Notes for Saturday – November 22, 2014

Today is remembered as the birthday of the late Eugene M. Stoner. (Born 1922, died April 24, 1997.) He was the designer of the AR-7, AR-10, AR-15, AR-180, the Stoner 63, and several other firearms. (The AR-10 was the basis of the AR-15 which in turn spawned the very widely used M16 and all of its variants including the M4 Carbine). It has been estimated that as many as 3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family are owned by civilians in the United States, and military production M16 vatiants well exceeds 8 million rifles.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Survival Information Binder, by C.L.

Introduction

I am assuming that, since you are reading this, you are either prepared for the uncertain future we face, in the process of preparing, or curious about the subject of the preparedness lifestyle. You may have supplies on hand or have a support group of like-minded people to help when TEOTWAWKI occurs. You may have thought about possible scenarios that could occur and what you will do when they do happen. Do you have a backup plan? Do you have a second backup plan? Did you train others to do your job or jobs? Does everyone know how to do everything necessary to survive? I doubt that you could answer “yes” to all of these questions. So, what can you do to help your entire family or group survive?

I have done my best to see that everyone in my group is trained, but I know that individually, we still do not know everything needed to survive. I have compiled a small library of resources to help. This includes one resource, which I have compiled on my own. It is a binder with things we may need to know when TEOTWAWKI occurs. I want to share this process with you so that you may do the same.

What Is This Survival Information Binder?

My Survival Information Binder is an ongoing, ever-changing volume of information I have compiled. It contains material from a wide variety of sources on an even wider variety of subjects. The one thing they have in common is survival. I have printed resource pages from the Internet that give details about specific skills or tasks, and I have included my own personally-created materials. Some of these are things that some members of my group already know how to do, such as planting corn. Others are things that we have the skills to complete but need information about how to do it, such as building a windmill. Some of the subjects may seem quite simple, but we may need reminders of the steps needed when in a stressful situation. I do not want to think about it, but it might be necessary for younger members to survive without the older adults, who currently help to care for them. My hope is that this binder will give them the information they may need to live.

I have listed some of the topics covered and questions answered in my binder. I realize that some of the areas may seem vague. That was completely intentional. I do not feel it is wise to reveal everything about the extent of one’s survival plans. I am sure you understand.

How Do I Get Started?

If you choose to make a “Survival Information Binder,” how do you begin the process? I would begin by looking at what you already know. Write those things down, or print the information from the source where you found it. Be sure to not violate any copyright laws. Be detailed in your information. Never assume that others know to what you are referring. You never know who in your group will be doing the task. I would also include any measurements and drawings or diagrams that could help those individuals who are visual. Have someone who knows the skill about which you are writing proofread your data. Something as simple as “never,” “always,” “not,” or “do” in the wrong place, or a misplaced decimal point could have disastrous outcomes.

You could also take notes from this article, survivalist blogs, or Internet sites. I by no means think I have all of the answers, and neither does anyone worth their salt. What works for me may not work for you. I have made my plans for my specific needs, in my specific environments, to be used with my specific resources. Your Survival Binder will need to be tailored to meet your needs. Beware of anyone arrogant enough who feels they have all of the answers. This person probably has what I refer to as “prepper tunnel vision”. They are unwilling to learn from others. Even “baby survivalists” can teach us a thing or two.

Another thing I have found useful is reading survivalist fiction. Take notes as you read. Put yourself in the scenarios of the characters, and note the supplies and skills you would need in order to survive. I did this recently. In fact, this is what motivated me to make my binder. While reading Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles, one of the characters was making and selling soap. This triggered the thought that my stockpile of soap would eventually run out, and I needed to know how to make more. I made soap once with my grandmother when I was a teenager, but I do not remember all of the specifics on making it. I decided I needed to print out the directions on soap making. As I was looking over the list of ingredients, I noticed that lye is needed for all soaps. So, I also included a detailed description on how to make lye. I hope I never need to do this, but you never know what may happen. This was the beginning of my “Survival Information Binder”.

On a side note, I would highly recommend reading Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles. There are other good books, but this one is extremely informative. You will probably discover things that you had not thought about and skills that you need to know. The previous soap-making example is only one of the things I had failed to plan for and was listed in this book. Remember, you may have a huge stockpile, but what will you do when that is gone?

What Areas Of Information May Need To Be Included?

I put some thought in the areas in which I need to include information. I looked at my life now and included those main topics. Then I thought about the scenarios I had read about in survivalist fiction, and I included those also. I have information on the following main topics.

  • Water
  • Food
  • Protection From The Elements (This includes security and protection.)
  • Healthcare
  • Sanitation
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Bartering
  • Emotional Well-being

My binder is divided into these main topics and contains subtopics in each area. Some of these areas have their own separate binders and even reference books on the subject. For instance, I have books on gardening, first aid, herbs and natural healing, repair manuals for our specific vehicles, and books to assist with security. I also keep the owners manuals for any of the items I have. A large, plastic, *****AMAZON?****accordion folder is a good place to store these. You may want to include the manuals for your generator, heaters, firearms, ammunition reloaders, water filters, et cetera. I am constantly on the lookout for any reference materials that may be helpful. I am currently looking for a booklet identifying edible and healing plants native to my area and good books for raising and caring for the animals we have and those I plan on adding next spring.

What Information Could Be Included In Each Subject Area?

