years ago. The State of Israel has been focused on the preparedness of their citizens since the nation was founded.

What policies should our federal, state and local governments adopt from Israel, particularly around citizen preparedness? We are not yet under a direct and constant threat as Israel experiences, but the threat to the USA is steadily growing. Now is the time to step back, re-examine ourselves, and start making bold changes.

For example, Israel makes civilian preparedness and resiliency part of their education curriculum. Students learn the importance of being prepared and have both historical lessons about terrorism along with “hands on” learning experiences to develop skills with first aid, CPR, chemical and biological weapons, the use of gas masks, and so on. High school students are expected to actively support the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), during an emergency.

Israel’s Home Front Command also uses consistent, straightforward messaging to the citizens of Israel about threats or possible events. Israel, with these policies, has achieved a genuine culture of preparedness.

So should the United States.

–Third, with all these kinds of actions we can begin to shift the psychology of Americans.

A recent article I wrote for Backdoor Survival was “Building a Culture of Preparedness.” I used the following quote in my article as a metaphor, to illustrate how our view of heath and fitness has changed over the last 50 years.

“If you have ever watched the TV show, “Mad Men,” on many levels it is both fascinating and a little horrifying. We did act that way. We drank too much, smoked, and ate whatever we pleased. Exercise was that occasional game of tennis or golf. This has all changed for the better. We pay more attention to diet, nutrition, exercise and avoid doing the things we know hurt us. Over time, as a society, we developed a culture of health and fitness. It took us years, but we made the cultural shift. What caused this was that we all raised our level of understanding about causes and effects and the ultimate impacts of poor choices about heath and fitness.

To achieve a similar kind of a societal-wide transition for better preparedness, by fostering the community discussions that I am proposing in this article, over time, could start to create and begin to build an overall culture of preparedness.”

We need to raise our level of national understanding about the importance of preparedness. If we are ever going to be truly prepared, this kind of a psychological shift by Americans is a fundamental requirement. Israel did it. So can we.

–Fourth, during future events Preppers more likely to shoulder most the burden of the threats to our safety because we, as a nation, allow others to remain less prepared.

Your federal, state and local tax dollars that go to emergency preparedness will be spent on those who are not prepared. Preppers will perhaps need, little to no help, which makes Preppers the ants paying for the grasshoppers.

If we, as a nation, will subsidize someone for putting solar panels on their roof to achieve energy efficiencies, why not advocate subsidizing Preppers for better overall preparedness? Shouldn’t Preppers get some sort of tax break for being a better-prepared citizen? Shouldn’t this be reflected in lower insurance bills for you?

A great side benefit if this actually happened would be the creation of a national standard for both individual and business preparedness. If this is ever created, the Prepper Nation definitely must have a voice in any kind of a preparedness standard.

Where do we go from here?

If we can agree on the basic tenets of a mission statement and agenda for change, we then have the fundamental pieces to begin to organize into a movement. With these we can start to address the simple; yet critical question: Where do we go from here?

Robert Kennedy one said:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts, will be written the history of this generation.”

Each of us needs to do our small part and write the history of the beginnings of the American Prepper Movement.

Richard Earl Broome –  All Rights Reserved
February 4, 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author and friend to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.
He is considered a national expert on the subjects of crisis management, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on radio shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat.
For more about Richard, visit my  About Richard page.  Also, note that his two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.

The Final Word

As with all things preparedness, at first blush the task of preparing a mission statement may seem overwhelming.  After all, there is not only the effort of putting pencil to paper, but also the coordination of missives coming from various age groups, economic strata, and geographical locations. Each will have their own special needs and their own special interests.

The challenge going forward is to set aside our personal agendas and move toward a common goal for all preppers.  I know from reading your comments that there are plenty of you set to lead and an equal number set to follow with gumption and gusto.  Everyone is important.

Now it is your turn.  Let us continue brainstorm together; comments are open.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

 

Survival Basics: The Six Enemies Of Food Storage

Several ingredients food in cloth bags

When it comes to stockpiling survival preps, two items are always near the top my list: food and land to grow food.  Those, in my opinion, are the two most valuable commodities to have if the world and society goes to heck.  As I say that, I realize that the land portion of that equation may be unattainable for many.  On the other hand, almost everyone can acquire food and a place to store it.

By now you have read over and over again ad nauseam that during a disaster or a SHFT disruptive event, the grocery store shelves will be barren within a day or two.  In addition, there is a strong likelihood that amenities such as electricity and refrigeration will no longer be available. That’s why having food, and an extensive knowledge of food storage techniques, is so important to long term survival.

Since the beginning of Backdoor Survival, I have explored many areas of preparedness, from basic preps, to more extensive studies of self-sufficiency and the psychological aspects of survival.  Beyond all else, however, I have taken a keen interest in food and food storage.

