Let’s Start To Get Serious Now!

confusion  One of the toughest decisions we face as a “prepper” is the decision of what we are prepping for. I personally suspect we will face some major economic calamities that will then bring about a domino effect of other problems and situations. It will pretty much allow any other opportunists to take advantage of the situation meaning possible gangs running rampant, racial tensions to explode, foreign government  interferences, wars, rumors of wars, etc. Throw in climate upheavals and maybe an EMP of natural or not natural causes. The list can go on and on. So I started trying to be ready for hurricanes (I live in Florida ya know.) and then started becoming fearful of economic crashes. I’m already balancing a tightrope walk with finances so it wouldn’t take much to destroy us there. And gosh – I am sooooo lazy! I can’t stand the thought of giving up all my nice gadgets and toys! And hey! I LOVE reading all my Nook and Kindle books – I literally have thousands saved to one device or another. Come to think of it, I’m kinda a game freak on Facebook too. Sighhhhhhhh

Are you getting a drift of what I am suggesting? I’m a real person who enjoys life in the moment but suddenly realized I had almost no idea how to focus on what I prep when. Well — that was who I was only a few years ago. Very shortly after I began worrying about all this I realized I had to stop and think about whom I really am and what I hoped to accomplish. This led me to see that I was making mistakes in my prepping that many and probably all new preppers make: the scatter shot approach to prepping and storage. It meant I had to face up to my shortcomings in this area and become a more focused person in what I hoped to accomplish.

tinfoil hat       I often make friends in the prepper community laugh when I say tin foil hats are not a good fashion statement and I am not looking forward to zombie hordes that I have to fight off with the biggest cannon I can legally purchase online anonymously. (NSA – I am a total waste of your time and energy!)  So I had to decide how to go about this mess. Easiest plan for me was to realize I have four adult sons who are personal fitness buffs, – two Black Belts, 4 fishermen, 3 hunters, etc. My husband also is an experienced hunter and fisherman. He possesses a wealth of knowledge on how to do things having grown up in post WWII Italy on a farm. Therefore I decided to let the men of my family be men. I turned myself to concentrating on the areas I am best suited to take care of.

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I love the computer. I love reading. I love crafts and homemaking skills. From my childhood these were areas of interest for me. As a teen and young twenty-something year old I wanted to live in a log cabin somewhere and raise animals and a huge garden. I saw myself wandering the woods foraging for healing herbs, healing folks with my knowledge and skills. I would go to farms to pick vegetables and fruit and can them. Next we borrowed a plot of land from a family member to grow our own vegetables. It was an easy jump to making cheese. My late mother in law was only too happy to teach me how to do so many things around the home and yard! She came for a visit from Italy for a few months and spent that time teaching a new goat owner friend how to milk the goats. That won us enough milk for her to teach me to make cheese as the family had done for many many years overseas. Then she went foraging and showed me “weeds” and mushrooms safe to eat. The cooking lessons were using things “from scratch” instead of the fancy boxed convenience foods. My sisters in law still share freely with me when I have basic questions. This background allowed me to realize where my strengths lay in this newest endeavor. I already loved vintage kitchen items – loved the look and feel of the older kitchens in soft greens and clean lines. I loved baking, cooking, canning. It was a source of pride to me to have a full table of wonderful foods for my family. My cookbook collection of recipes from Italy rivals the local bookstore selections. I began to teach myself to use all the vintage appliances and utensils. I learned to do things the “old fashioned way” sans electric!

Studying     I had my starting point to concentrate on what I knew best. From there I made it an issue to learn how to store those foods so that they would last more than the week or two or three we think they last. I began to research on the Internet and that taught me I needed to be more organized, to take stock of what I had on hand and how to add to all of it properly. To this I had to organize my cabinets and pantry area my sons gifted me with! Along with this part of my journey I discovered chickens – a natural because I wanted fresher eggs to bake with. After chickens I realized I needed a fresh source of meat – welcome my rabbits! Yes, I would enjoy raising pigs like my in laws used to overseas or even a fresh cow – and especially goats! I love goats! I love goats cheese! (Alas I live in a city that won’t let me have all that! Ha!) My next step was seeing that my granddaughters wanted to share the experience of canning. They were fascinated that grandma made all this neat stuff they love to eat. How would that continue if I weren’t here to help them? What would I do if the Internet weren’t here to show me how to do certain skills? I began to compile notebooks to have as reference manuals for myself, my sons, my randchildren later on.