Now we can look at each of the main topics for information that I have included and could be included as subtopics in your Survival Information Binder. Remember, this is by no means a complete list, and the information you include will need to be specific to your needs. Due to the nature of being a survivalist or a prepper, I am also going to be deliberately vague in some areas. I am doing this for my own protection and for the protection of my family and friends. I am sure you can understand.

Water

Water is a necessity. Consider the following. You must stay hydrated. How many people are in your group? How much water will each person need to drink? How much water will you need per day to supply your group’s needs? How much water will be needed for sanitation?

  • Water sources: You may not be able to turn on the faucet and get water. What will you do then? Include information on;

    • Ways to get water from a natural spring.
    • How to build a windmill to pump water.
    • A list of plants that are good sources of water.
  • Ways to purify water: The water you get may not be potable. How will you purify it?
    • Boiling. How will you do this? How long will it need to be boiled?
    • Chlorine. How much is needed to purify water?
    • Distilling. How do I distill water? Include information on making a simple distillery. You may want to have the supplies on hand for this task.
    • Iodine. How much per gallon? Does anyone in your group have an iodine allergy? If so, that person cannot drink water purified with iodine. You must have an alternate form of purification.
    • Filtering. What filters do I have available? How do I use them? How much water can I filter before they need to be replaced? How do I backwash them? How do I replace the filter?

Food

You must provide sustenance for your group. The food you have stockpiled needs to be nutritious. In addition, it must be something that will be eaten by members of the group. Consider the likes and dislikes of your group as you prepare. Also consider any allergies your members may have. Two members of my group have life-threatening food allergies. When we store foods, we are careful to keep these allergens away from other foods.

What will you do when you have depleted your stockpiled foods? What do you want to supplement the nonperishables you have? Do you know how to make simple main dishes, sides, breads, and pasta? Do you know how to make some of those fun and special treats that lift our spirits?

  • Gardening:

    • How do I plant the heirloom seeds I have stored?
    • What are some natural ways to deter pests?
    • Is there a practical way to irrigate my garden?
    • How do I preserve my crops? Will I can, freeze, or dehydrate?
    • How do I do these?
    • How do I dry herbs for cooking and for medicinal purposes?

I have separate books for gardening. I felt this was too much information to be included in my Survival Information Binder. The only gardening information I have in it is that which is not covered in the gardening books.

  • Livestock and Animals:

    • How do I raise chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits, and swine?
    • What does my livestock eat? What information do I need to breed these animals?
    • What common illnesses or injuries does my livestock get, and how do I care for them?
    • How do I slaughter the animal, and how do I process the meat?
    • Do you know how to sharpen your knives?
    • How do I render lard? (Lard has many uses including cooking and as an ingredient for soap.)
    • How do I tan the animal hides?
    • Will I smoke, salt, dehydrate, freeze, or can the meat?
    • How do I make sure the eggs and milk are safe to consume?
    • How do I make cheese or butter?
    • Do you know how to raise bees?
    • Do you know how to make an efficient harvest of an animal when hunting and fishing?
    • Do you know how to safely dress and preserve the wild animals you have harvested?
  • Recipes, Cooking, and Baking:
    • Do you know how to make yeast breads, biscuits, and quick breads?
    • Do you know how to make pasta?
    • Can you make a cake or cookies from scratch?
    • Do you know how to make piecrust?
    • Do you know how to make cider vinegar?
    • Can you make pectin?
    • Do you have a good recipe for energy bars?
    • How do I cook outdoors?
    • How do I make and use an outdoor oven?

I am getting goats and honeybees next spring. Since I have no experience with either, I will get a book to help me with their care. I also have a camping cookbook. It contains simple recipes, and was a nice addition to my library.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: I have information listing the “shelf life” of the foods I have stored, and how I can identify when the food is no longer safe to consume.

Protection From The Elements

I have included all forms of protection in this section.

  • Shelter:

    • Heating and cooling

      • How do I build a fire?
      • How do I use and maintain my generator?
      • How do I use and maintain my kerosene heater?
      • How do I make simple repairs on my home and furnishings? (You may want a book for this.)
      • How do I repair a tent?
      • How do I build a simple shelter?
    • How do I use and maintain my oil and kerosene lamps?
    • How do I make candles?
  • Clothing:
    • How do I repair shoes, boots, and socks? Don’t forget to have extra shoes and boots, and anti-blister socks. You may be doing a lot of walking.
    • How do I make moccasins? (I just added this information. Thank you, James Wesley, Rawles. It had not occurred to me to add this.)
    • Can you sew, knit, or crochet? You may want a few patterns to help. Remember your clothes will wear out, and children grow.
  • Security: You need to decide what information to include here. Once again, please consult Patriots and popular blogs to assist you with this.
    • What do you need to know?
    • What might you need to make or build?
    • How will you maintain your security supplies?
    • The ability to coordinate security with other like-minded groups would be helpful.

    Please excuse my vagueness. I am sure you understand my reasons.

Healthcare

This is one area where a book or books will probably be necessary. I have books on basic and extended first aid; natural remedies; and booklets on asthma, which a few members of my group have. Remember, having a medical professional is best, but you may not have that luxury.

