good idea

While I’m a big diy’er, was just starting such a product myself.  and how much easier is it if someone has done it for you?!  Yes, it might seem like a lot of money for a pdf download, but have no problem with paying someone for their time and effort if its good time and effort.  This woman seems to have thought of pretty much everything we would want to know and keep track of, plus some.

and yes, I’ve ordered her gun planner also, as that is another thing I was getting ready to sit down and do

http://selfreliantschool.com/introducing-the-preparedness-planner/

a couple of thoughts

Am I the only one to notice that it is getting hard to find good canned goods WITHOUT pull tab tops?  If you didn’t know, the are not recommended for long term storage because the cut that makes them pull tab tops effectively goes right through the lid.

LDS preparedness manual.  The Church of Latter Day Saints has a strong suggestion (just this side of being a commandment), that its members have at least one years worth of ‘stuff’ on hand at all times.  As a modern religion, they have faced a lot of hardship, although they do prosper in modern times, so they must be doing something right!

Anyway, if you are looking for a good guideline of what to store, they offer this manual as a free download at http://www.ldsavow.com/prepmanualgeneral.html

You can also buy it, and I do have a copy.  Yes, there is a lot of Mormon stuff in there, which you can cope with; and it is good background as to WHY this book exists!  There was an interesting quote in one of the opening stories, when asked about when the world would end, the answer was  ‘ I know it will end, but am planting Cherry Trees anyway.  In other words, prepare, but meanwhile, live your life.

With what we’re hearing on the news, am working on the first, while doing the second!

prepping and $$$$

Guess you’ve all noticed that prepping has become BIG business!  and SOO many of those raking in the cash don’t believe a word of what they say!  Its just all about the $$$!

Oh, it does make some information that was harder to find before a little easier now.  and the number of tools, gadgets, gizmos, and garbage are astounding.

Lets be honest, how many rocket stoves were available on the market 10 years ago? even 5?  Now you can buy a rocket stove that will let you charge your phone or laptop while cooking dinner!  And you can even find what is basically a bomb shelter, complete, just dig a big hole under your house and drop it in!  There is even “prep of the month” clubs, where every month they will send you a box of assorted prep items – what and how much depends on how much $$$$ you want to spend.

More freeze dried foods are available though; whether for camping, or an emergency pack for your car, or SHTF.  Even Organic, Vegan and Gluten Free choices coming up.

TV shows. Magazines. Books. Expos.  Liberal Prepper groups!  Yes, liberal preppers.  Saw one on Waters World the other night, being interviewed while he showed off his  preps, including his “for defense only” guns.  No hunting for liberals, defense only!  Don’t think he would have known the term Bug Out, besides which he was a bit tooo soft for doing so even if he was prepared.  and Waters left him speechless when he suggested that SHTF, Jesse Waters would be allowed in to stay . . . yup, hadn’t occurred to liberal prepper than you DO NOT announce your preps to the world as you WILL HAVE TO SHARE!  And suddenly, Mr. Liberal Prepper came to the realization that you do not talk about your preps because while its fine to talk about income redistribution, when it came down to SHTF, you don’t want to go there!

So what brought on todays rant?  A prepper magazine.  There are a couple of mags that have been out for more than a year now.  One is very High End with fancy paper, large format, big price tag, and lots and lots of VERY HIGH END merchandise:  The $100k bug out vehicle. $5k infrared night vision goggles, etc.  Several issues ago, they were reviewing “generators” including the Goal Zero – have a small one, find them handy, but expensive – so was hoping that there were some other similar tools to be reviewed here.  Nope.  It was the 400W goal zero against gasoline powered generators.

Which is when I realized that while they believe in SHTF – they don’t believe in EOTWAWKI, despite their talk about nuclear annialation, pandemics, EMP events.  Because if you are  considering SHTF, or worse, EOTWAWKI, you do not want anyone hearing or smelling your gasoline powered generator.  You might love your neighbors, but if the power and heat are out for a week (or longer) because of an ice storm, do you want those unprepared neighbors descending on your home, with their kids, because you can keep the lights on, keep the kids entertained with the DVR, and probably have food in the fridge?  and you know, EOTWAWKI, that there is no way – despite a Charlton Heston movie – that years later you will have good quality diesel, much less gasoline, to power the thing!  and if you have to bug out, how the hell do you move that generator much less the gasoline storage tank you buried in your back yard?!  And I told them so.