With the rapid escalation of food prices, I want to reintroduce you to the six enemies of food storage.  They are important to understand and, even if they are sometimes unavoidable, the six enemies are good to keep in mind as you invest in food for your prepper pantry.

The Six Enemies of Food Storage

Storing food for the long-term is a daunting task. For the short-term, you can usually find a spare shelf or two in your kitchen cabinets and call it a day. Beyond the short-term, things start to get more complicated.  The reason is that most food products have a shelf life which is pretty much limited by some common factors, referred to as the Six Enemies of Food Storage:

Temperature
Oxygen
Moisture
Light
Pests
Time

As you will see, each of these factors are interrelated in such a way that there is a domino effect with all of the tiles falling upon each other and ultimately affecting your stored items in a cumulative fashion. I will briefly address each one so that this becomes clear.

Temperature:  Long-term food storage is best achieved by maintaining cool, constant temperatures. Ideally, temperatures between 40 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit are best for long-term storage. Anything warmer or cooler results in loss of color, nutrition, texture and taste. A common rule of thumb is that for every 18 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature (10 degrees Celsius), your food’s shelf life is cut in half.

The second factor when it comes to temperature is consistency.  So if you have a location where the temperature is 40 degrees one day and 70 the next, there is going to be some loss in quality and shelf life.  Let me put this another way.  If you have stored your food in a garage where the temperature fluctuates between summer and winter, the shelf life will be based upon the highest temperature not the lowest.

Oxygen: Many food nutrients can oxidize in the presence of oxygen. This creates rancidity and off flavors. In addition, bacteria and microorganisms (larvae and bugs) thrive in an oxygen-rich environment. Fortunately, the use of oxygen absorbers can suck out the oxygen in your food containers, leaving only product and nitrogen (which is not harmful).

Moisture:  Moisture comes in many forms, but the most typical are humidity and condensation. When stored food becomes moist or even slightly damp, molds and bacteria begin to grow, causing spoilage. If this food is consumed, illness will occur. In addition, moisture can cause packaging to break down, exposing the food to further degradation.

The ideal level of humidity for your stored food is 15% or less.  I live in Washington State where the humidity is typically 60% or 70% or more. The way around the humidity and moisture issue is proper packaging. And with packaging, there are lots of choices including Mylar bags, food grade buckets with or without gamma seals, vacuum seal bags (such as the FoodSaver), Mason or canning jars and more.

What you decide to use to package your food will dictate how much light your food is exposed to (remember those dominoes?)

Light:  The easiest way to explain how light affects your stored food is to equate light to energy.  When the energy of light zaps your food, it transfers some of that energy to the food itself, degrading its nutritional value, taste and appearance.  This is especially true when it comes to the fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D and E as well as proteins.

Pests: Pests are another problem.  Moisture and humidity provide a breeding ground for bugs and larvae of all types. Pests come in many forms. From bugs to rodents, pests are not only a nuisance, but also a major factor to eliminate when storing food for the long-term.

It is important to be aware of the pests that are particular to your geographical climate and further, that you set a barrier between your food and the critters.  In addition to a physical barrier, the use of oxygen absorbers or diatomaceous earth will eliminate the oxygen (air) that most pests need to survive.

Time: Over time, food will degrade in nutritional value, appearance and taste. Time is the final enemy of food storage.  And while there are many items that have an extended shelf life of 20 or 30 years, unless they are properly packaged and stored, the optimal shelf life will be considerably less.   If you really do desire products with a 30 year shelf life, I suggest you look at some of the commercially packaged alternatives at Emergency Essentials, Buy Emergency Foods, and others.  These days you can even find products packaged for 20 or 30 year storage at Wal-mart and Costco.

Resources to Mitigate the Enemies of Food Storage

Once you understand the six enemies of food storage, the challenge is to learn to store food in such a way that these issues are mitigated. The easiest and most manageable method for storing food for the long-term is to use Mylar bags, food grade buckets, and mason jars (if kept in a dark place) in conjunction with the use of oxygen absorbers.

Here are some articles tips to help you package your food products for the long term.

Survival Basics: What the Heck are Oxygen Absorbers?
Survival Basics: Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage
Survival Basics: Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals
How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning

You will find that once you get started, it is pretty easy to package up bulk food items yourself and while you may not be able to avoid fluctuations in temperature, your food will still be viable for longer than those items left in their original store packaging.

The Final Word

The intent of this article is to give you a top level overview of the considerations you need to keep in mind as you begin to acquire food products for long term storage.

I know from your many emails and comments that resolving some of these food storage woes will be difficult if not impossible.  Still, knowing what they are will help you be better prepared, and if nothing else, encourage you to set up an active food rotation program. And that, in my opinion, is not a bad thing.

Note:  This article has been re-written and substantially updated from the original version that was published in February 2012.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.