  • How do I make a homemade electrolyte drink?
  • Which foods and herbs have medicinal properties, and how do I use them?
  • What vitamins and supplements have healing properties? How do I use essential oils?
  • How do I recognize different types of infections, and which antibiotics cure them?
  • How can I heal infections without antibiotics? How do I care for a wound?
  • How do I stitch up a laceration? Can you diagnose common ailments?
  • Can you make a splint? What blood type does each individual in your group have?
  • Which blood types are compatible with which types? You hope you never need this, but you may. Be prepared. Minutes count.

Sanitation

Many illnesses are a result of poor sanitation. Make sure you are not a victim of this.

  • What will you do if your indoor plumbing is not functioning?
  • Can you build an outhouse, composting toilet, or other alternative?
  • Do you know how to make soap for dishes, laundry, and personal hygiene?
  • Do you know how to obtain the ingredients for your soap? Can you make lye?
  • Do you know how to render lard? How will you wash your clothes?
  • Do you know how to clean without store-bought cleaning products?
  • Do you know how to make homemade baby wipes?
  • Do you know how to make cloth diapers for any infants?

Communication

Communication will be crucial when TEOTWAWKI occurs. Once again I will be vague.

  • Keep written information on how to maintain and repair your communication equipment.
  • The ability to coordinate communications with other like-minded groups would be beneficial.

Transportation

It is important that we are able to quickly and efficiently move from one location to another. You may need to go on foot, by horse, or in a vehicle. Can you maintain and repair all of your vehicles?

  • This includes everything from changing a tire to engine repair.
  • How do you get fuel, and how is it best preserved?
  • Do you know how to care for your horses or other transportation animals?
  • How do you look for signs of a problem?
  • Do you know how to shoe your horse, or care for the hooves?

I have manuals for the maintenance and repair of all of my vehicles.

Bartering

Although it is not how-to information, I keep an ongoing list of items I have which may be used for bartering purposes.

Emotional Well-Being

The stresses of life can be difficult in the best of times. When TEOTWAWKI happens, we need to pay special attention to our own emotional health and the emotional health of our group members. This will be different for each person and group. Here is the list of supplies I have included in the “I’m Bummed” section of my binder to assist with cheering us up.

  • A pocket-sized Bible (This is also part of our BOBs.)
  • Inspirational books
  • Books for entertainment and enjoyment
  • Movies
  • CDs
  • Board games and card games

    You could list all of the books, movies, CDs, and games you have. I have not chosen to do this. I have each of these in their own place, so we always know where to find them.

  • I have a list of fun, old-fashioned games, and the directions for them.
  • I included recipes for some special treat foods that may be mood-boosters. These include easy, eggless cakes, cobblers, and cookies; and few-ingredients candies and icings.

Conclusion

Review your binder often, and laminate any documents that may need to be protected from the elements. (Will they get wet, bloody, or greasy? If so, laminate them or put them in plastic sheet protectors.) I try to think of how my grandparents and great-grandparents lived, (think Laura Ingalls and the Waltons and throw in a little Walking Dead for TEOTWAWKI good measure) then include this information in my Survival Information Binder. Every week I find more information that I need to add. By spending just a few minutes every few days on the Internet, I discover a new topic or skill that I feel is necessary to add. Sometimes I find a better resource for things I have already included. For instance, sometimes I find a better diagram that I include with the topic I already have covered.

Have someone who is unfamiliar with the task, read the information you have written. This person can tell you if you are being too vague or confusing. If so, make revisions. Do not argue with them. What is obvious to you was not obvious to them, and so it may not be to others either. Remember, you want the information to be simple enough to follow during a very stress-filled time. Do not let your ego get in the way of the survival of your loved ones.

Basically, your Survival Information Binder (or binders) has all of your how-to information in one easy-to-get-to place. Label and organize it in a way that is useful to you and your group members. You might even assign each member of your group to make his or her own section of information to include. I hope this article will inspire you to write down your information, and organize it in one convenient place. Have fun and make it your own, personal resource. May God bless you as you prepared for our unknown future.

Letter: Solar Sidewalk Lights

Hugh,

Preppers encourage others to buy several Aladdin lanterns, along with mantels, fuel, and more for the collapse. I think that is now old technology. It would be better to get a number of the solar lights people use along their sidewalks. Just over the last year or so, the technology has substantially improved, with lithium batteries, et cetera. They will last forever. In the great collapse, put them outside to collect solar power (making sure no one steals them), and then bring them in at night for light by which to read a good book! Incidentally, they will make good barter items. Preppers encourage others to collect 22 LRs, TP, and lots of other things, but I think these solar lights would make the best barter item of all. God bless and keep up the good work. – Chap

Economics and Investing:

$4.15 Per Pound: Ground Beef Climbs to Another Record High. – G.G.

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Multiemployer Program Posts Record Deficit, Single-Employer Shortfall Shrinks, PBGC Says. – G.G.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Deformations On The Dealer Lots: How The Fed’s ZIRP Is Fueling The Next Subprime Bust

David Stockman: Take Cover Now – They Don’t Ring A Bell At The Top

Part-Time Jobs Putting Millions in Poverty or Close To It

Odds ‘n Sods:

The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes. – T.P.

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This is how preppers are treated in Germany. This guy built his basement as a safe bunker for his family, including food, air and water filtration, and other stuff. Some neighbor told the police (OPSEC!) and destroyed everything, because he stocked up on ammo. That’s not allowed there. He had no license. The site is in German, but you can use Google Translate to read it. – CDV

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New DHS immigration rules: Drunk drivers, sex abusers, drug dealers, gun offenders not top deportation priorities. – P.M.