So Sunday I picked up a magazine called Prepper or Prepping, or something like that.  Articles that are overviews on things like water; its importance, how to find it in different conditions, larger and smaller purification devices.  Similar articles on food, weapons, and then came to home protection.  Okay, whether SHTF or a larger scale EOTWAWKI event, every one has to seek shelter somewhere.  And in this day and age of drones, you have to be a LOOONNNNGGG way from anywhere to not have someone find you!  and even before we get there, as noted before, you don’t want to advertise your preps, especially any weapons.

How to protect your place of shelter.  Agreed, you don’t want the house protected by S&W sign.  a sure advertisement that you have guns which will make you a mark even in good times.  and the dog.  Always a good early warning system.  Then there was the ADT home protection sign as the #1 home protection.  Well, in good times, sure, but SHTF, that is going to do you absolutely NO good at all, except to maybe declare you as a target who is counting on someone else to protect you!  The articles went on through personal protection and communications – focusing on high tech devices, all requiring electricity.  Again, the remotely attended security system.  Can you see someone calling the cops for your emergency during Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?  Will they be there after the tornado ravishes your town?  The security cameras.  Yes, they have battery back ups, but who you gonna call?  So maybe you’ll have pictures of the people who have ransacked and looted your safe space.

Walkie talkies and short wave.  Also great ideas, but be sure of your power supplies yet again.

Oh, will totally admit I love my gadgets and am delighted in some of the products that this wave of commercialism is making available.  Have augmented my food stash with some commercial freeze dried products.  am making use of some of the stackable water “bricks” that let me stash water where I have space, rather than having to make space for a 55 gallon drum somewhere.  Just bought a “little green wagon”, which is a collapsible garden wagon with BIG wheels that lets my rapidly aging (you can’t stop the passage of time!) body get a rest from moving soil and heavy items around the yard. Got a device that helps shred my kitchen waste for quicker composting, and because of my environment, use compost tumblers which didn’t exist a couple of decades ago.  have gotten an assortment of “pop up” garden protectors and season extenders rather than having to manhandle sheets of material over hoops and pin and clip into place every evening and fold up and store every morning.

Yes, have water storage containers for collecting rain water – and pretty much every one in my neighborhood knows I do cause they are BIG and attracted attention when they were delivered.  and my goal zero unit powers the pump that moves the water from those tanks around the property.  And pretty much all my neighbors know I garden as they have all had fresh produce from my space.  Then again, my neighborhood is small and SHTF, might be induced to share.

So the commercialization of Prepping has brought both good and bad with it.  and with it being “popular” maybe more people will get into it . . at least for the short term.  But it also means cheap goods, and the enticement to spend money on things you may not need or want . . as an example, have a grain mill.  Do I need a grain mill?  probably not.  Of course, EOTWAWKI, it will probably be more of a barter item.  But it is a good quality one and the sale price made in something I could purchase for that purpose.  Also have a mangle – that is a wringer unit for hand wash.  That was a thrift shop purchase at $12.  If I never need it, great. If I do, it will be worth having and ‘renting’ out to other people struggling with their wash.   Have two rocket stoves – one a larger unit for the house, and a smaller one to stash in the vehicle.  Have two solar ovens, same deal. Paid full price for the first, they offered the second purchase at 50% off.

So I have succumbed to the temptations of the slick glossy magazines.

Sadly, see Backwoods Home is closing down this year, just because Dave Duffy and his wife and crew have reached the age of stepping aside and letting their daughter take over with a new magazine called Self-Reliance.  They chose NOT to sell out to big business.  The popular members of their crew – including Dave himself – will do articles for Self-Reliance which is going to be a quarterly magazine instead of a monthly.

But they will never have the circulation of some of the slicker new publications that are turning up at the media racks in the local market (which is all we have in our town for magazines).  Nor are you likely to see them advertised in those slick magazines.

So as you seek information on prepping and survival, watch who is using flash instead of substance to grab your $$$,

 

 

wonder why

Discovered this became a ramble, but there is a point at the end 🙂

Back before PREPPER was a common term, guess I was one.  Not a survivalist, which is what some think became preppers, but aware that there could be an EOTWAWKI.  Guess anyone who was born in the nuclear age had to have that somewhere in their consciousness, after all we grew up with the early Sci Fi movies of beings from out of space (my two favorites – Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds), nuclear annihilation (Dr. Strangelove), duck and cover drills in grade school (actually all the way through at least 8th grade), Strontium 90 tainted milk and cookies, Cuban Missile Crisis, the cold war and bomb shelters.