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Intel boss’ warning on cyber attacks no joke, say experts. – M.H.

o o o

When Guns are Outlawed, they go after Knives. – T.P.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“And they said, We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the Lord.” Genesis 26:28&29 (KJV)

Notes for Friday – November 21, 2014

We are coming up on the end of Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. Get your submission in soon!

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Four Exercises To Stay In Shape While Holed Up, by Zac T.

As a brief introduction about me, aside from being an MPH student, I am an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. When I am not correcting peoples’ form and working in cardiac rehab, I spend my spare time backpacking, lifting weights, and reading economics books.

Let’s say that you were a prepper. I say “were” because, for the point of this article, The Big Event has already happened, and now you’re not so much prepping as you are surviving. You stockpiled food, medicine, water, and ammunition. You read all the books. You built a secret retreat. Now there’s not much for you to do but to wait the whole thing out.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to do all of this sitting out while stuck between the same ol’ four walls for yet another day, and slowly, day by day, as your activity levels drop to a bare minimum while you’re cooped up, you begin to grow weaker. You begin to grow slower, and your energy levels begin to plummet as well.

Before The BIG Event, you were in reasonably good shape. You could run a few miles with no problem and spent a couple of evenings per week at the gym. However, during this survival situation, going to the gym is out of the question.

Sure, for the beginning of any survival scenario, you’re probably not going to be worried about your level of conditioning too much. You’re gonna focus on surviving. However, if this scenario begins to stretch out for any extended period of time, maintaining a high level of physical fitness suddenly becomes a much bigger issue. So, what can you do when you’re stuck in the same one-story cabin for who knows how long?

The Exercises

Well, here are four exercises that can be done with minimal space, next to no equipment, and that will strengthen your entire body:

  1. Push-ups

    Did I really even need to say this one? It’s probably the first one that came to mind for most of you. This is for good reason though. Push-ups are one of the best body-weight exercises out there.

    By doing these, we’re not only targeting our chest, we’re also hitting the triceps, anterior shoulder, core, and spinal erectors as well. Good ol’ push-ups will not only help to build up your upper body strength (which tends to be the first thing that people lose over time), but they also do an excellent job of strengthening the core.

    Why is this important?

    If you want to be able to push a car, throw a wicked right hook, or shut a door closed on an intruder, you’re going to need a strong chest and powerful triceps.

    What if you can’t do a normal push-up?

    That’s no problem. Every exercise out there can be adjusted for intensity. If a normal push-up is too tough, start off by doing push-ups off of a wall. As you progress, start at the bottom of a stairwell and do push-ups off of the third or fourth step, or which ever step is comfortable.

    Eventually, you’ll get strong enough to do normal push-ups.

    Are knee push-ups an option? Absolutely. You could do them, but just be aware that you have to keep a straight line from your shoulders to your knees if you want to target the right muscles. Don’t point your butt toward the ceiling or get into a cobra-about-to-strike looking posture; none of that stuff is helpful.

    Your body needs to come up as a unit. If you’re having trouble with this, I highly recommend just starting off with some wall push-ups and slowly progressing yourself.

  2. Dead Bugs

    Where did the name “dead bugs” come from? Well, it is named that because, for this exercise, you’re going to start off laying on your back on the floor with all fours in the air. It’s gonna look like you were giving a horsey-back ride to your kid when you suddenly froze, got turned over on your back, and then got stuck like that.

    From this position, you’re going to SLOWLY lower your left arm and RIGHT leg until they are parallel to the floor. Raise them back up to starting position, and then repeat the process for the opposite arm and leg.

    Lastly, you’re going to want to focus on keeping your lower back pushed into the floor throughout the movement on this one as well. This drastically increases the number of muscle fibers recruited through the core. Your back is going to want to arch so that it can cheat. Don’t let it.

    Why do I recommend dead bugs?

    Did you know that your core musculature tightens up before you ever even begin to do a bicep curl? Did you know that doing a pull-up requires massive amounts of core strength? Guess what you need to chop wood, carry heavy stuff, or throw a rock.

    Yep. You guessed it– a strong core.

    The core is literally the foundation to just about every movement you can possibly make. Without a strong one, your movements are going to be weak and inefficient.

    On top of this, the core muscles also play a vital part in the protection of the spine. Take a moment to imagine what it would be like attempting to survive by yourself with a tweaked-out back.

    It stinks, doesn’t it?

    And that’s yet another reason that a strong core is essential to survival.

    Therefore, I recommend dead bugs. They’re a fantastic core-conditioning exercise that you’re going to predominantly feel in your abs.

    Don’t be fooled by how silly these things sound or look. They can be pretty brutal when done properly.

  3. Bodyweight squats

    You never know how much you use something, until you hurt it.

    If you’ve ever twisted your knee, you know what I mean. All of a sudden you come face to face with the reality that you use your legs WAY more than you thought you did.

    Need to run away from a mob/angry creature/bad guy? You need your legs. Need to stand at the stove to cook a meal? You need your legs. Need to haul heavy equipment, push a car, jump to safety, and much, much more? You need your legs.

    So, why not build them to be strong? Stronger legs mean that you can run faster, jump farther, hike longer, and carry heavier loads. In a survival situation, this could mean your life!