But do remember always keeping plenty of food on hand along with extra water from my first apartment on.  Back in the 70’s, living in NYC, learning to can, dehydrate, baking, and other skills.  Unusual behavior at the time.  Oh, we could get stuck in a black out for a few days (lived through the first two NYC black outs without difficulty), blizzard making it difficult to get to the store, or at least for the store to get deliveries (even in NYC).  Will never forget one Sunday heading out on cross Country skies in manhattan and being upset because the Times wasn’t available!

Later that day, my boyfriend and I went downtown intending to see Ghandi, which had just opened, presuming we’d miss the crowds, NOT! Not much keeps New Yorkers down!

So what brought this all on? today as I was reading something came across a reference to On The Beach.  My mom was a Neville Shute fan and had most of his books and so read them early on.  Mom was from England and was amazed at how accurate his descriptions of war torn Britain were in books written before the war had really begun.  Of course, now I understand that he was intelligent, and engineer, and had lived through WWI, so it was probably relatively easy to understand and imagine what the destruction would and could be, as well as be aware of where technology stood at the time and what that meant to war fare.

On the Beach affected me deeply, as it probably did everyone who either read the book or saw the movie.

Was only about 16 when I read Earth Abides.  Another post Apocalyptic novel, that I see mentioned more and more often.  Written in 1949, it saw the end of the world through pandemic and at that place in my life, that triggered something in me.  An awareness of how fragile our entire planet is, not just from war, but from many other things.

From that point on, despite my circumstances, was always conscious of Something Could Happen any time.

It was only moving out here to AZ from the Metropolitan area that I was able to expand my ideas of preparing.  Of course, there is more information readily available, more ideas, more technology making things happen – both for the prepper and to push us closer to the brink!

Guess, getting older has made a difference too.  Do not see either my sweetie or I just sitting back in a chair and waiting to die no matter how old we are or what happens.  At the same time we have to consider what we can do at 70, at 80, to keep going!

and speaking of partners, He has not always understood what I’ve been about with this.  Fortunately, my shopping habit has extended to the matter of supplies and tools rather than clothing and shoes and handbags.  Not that I’m not woman enough to want those things, but have become quite adept at thrifting and making, keeping my $$ available for my prepping.

But this election cycle has him suddenly aware.  Its like he’s been hit in the head with a cosmic 2 x 4. Suddenly he’s conscious of how easily our electric and water and food supplies could be disrupted.  How quickly things could go wrong.  Of course, watching the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the floods in Louisiana, the forest fires in California  – forget the fires, we’ve been out there a couple of times on business the past year and have been awed at the effects of the drought!  Add to that terrorists attacks, living in the southwest and the awareness of how vulnerable we are on our border (watching the original Red Dawn today, early infiltration coming in over the Mexican border).  Its all adding up.

Then you go to the grocery store and find California fruits and veggies being discounted, plenty of meat and poultry on the shelves, Nestle still selling bottled water from CA (arrowhead if you don’t know), and its hard to keep on high alert. Its hard to bend your brain around the idea that all this could come to a screeching halt instantly.

Because there isn’t anything in the back of the grocery store, its all on the shelves.  When its gone, its gone.  The same for the hardware stores, the clothing stores, the drug store. So even in a small city like here, it wouldn’t take long for the shelves to empty and people to panic.

To be honest, expect that a lot of people would immediately leave town and head for the cities.  Either to reach family or because they think government help will come to cities first.  We were deserted in the days immediately following 9/11/01.  It was very eerie.

So all this brings me back to the question of why? Why did it trigger ideas and thoughts and awareness in me and not in other people?  Why didn’t everyone who saw those sci fi movies, read those books, start advocating change?  Why did I learn skills that others thought were outdated and old fashioned? Why did it take so long for my sweetie to wake up?

More and more people are waking up to the fact that we are really close to that edge, but so many more or still asleep when we need to be developing community and plans and skills.

And no, I’m not meant to be a leader. Teacher maybe, but even that will be hard as I can’t stand people and if the SHTF, I’m going to be more of a hunker down and keep a low profile kind of person.

Still, wonder why?

 

Money!!

While many of my posts are on prepping without spending a lot, spending some has to be done.

Some things I’ve purchased, like my Goal Zero Yeti 400, could have been done cheaper – or even not at all!  But it is something I use regularly and can continue to do so if SHTF for a few days or a few years. ($500!).  Thought I did okay with the 100W solar panel and seeing the current prices, wish I’d bought a couple ($125)

Have just invested in some Tattler lids for canning.  Recycling is always great instead of throwing away AND there might be a time down the line where there will be no way of running out and buying new canning lids.  So its time to learn how to use them. ($20)

Also just purchased a Kelly Kettle – full camping kit.  Figure this will go into the bus (if it ever gets back on the road) for regular camping.  It will be an emergency back up if we get stuck away from home, or if push comes to shove and we do have to bug out for some reason.   ($150)  And if the bus never gets put back together, we’ll tow it with the 4×4 and have a camper!

Bug out is not in our long range plans, but fires happen and we do live in that kind of area. (put together a bug out bag, $$$$ )

There is also a box out in the courtyard right now with 8 x 5 gallon water storage containers.  Drinking water is something I’ve been a bit lax on and wanted to address that. ($190)

Strangely, my darling partner in life has not seen the importance of preparing for a long time and has just humored me with my gardens (although he does like the fresh food!), canning, and stashing.

Suddenly, this election cycle has him paying a bit more attention and he’s become a more active supporter.  He was particularly pleased to find out that water filters have been high on my priority list.

He’s even getting into my desire to have an electric tricycle ($2000 – $3500) for being able to get around and move things quietly, although he can’t really get his head around the idea that there might be a time when the car isn’t an option!

And then there’s the food!!  How much have I spent on canned goods, dried goods, and even meat and chicken that’s been canned?  yes, it will get recycled into our daily eating pattern, but there’s always that “bank”.

Will we need it in our life time?  sure hope not, but our kids can inherit it all if necessary because the likelihood is, they will need it in theirs!

PLUS

The things you don’t always think about, like sewing supplies, leather, fabric, yarn, books (how to and entertainment).  Sure, we might never need it, but that’s why its called preparedness.  We might never be without our services for more than a few hours, a day or two at most.  Then again, depending on who is our next president, we might find ourselves hunkering down for the duration our lives in another decade!

Just never thought I’d still be thinking about all this at this age. Thought we would have come to our senses 40 years ago.

 

 

reading

What do you read?  I’m sure you have reference BOOKS for when the SHTF. Books that will help you with skills you might need.  Books you have gone through, if not read, to be sure that you have appropriate tools on hand.

But what else do you read? fiction? history? biography? What magazines? Guns and Ammo? Backwoods Home? Mother Earth News? Recoil? Organic Gardening? Home and Garden? Vogue?

Have recently discovered American Survival Guide.  Understand there was, once upon a time, another magazine of the same title.  This is not the same magazine.  Have seen this magazine slammed by critics, and have seen others rave about it.  I’m somewhere in between.

I like that it reviews what’s new on the market in technological tools.  Thinking of Night Vision of some sort? do you want IR? or do you want just low light?  Prices are coming down, and these people will keep reviewing so you can eventually make an informed decision.  Found some recipes for trail mix and a quick and easy jerky. How to make Candle Wicks.  Info on communications, as well as the usual on armament, lighting, etc.

But how it is most useful to me is it helps keep my awareness up.  Its so easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, that my home preps sometimes get forgotten.  Each time I read a (decent) apocalyptic novel or read a magazine like this, I remember my preps.  Maybe I’ll can some more Chicken.  Or make up a crock pot full of some meal and dry it into portions. I may just add some extra TP or canned goods onto the shopping list. Or start researching walkie talkies.

and that enthusiasm may wane in a week as the demands of the shop or something else takes my attention. But at least I’ve done one more thing.  and three weeks later another issue will come in and I’ll do a little bit more.