    How can we work out the entire musculature of the legs, targeting our quads, hammies, and glutes? The answer is bodyweight squats.

    All you’ve got to do for this one is to sit down on an imaginary toilet, and then shoot right back up, as if the seat was cold!

    Things you’re going to want to keep in mind on this one are to keep your back flat throughout the movement, slightly point your toes out, and put your feet just outside of your shoulders. I cross my arms, too. No cheating with your hands!

    Sounds easy enough, right?

    Hit 15+ reps, and then let me know how you feel.

  4. Let-me-ins

    You’re going to need a door or a post that’s not going to move, for this one.

    Let’s say you chose the door. You’re going to place your feet so that you’re straddling the door on both sides, with your feet just a little beyond the door knobs.

    Each hand is now going to grab onto one of the door knobs. From here, you’re going to sit down on that imaginary toilet again, using your legs to support your weight.

    While keeping a firm grip on the door knobs, straighten out your arms so that you are now kind of hanging there by your hands. Now, pull yourself back to the door.

    Once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s going to feel a bit like you’re a pole dancer, but this is going to be one of the best back and arm exercises that you can do with little to no equipment.

    Too easy?

    If this is the case, just know that the closer you can slide your feet to the hinges, the harder these are going to be. Just make sure to maintain the squat pose while doing this one.

    Why let-me-ins?

    Let-me-ins target the lats (the V-shape of your back), your biceps, posterior shoulder, and really blast your grip as well. Pulling is one of the six basic human movements, and you’re going to need to have these muscles well conditioned if you intend to survive.

    Without strong lats and grip, you’re going to have a hard time hanging anything by a rope, climbing a tree, or pulling your wife up from a cliff for that matter.

    Seriously, if you got the chance to do that, she’d think you were the bomb-diggedy.

The Workout

Okay, I’ve got the exercises. Now how should I make my workout?

Ahh, I thought you’d never ask.

Here are the two options I would suggest.

  • Create a circuit workout, or
  • Finish all of your sets for one exercise before moving to the next

Personally, I like circuit workouts the best, and they would be the best option for staying in good shape.

To do a circuit workout, do one set of push-ups, and then do one set of bodyweight squats. Rest 60 seconds, and then repeat the process. Rest another 60 seconds, and then do a set of dead bugs, followed by a set of let-me-ins. Rest another 60 seconds, and then do another set of dead bugs, and let-me-ins.

You get the picture.

If this is too hard or too easy of a workout for you, there are always ways to adjust the intensity. Change the number of repetitions you do, increase the intensity of the exercise, or add another round to your circuit.

Here’s the workout I would do:

Circuit A: Push-ups 1 x 30 Circuit A: Dead Bugs 1 x 5 Rest 60 seconds, and repeat two more times

Circuit B: Bodyweight squats 1 x 15 Circuit B: Let-me-ins 1 x 30 Rest 60 seconds, and repeat Circuit B two times

Things To Keep In Mind

With working out, there are a few basics you’re going to want to understand.

Rule #1: If it hurts, don’t do it.

This sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Exercise may make your muscles a tad tender, but if you end up with any kind of pain (there’s a difference), you need to find out what’s going on and switch things around.

Rule #2: Do what you can do.

Don’t go out there trying to impress people. That just leads to your getting hurt. Be wise with how you program your workout. If you can only do ten repetitions before your form starts to break down, then by all means, stick with ten reps.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are strong muscles. Take your time with this. It isn’t a race. Progressing slowly is the key to preventing injuries.

Rule #3: Rest.

When it comes to resistance training, I typically recommend resting a day between workouts. Give your muscles time to recover. This is when they become strong. Also, if you’re new to working out, don’t feel that you’ve got to do this workout four times a week.

This goes back to Rule #2: Do what you can do. Starting off, I’d say going through the workout two or three times per week is fine.

Rest in between sets as well. For this type of workout, I say 15 seconds between exercises while you’re in the middle of a circuit, and 60-90 seconds at the end of a circuit. However, once again, remember Rule #2.

In Conclusion

Staying in good physical condition is essential to surviving during a disaster scenario, especially if you’re going to be holed up for any length of time. With these four exercises, you’ll help to further guarantee that your body stays in peak shape while cooped up, plus you’ll further increase your chances of being able to pull somebody off a cliff, Dark Knight style, and you KNOW you wanna do that.

Letter Re: Christianity and Family Defense

Hello Mr. Latimer,

I have been engaged in a lot of discussions lately about gun rights, and I have noticed that many of my more liberal friends who still identify as Christian always bring up the “turn the other cheek” verse from Scripture to defend their anti-gun stance. Instinctively I know I have a moral obligation to defend my children against attackers with whatever force necessary, but I’d love to have cogent scriptural exegesis on this issue at my fingertips. Do you know of a good resource for me to study? I appreciate your help! – M.E.

Hugh Responds: Perhaps your friends need to spend some time reading their Bible more thoroughly :-)

The “turn the other cheek” is contained within what we term the “sermon on the mount”, which is one of five discourses that Christ gives within the book of Matthew. This particular discourse is directed towards believers/followers about our relationships to other believers/followers. Let me put it to you like this:

A person you fellowship with has lost his job. He has three kids and a wife. You have some work that needs to be done, so you hire him. After you pay him for the days work, you discover that he did a halfway job on it. The next day, do you fire him? Do you hire him again? Matthew 5 instructs us that we are to be kind to him. The appropriate action would be to hire him and spend more time with him on what your expectations are.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? Now try it with this story:

You are at home. A man breaks into your home, ties you up, and proceeds to rape your daughter in front of you, then leaves. A month later, the same man breaks into your home. Do you offer him your other daughter, or do you fight him with all that you are capable of? The appropriate answer is to fight him with all that you are capable of.

To misapply scripture taken out of context is the number one reason most of our churches today are apostate. Where do they think that our right to defend ourselves comes from? It is not the Constitution. In fact, the founders of our country established that when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (We’ll talk about the Happiness in a moment.) The right of self defense was so ingrained in their thought, they never believed that the government they set up would ever challenge that. The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) was an afterthought that had to be added because some believed that the government would indeed cause issues if it wasn’t constrained. Notice that the second amendment does not grant, give, or even outline the right of self defense. It simply places constraints upon the government to keep them from limiting your ability in that regard. If the government does not grant you the right and the Constitution does not grant you the right, where does it come from? It is given to us by God.

1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

That provision includes food, shelter, and protection.

Now, let’s look at another concept– fairness vs righteousness. When a man fights another man, we tend to think that it should be a “fair” fight. If it’s a fist fight, there should be no knives. If it’s a knife fight, there should be no guns, and so forth. However, that is not how God looks at it. We should not fight unless the cause is righteous. Righteousness is the standard that God and godly men use to determine if we should even be involved in a fight. In the example given above, it is clear that you would be righteous in your protection of your daughter. It does not matter if the attacker is only using his hands. You will use the most powerful method at your disposal to end the fight as quickly as possible in your favor. Today, that usually includes some type of firearm. Your anger towards the attacker is righteous anger, and there is no weapon that should be off limits at that point. Your number one priority is to protect your daughter, and you will hurt, maim, and kill to obtain that righteous result.

Does not God demonstrate throughout the Bible that he reserves the right to hurt and destroy those who would hurt and destroy what belongs to Him? Was it fair when the earth opened up and swallowed them whole, or when pestilence took the lives of tens of thousands who opposed him? That is why we have that right. It is given to us by our Creator.

Psalms 144:1 “Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight”

Luke 22:36 “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

Why did Jesus tell his disciples to buy the modern assault weapon of the time? It was because He knew they were in for a rough time and that they had the right to defend their lives and their families! Notice that Peter apparently even carried an assault weapon all the time.

It is important to remember that the right to use violence and aggression is not for vengeance, not for pleasure, and not for personal gain. That right is reserved for the protection of ourselves and those that cannot protect themselves. If we do not protect those that depend upon us, we are cursed:

Revelations 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Those that are too afraid to do what is righteous and right have a special place reserved for them in hell.

On Happiness (from The Declaration of Independence)- This is probably one of the most misunderstood phrases in that document. What makes you happy? Do you pursue food, drugs, women, cars, or other physical things? Do we have a right to hit someone, if it makes us happy? Of course not. To understand that phrase, you cannot apply twenty-first century thinking. You have to see it from their (the writers’) perspective. Happiness was not a description of a subjective emotional state. It meant prosperity or well-being in the broader sense. It included the right to meet physical needs, but it also included a significant moral and spiritual dimension. You can look to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (same time frame) that defines: “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality, and . . . these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality.” The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 also states “religion, morality, and knowledge” are “essential to the happiness of mankind.” That happiness includes the act of righteous moral outrage at affronts against our selves or those that we protect and the ability to use violence and aggression in their defense.

If you want to learn more about this concept, the first resource is, of course, the Bible. From the beginning to the end, it is filled with stories of God and God’s people righteously using aggression and violence to protect themselves and those who can’t protect themselves. It is also filled with stories of those who inappropriately used violence and aggression to further their own desires and the punishment that God reserves for such abuses. You may also want to read JWR’s treatise on self defense. A third source that I highly recommend is Monte Judah’s “Yavoh” magazine. In particular, see his article titled “The Right of Self Defense From the Point of View of a Believer“. Another source would be the article God and Guns: Your Biblical Right to Self Defense, by J.B. on SurvivalBlog.

Notes for Thursday – November 20, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I’ve Discovered I’m A Prepper, by H.H.

How did I get here? About a year ago, I was covered up with apples from my one, lonely apple tree in my back yard. (I have since planted another.) I ate some, gave some away, canned a lot of apple butter, but I still had about a bushel basket of apples left. Not wanting to waste them, I did an Internet search for ways to can the remaining apples and found some great information. I ended up canning applesauce and apple pie filling, too.

This Internet search for ways to can apples led me to many prepper and survivalist sites. Initially, I thought, “Okay. I believe in planning for the future, but that’s all that I have in common with THESE people.” I always thought that survivalists were those odd ducks or crazy people who stood on the streets with signs proclaiming the end is near and who lived in underground bunkers. I was wrong. It turns out these everyday Americans are just like me. We’re your friends, neighbors, church family, coworkers, et cetera. We are aware of what’s going on around us, and we don’t want to be caught in the panic of those who weren’t ready, or worse yet, thought the government would take care of us. (Can you say “Katrina”?)