Will never get it all done, but always a little bit more and a little bit more.

thoughtful rambling part 3

Whatever you decide to do, know your tools! While my neighbor has solar assist hot water, we had to remove our system because it was more nearly 30 years old and decrepitated beyond repair.  So now we will have to figure out alternatives and make do (see Green Wizadry) .  On the other hand, have what is termed a “solar generator”.  This is a misnomer.  They are power storage units.  Since my eyes begin to glaze over and the brain shuts down when the conversation turns to building one, have gone the easy route and bought one.  These units have all the transformers, adapters, converters, etc. already installed.  Just hook up whatever power source you are using to charge it, and then plug in whatever you are using to drain it.  While I live in a very sunny area, even northern climes can use solar assist, and adding a wind turbine gives you even more options!

Again, know your tools. The first one I bought, thought I could just charge it and store it for an emergency.  NO.  It has to be used!  Most of these units, this is a Goal Zero, use old fashioned Lead Acid batteries and they only hold a charge for so long.  Have seen only one unit, so far, that  is the newer Lithium batteries – you know the ones, that catch fire and blow up!  And with the Lead Acid batteries, if you can, keep the charge on it while you are using it!  Ideally, you won’t drain it that way, and it will be a steady source of power.  On cloudy / still days though, you might drain it and then have to wait for it to recharge to start the cycle again.  The particular unit I bought, Yeti 150, is also too small for some of what I’d like to use it for. Maximum draw is 80W, so my 150W water pump is a no go. It will power a DVD player, but would like to be able to use it to pump water from the creek into containers (bringing it all home on my electric tricycle!), as well as to use it to recharge the battery on that electric tryke!  Again, know your tools.  Wasn’t paying total attention when I bought it and neither were the sellers, all of us thinking that Yeti 150 meant 150W, not 80!  Need to upgrade to the Yeti 400 to get that 150W!!

And it can be fun learning to use your solar cooker and/or rocket stove. The solar cooker can be used to reheat something, like a slow cooker for making rice.  The rocket stove for boiling up stuff without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer’s day.  Make it an adventure while learning something new.  Solar cookers even get hot enough to purify water!

Barter will be an important part of any SHTF scenario, whether someone asking for some water while stuck in that huge blizzard highway mess, someone needing some food or candles while the power is out in the neighborhood for 2 weeks, or people with nothing while the entire city is in quarantine during a flu outbreak.

Can I take a shower at your house if I bring over some canned tomatoes or some eggs? Oh yeah, never mind that, have a little pop up shower cabana and a solar hot water bag to make my own shower.  Put a tub at my feet and I can recycle that water.  So can I come over and do my wash if I bring those canned tomatoes, some eggs, and 2 pints of canned beef?

Prepping is also expensive, even if you are not buying solar panels, and technological upgrades, tons of books, etc.. For some, just being able to put away a few cans of veggies and a couple of bucks is hard.  And though the prices have come down, here is an example of costs: Just purchased a 100W ‘flexible’ solar panel for a little under $200.  A rigid one was a bit over $100.  While a highly portable, folding one was $500.  Not too long ago, the basic rigid panel would have been close to $500!! The flexible one, though more expensive, has good reviews and the nature of the material made it lighter than the rigid one and that makes a difference for me.  The portable one would have been even easier to use, but the $300 difference just put that out of the picture.  Also know from experience with a smaller folding unit I own, that any dirt on the surface, once folded, they scratch each other.  Something else I recently found out, how much power you lose through the wiring!  You want the shortest possible wiring from your panel to your storage device.  That can make a difference in how many panels you get, where they are mounted and where your batteries are.  You might need two or three extra panels to make up for the power loss through the cables.

And now you know why my brain shuts off when all this stuff gets thrown around!

Personally, we’re doing okay. We still don’t have enough money put away for a “comfortable” retirement, if the S does not HTF!  Nor do I have enough supplies if it does.  Although, we can probably hit our stores to help instead of withdrawing money we don’t have.   And instead of saving money, am putting it into those cans of veggies, canning jars and lids, and other supplies.   The food will always be useful, like when I’m too old to make the trip to the supermarket! But there are always things we are buying that we really don’t use, don’t even need, on a regular basis.  These things just sit. That’s why I was so charged about getting my mangle (wringer) for $7.99 instead of $140!

But back when we were skimping along, always had extra cans of veggies on the shelf. Watch for sales.  Periodically there are sales on canned goods.  Look at that in the same way as making sure you are putting away a $5 bill every week (and do I wish I’d had that foresight back 40 years ago!) and buy 4 cans this week and 4 cans next.  Shop in the thrift shops and garage sales.  My Presto Canner was $50 (and I know that could be expensive for some, but new they run between $75 and $125 depending on where you are looking) and while I invested in a new gasket, that was it for all the service it has given, and continues to give. Originally had purchased an American Canner, and that was nearly $200, and doesn’t hold as many small jars as my Presto (which is tall enough to double stack). Had a $15 bread maker that I used for YEARS!  Even found a Goal Zero solar panel at the thrift.  Brand new.  Its only enough to charge my kindle or phone, or my super flashlight, but that keeps them working without tapping into my Yeti, so it can be doing something else.  I’ve learned to knit and sew, which lets me take advantage of deals on fabric and yarn at the thrifts or garage sales.  Sewing lets you make alterations.  We live way beyond our means thanks to the thrifts!!

Buy online in bulk when you can. I can buy a “case” of Bob’s Red Mill coarse Corn Polenta/Grits (4 bags) for the price of 2 from our local health food store, WHEN they have it. Dry can a few pounds of beans for storage, or buy that 2 lb bag for the same price as a couple of 15oz cans, cook it and can up 8 or more pint (16oz) jars, seasoned as you want, or not if you prefer. **As I write this, have just cooked up a pound of white beans, cost $1.69, in the slow cooker with some bacon and left over pork plus onions, garlic and other seasonings. 4 pints of that are now being dried for compact storage, vs canned.  There was a 5th pint which I just put in the fridge for use in the next day or two.  That’s vs. $1.39 sale price for ONE 15oz can of the same.  

Buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself for a big $$ savings! Buy a roast and cut steaks, grind out your own hamburger.  Buy fruit in quantity in season when it’s cheapest and preserve it.  Dry apples and strawberries for a nice snack later.  Can or freeze fruit.  Cherries, are probably the most expensive fruit we see, and in season that $5.99/lb can drop to $2.99 or less.  Yes, its work to stand and pull off the stem and cut out the seed.  But that investment can give you cherries on your shelf for months.  Can the fruit, or dry it.  Slowly, you will start to see the shift in your grocery bill.

** a note: Supermarket had roasts on sale for $2.99/lb. Choice of Bottom Round, Sirloin, or cross cut (or whatever that weird cut is called) Cheaper than the stew meat. Cheaper than the cheapest ground beef. So I bought three.  One will get frozen as is. One will be ground up to be hamburger and one will be cut up to be stew beef.  OR  may cut up and can that third one.

Buy your next pair of shoes at the thrift and use the difference to buy something for your larder. Once you start getting into thrifty buying, you will find yourself often getting twice the quantity for the usual shopping dollars.  Like everything else, it requires a strict budget.  And if something happens, something ordinary and every day, like losing a job, or illness, you will have something to fall back on to keep your family fed, and maybe even find yourself with a new skill that you can share.

Watch your thrift stores for “sale” days. Yes, even the thrifts have them.  Of course, some thrifts are better than others. Some sell clothing by the pound, others by the item.  My Goodwill has senior Wednesday when everything is 25% off for seniors.  Every week, one of their “color tags” is 25% off. On Sunday, that color tag is $1!  On that dollar day buy extra towels, quilts, blankets, sheets.  Towels, quilts and blankets can be used to cover windows to seal out drafts, wrap a hot pot to make it a slow cooker or yogurt maker,  cover over veggies to protect them from the heat or cold, throw in the car for putting on the ground in case you have to change a tire. A blanket or quilt can be made into a jacket or coat!  Sheets can be used to make curtains, or a simple shift or nightgown depending on the quality.  Even in good times, you’ll find use for those things.

Can’t afford books? Lots of free stuff on line.  Print it out, or write it out. Download PDF’s onto your smart phone if you have one.   Borrow magazines or get them from the library for more info.  Free on line groups to help you share info, low cost workshops abound that will bring you home a new skill.  Lots of Prepper blogs, like this one.  I highly recommend Backwoods Home magazine, Countryside and Small stock journal (although it’s moving into the Mother Earth News direction – more popular culture.  It’s still a useful magazine if you will be planning on keeping real livestock), and lately have discovered American Survival Guide.  It is an EXPENSIVE magazine, but liked the real content of its articles.