Who am I? I am a middle-aged Christian wife, a mother of three adult children (two of whom are married), and a grandmother to two wonderful grandkids. I live in a rural area just outside a small, Midwest town, and I am a teacher at a small, rural school. I was raised on a farm, as was my husband. My husband and I were each in 4-H for over ten years. (That’s how we met.) My grandparents taught me many skills. They lived through the Depression and felt that there were things I should be able to do. They told me, “This may come in handy some day.” They were right.

I’m the lady who lives next door. I have flowers in my yard. I put lights on the front of my house and a nativity scene at Christmas. I ride my bike, kayak, and walk for exercise. My husband and I love to go camping. I’ve been told that I make fantastic cinnamon rolls and cheesecakes. I like to read, take photographs, eat ice cream, and laugh with my friends. I complain about the government and too many lazy people in the world. I’ve been told that I’m very organized. I’m a night owl, but my job requires me to report at 7:45 in the mornings. I love to eat homemade ice cream, and so I make it often. (Did I already say that?) See? I am the lady next door!

There’s nothing special about me. I am NOT a prepper or a survivalist! Am I? I mean I do believe in preparing for the future. I do believe in saving for a rainy day. I do believe in living a healthy lifestyle. After being cut off from neighboring towns during a flood several years ago, I began preparing even more than before. While others were panicking because the grocery stores and Walmart were flooded, I simply lived my life and ate the food I had in my home. So what have I done to prepare for TEOTWAWKI? I’ll tell you. I’ll also tell you what I want to do to be further prepared.

What skills do my family and I have? We can:

  • teach,
  • cook, bake, can, freeze, and dehydrate food,
  • safely and accurately shoot firearms,
  • grow our own vegetables and fruit,
  • raise livestock,
  • do electrical and mechanical work,
  • weld,
  • repair and maintain automobiles and engines,
  • do carpentry,
  • apply first aid,
  • provide dental care,
  • start a fire,
  • sew,
  • weave, and more.

What plans have I made for my family’s survival? Let me tell you about them:

  • Water- Like most of you, I have potable water stockpiled. I also have a pond and a natural spring on my property, plus a creek about a quarter mile from my home. I can purify water by boiling it or using chlorine bleach. I also have a filter that attaches to a five-gallon bucket, a filtered water bottle that was a lifesaver on a mission trip to a foreign country with an unsafe water supply, and a straw-type filter. In an off-grid situation, I can boil water in my camper, on the side burner of my grill, or on an open fire in the yard. In the future, I want to purchase an additional large water filter, preferably a Berkey and more filtered water bottles and straw filters. I want to order a water barrel that will not freeze in the winter months and enable me to stockpile even more water. I also want to purchase supplies to distill water.
  • Food/Cooking- I have a vegetable garden, two apple trees, asparagus plants, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. I know how to save my own vegetable and fruit seeds, and I have a supply of heirloom seeds, including those for medicinal herbs. I have food that I have canned or frozen that I have grown in my garden or purchased locally. I have a gas-powered generator to power my freezer during power outages and extra fuel with stabilizer added. I have purchased nonperishable food and am just getting started stockpiling dehydrated foods. My two freezers are almost full, including beef raised by the family who rents our pasture from us. They also have a packinghouse to process the livestock they raise. This is the best beef I’ve ever eaten and is much cheaper, and in my opinion, healthier than store-bought meat. It’s pasture-raised with no hormones. I got a few pullet chicks last spring and am now getting eggs enough to supply 15 people with all of the eggs they need. We hunt deer, turkey, dove, and squirrel. We also fish. We have all of the gear we need for hunting and fishing. When my husband and I remodeled our home last year, we got a gas range to cook when the power is out. It turns out that our range needs electricity to function. I was told that it did not. I can’t even light the burners with a match. In an off-grid situation, I can cook in my camper on my gas range (plus we have a generator to power our house), on a Coleman tabletop camping stove, in my gas smoker, with two gas fish fryers, or over an open fire. The fish fryers are great for canning in the summertime. This keeps the heat outside. For the future, I am continuing to buy a box of canning jars every week or two. Due to a hand injury at the beginning of last summer that stopped my gardening and canning for a few weeks, I do not have near enough home-canned food. Next year I will can more food, and I need more jars for this task. When I replace my 30-year-old freezer, I’m getting a gas-powered one, just like my Amish neighbors have. This would enable me to keep my frozen food safe in a long-term, off-grid situation. I do not have near enough food stored for my family and for sharing or bartering. I need more grains, dried beans, canned goods, and so forth. I’m also adding more chickens next spring, including a rooster so I can raise my own chicks. I will freeze and dehydrate any extra eggs. I will be adding dairy goats. My son’s girlfriend has both meat and dairy goats. She will help me with this. I also want to purchase a grinder for grains. I want to get a gas range that will function without electricity, or figure out how to bypass the feature that keeps our range from working without electricity.
  • Shelter- My home is in the country, outside the city limits of a town of approximately 10,000 people. I live about 150 miles from a city of more than 300,000 people, and 40 miles from a city of about 30,000 people. We also own 40 acres about 10 miles from our home. Our farm borders a national forest, and is “off the beaten path”. We have a pull-behind camper that comfortably sleeps eight. We always have the LP tanks full, but the white water tank can only be full when the outside temperature is above freezing. We have to winterize in late fall and can’t refill until spring. We have a few tents that are not all-season tents and the typical camping supplies. Many of my extended family live within 20 miles of my home. My grandparents’ farm is very secluded and now owned by a cousin. This would be a potential bug-out location. My future plans involve making my home more secure, especially the doors and windows. I also need to build a structure on our farm, so that we may use this as a secondary location. I need to keep supplies in the camper to make bugging out a quick process. I need to arrange with my cousin to have a secondary bug-out location on his farm, formerly owned by my grandparents.
  • Heating- My home is all electric. We have a gas-powered generator to power our back-up heat and electric baseboard heaters. We have extra fuel for the generator with stabilizer added. We also start the generator and make sure it runs well. -We have two kerosene heaters but very little kerosene stored. We have an old gas heater that could be set up, if needed. For the future, we need to have the supplies on hand to install the gas heater. We need more stored kerosene and a lot of firewood, with more trees available for cutting. We could install a woodstove, if needed. I would like an automatic, whole-home generator. This would enable me to be able to quickly power our home, without having to keep adding fuel to our portable generator.
  • Transportation- We keep our vehicles maintained and at or above one-half tank of fuel. Our son, who lives next door, has two, old, diesel vehicles. He has diesel stored at home. Our future plans include buying an enclosed trailer to haul supplies. We’ve been looking for several months and hope to find one soon. We need to get extra plugs, hoses, and other parts to keep the old clunkers running.
  • Health- I am in good health, exercise to maintain my health, and daily wear sunscreen, which is stockpiled in abundance because if we are working outside more we all will need it. I have a small amount of first aid supplies, over-the-counter medications, and natural remedies. We are all up to date on vaccinations. We do take prescriptions but no life-saving prescriptions. For the future, I plan to increase my stock of first aid and homeopathic supplies. I need to stockpile prescription medications and medical supplies. I need to begin talks with the doctor and nurses who are my neighbors to see if they would be good people to form a group with, and I need to increase my medical knowledge and skills.
  • Information- I have made a large binder with information on the following topics: Water gathering, storage, and purification; First aid and medical; Natural remedies; Growing plants and herbs for healing; Cleaning and sanitizing, including recipes for soap and cleaning supplies and for making lye; Simple recipes; Ways to preserve food; How to care for chickens; Gardening; and How to process animals, preserve the hides, and make things with the hides, including making moccasins. I also have books on some of these subjects as well. I have all of our important documents in a large envelope in this binder. Make an information binder or book. Everyone needs access to survival information. We don’t want to think about it, but something may happen to the expert, and you may have to do their job. My future plans involve making copies of all of my information and putting it in other locations or giving it to my family. I need to coordinate with out-of-state family, because they may be able to serve as contacts and sources for information if our local communications are out of service.
  • Entertainment/Enjoyment- We have lots of board games, movies, CDs and player, musical instruments, and snack foods that would occupy time and raise spirits in difficult times.
  • General Information- I have candles and matches, flashlights and extra batteries, hand-crank flashlights and emergency radio, and a battery-powered radio/CD player. We have shoes and clothes for all weather situations, including moisture-wicking clothes and anti-blister socks. This is important. I do have items for bartering and we do have some security. Our future plans include me getting my ham radio training, license, and a radio. We need more security and to band together with like-minded individuals. We do not have BOB’s, which needs to be a high priority for us. We need to replace clothes and shoes as needed. I will be debt free in a few months.
  • Workplace- I have enough food and water in my workplace to survive for several days. I have one set of spare clothes and shoes, and extra cold weather outerwear. I also have blankets, a pillow, and flashlights with extra batteries. I have a first aid kit with plenty of extra latex and non-latex gloves. Depending on the situation, it may be necessary for me to provide aid to others. My cell phone is always fully charged, but I have a phone charger at work, too. If necessary, I can walk the few miles from work to my home, and on my way home I will get my grandkids from daycare. For the future, I need an emergency radio and extra batteries for my flashlights.

Plans for the future: I have made plans in every area, but I also need to practice scenarios with my family. We need to know what to do when it is TEOTWAWKI. A couple of friends and I have discussed helping each other, if needed. We already share garden produce, home-canned goods, and eggs. We have casually discussed what we could each do to help, based upon our strengths and weaknesses. These are people I can trust, but we need more like-minded people to survive worst-case scenarios. Who do we include? We need to be careful in discussing this. I don’t want all of my work to go down the drain by the wrong people knowing what I’ve done. Loose lips sink ships.

Hmmm. Maybe I am a prepper.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I guess I want to share what I’ve done to help my family. Maybe something will help you. Maybe you’ll discover something you’re doing right or something you forgot to do. I want you to know that it’s okay to live in the present while preparing for the future. I want you to know that you don’t need to live in fear. I want to network with like-minded people. I want feedback from those of you who have been at this far longer than I have and have far more knowledge than I do. I have faith that God will take care of me, but He did give me a brain and He expects me to use it. Thank you for indulging these ramblings of an ordinary woman who discovered that maybe she is a prepper!

Letter Re: Prepping from a Wheelchair

Hugh,

Although many good posts on SurvivalBlog embody it, this one somehow drove home the most important resource we must develop: a proper mindset. From it all decisions are made and actions effected. I wish I was local to this woman, as I’d like to contribute my skills, resources, and *my* mindset to her team. She is a refreshing alternative to the “Yeah, I need to buy some candles or something” response I usually get when carefully suggesting our avocation to associates. May God use her willing hands and mind to accomplish His will during adversity. – D.D.