Last two issues, there was a good article on what to carry in your car for winter emergencies. Another on making your own high protein, high fat, emergency winter food for those same emergencies (like trail mixes, food bars), or for carrying with you when doing outdoor stuff. Both issues had articles on field (HAM) radios. Good article on making oil lamps, your own wicks, candles.  They don’t seem to be always pushing high end stuff or the latest gadget and gizmo.  Articles about guns and knives, but they don’t seem to dominate the content – even if they do dominate the ads!

Don’t get fooled by the latest craze among companies catering to the prepper and survivalist; the monthly grab bag, unless you have money to burn. You will find yourself spending from $25 + for a box of “stuff” that will end up being exactly that, STUFF.  After a year you’ll have between 12-20 different fire starters, a few whistles, a compass or two, maybe a knife and a package of some fancy bandaids!

And that is something else to watch for. Prepping and Survivalism are becoming BIG BUSINESS.  It brings some innovation, but it also brings lots of useless, made in China, trash.  Just another scam from someone looking to make a buck off your fears.

Oh yeah, and an awful lot of Prepping information is geared to the men. There are more and more female bloggers, shooters, and the like speaking up. But the gear, the magazines, the forums, are aimed to men.  Women have a more practical bent.  An example, can openers.  Men keep touting the old army little metal thingy that’s only a step above using your knife to open a can.  Have one of those in your emergency pack is okay, but there is nothing to stop you from at least grabbing a wheel opener (top or side) and keeping several at home, in your bug out spot, in your bug out bag.  The old army opener was great for ripping open knuckles and fingers.  It requires a certain amount of strength to puncture the can lid and keep the leverage going. The woman will look at that thing and whip out her old stand by kitchen can opener and be done with the job while the guy is still hammering the point into the top of the can!

Yes, guys, its small, its light weight, and won’t take up a lot of room in your bug out bag. And of course, you are carrying CANS in that bug out bag, right?  Of course not.  So keep a regular can opener with your canned goods and don’t ask your lady to rip up her hands using that thing!

The woman is thinking about things like sheets and towels (she better have that sheet on hand so she can whip up a few bandages for her guy after he’s sliced open a finger with that army can opener!). She’s the one debating things like rags vs paper towels – where will you wash the rag? Where will you throw the paper towel away?  Oh yeah, you can burn that paper towel as fire starter or just burn it “away”.

Even saw men’s jeans treated with Silver to be a Faraday cage to protect electronics in the guy’s pocket. But have they made a similar purse or jeans to protect the woman’s electronics? No!

Also addressing to women: have seen on line instructions for making basic women’s underwear from old tee-shirts, as well as making sanitary supplies from old shirts and towels. Before you start making UGH faces on either of those,  think of it as practice and saving money!  I personally used homemade sanitary products for the last 10 years or so of my cycle.  It was a relief not to have to worry about buying and disposing of same!  PLUS saved a whole bunch of $$$$ that was then available to spend on other things.  And the soak water was recyclable as plant food!  If someone in your family is making the icky faces, you can remind them that they can stock up on product, but when they run out, they can resort to the time old methods of shredded bark and moss!  BUT, don’t forget those pads are some of the best for patching up a bad bleeding wound.  So do keep some on hand!

Another $$ saver, making your own cotton rounds for removing makeup, etc. SHTF, you won’t be able to buy them.  Looking to limit your “footprint” by reducing your contribution to landfill? Make them.  Because in the meantime, you are working, you are dating, you are wearing make up, you are going on with your life.  Saw an article about making them using old flannel from shirts or sheets.  Cut the rounds, sew them.  For me?  I’m crocheting my rounds out of heavy cotton string then hot washing them to shrink them tight and soften them up.  Either way, reduce, reuse, recycle!

For all this information, and more, ask around. Find your food Co-ops.  Find blogs and Facebook groups.   There is (or was) a great canning group on Yahoo groups.  They were Mormon women.  Now Mormons are tasked with maintaining a year’s worth of supplies at all times.  So who better to ask questions about what and how?  Some places have Mormon centers where you can rent their real canning equipment – yes real #10 cans.  Lurk and gather information.  Determine who is helpful and who is full of S**T.  Who would you pick as friends?  Then, ask questions, ask for help, and it will come as we all know the more we share with you now, the less we’ll have to share when the SHTF!