What have I learned in all this? That taking time to know myself made this journey an easier one for me. I learned it doesn’t have to a journey of fear and panic that the world as we know it will end next week or even next month. I learned no matter what scenario does play out, I can walk though it in peace in my spirit whether I survive it all the way or not. What I am telling you is that even if you do believe in zombies and are concerned that it will be an all out war or whatever, there can be a peaceful calm approach to being prepared. Yes, I want to help you learn how to prepare to face any of these possible trials but let’s start the journey calmly with a focused plan of attack. Know where your strengths lay. Don’t try to be everything at one time. Plan what you need to do. Think in terms of the unusual. Look at your normal day to day activities. What things would you need to continue life as you enjoy it. Obviously food, water, shelter are the basics followed by security – having everyone safe. Is that safe from storms like here in Florida? Is it safe from zombies? Approach your goals in an organized manner so that you know what next step is needed. Use lists. Checking off a list can be a stress buster by letting you see what you are accomplishing. As you throw that extra bag of rice or beans in the shopping cart,  pay attention to the inventory of your supplies. If you already have 500 bags of rice perhaps you need the spices to flavor it. Or are you in charge of security? Having 500 rounds of ammo and no weapon or not having ever used that weapon does not make you a prepper – it makes you a prepper fail. Hone your skills, do your research, plan, organized your preps. Think about what it is you are the most concerned over and what you need to meet that challenge. As the scenario evolves, make your preps evolve in an organized fashion along with it. Approaching this in a more organized fashion will help you to avoid the stress, to find the calm in the midst of on-coming turmoil. You will know you have done the best you can for your family and friends who are in this with you.  Besides – there is nothing more calming than sitting outside listening to the chickens and watching the garden grow – except if you sit down at one end of a table full of family enjoying all the beautiful food you provided!

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Is It a Castle or a Storage Unit?

Move-Boxes-      I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to organize our preps. Florida homes are notorious for lack of space to hide things away neatly. We’re mostly short on attic, garage, and especially basement spaces. That makes it much trickier to tuck things away in an organized fashion instead of just where it will fit. That also doesn’t take into account that most of the stuff just plain doesn’t fit! Quite a few Floridians use outdoor storage sheds in either wood or metal but they usually are not climate controlled. The same problem exists with our attics and garages not being a stable temperature. It’s challenging but not altogether impossible.

Like many of us we live in the typical older Florida home – nothing fancy or showy but comfortable for us! We live in a pleasant town on the Space Coast of Florida. Most folks here would never expect riots or race wars or for the town to fall apart in any way. Yet most of the preppers will sagely nod their heads at this because they know even nice folks will do the unthinkable to feed starving family!

In the past year we have joined a couple different preparedness groups here on the Space Coast. The members seem to run the gamut from one extreme to the other concerning how far they take the issue of preparedness. All of them profess a sense of calm and peace before the anticipated collapse due to taking control of their preparations.

Roof-Of-His-Car      A few of the people are financially secure enough to own what is known as a “Bug- Out Location” or BOL. Many others like us plan to hunker down in place due to a myriad of reasons personal and financial. That just leads us to be more selective in how we prepare.   Simplistic-Castle-Tower-2        The old adage that a man’s home is his castle has been taking on new meaning thanks to a certain television production but I personally have yet to add a moat or drawbridge to the old homestead! Indeed there is no sentry decked out in full armor at the front door. Needless to say we have discussed security and do have things in place to protect ourselves should the situation call for it but we are hoping it never falls that completely apart! We choose to be low key about those choices and not advertise those issues for safety’s sake.  knight

So as we attempt to organize and inventory our preps, we find ourselves a bit lopsided at times and then we begin to lose the sense of organization. Over the course of the next few months I hope to share with all of you how I am dealing with these issues and I hope you will join in on the discussions freely. I’m sure many of you have similar problems and solutions – many of others will have questions we will all try to help answer! I certainly can’t know for 100% certain when and if things will collapse. I pray we all have enough time to prepare adequately as well as the finances and health to do so. I pray I will be able to help you along on this journey as we undertake steps for our own family and friends – and yes, community! It seems many of us feel a sense of urgency as we do this lately but with it also comes a peace and joy in knowing we are taking the steps to protect and prepare our families by each positive step we take. Let’s take the continuing journey together so we go about it without stress or fear!

How Many Bandages Are Enough?

Hurt lady      This past week I have been organizing and taking inventory of personal hygiene and medical preps. One of the big problems here is that in this end of Florida we don’t have attics and basements to store goodies – even the storage sheds are not great places because they are not climate controlled usually in our yards! Needless to say that means being creative and organized or else we will never find what we need if and when we need it!! For us it means several large totes stored under beds in addition to drawers that are set aside for items. Each tote and each drawer holds a different type of item – shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc in one tote, meds in another for example. Totes need to be labeled to help those helping you find the right items. Small first aid kits are good enough for a car but our home supplies are a bit more plentiful obviously. This weekend I learned how much more would be needed if in any bad situation.

Untitled            Did you ever happen to take a count of how many bandaids you go through when someone manages to hurt themselves? Working folks – especially those with messier jobs –  tend to change those bandages more often and many of the cheaper ones really don’t stick all that well anyway. That means more frequent changes and using more. Well if and when there is any sort of disaster or SHTF situation, cleanliness and being sterile is not going to be an easier task than now! That means more disinfectant and more towels or cloths to clean as well as water.My DH uses a blood thinner – so this weekend when he cut a finger, what should have been no big deal turned into a bit more of a complication for him. He was helping me with our animals as in rearranging hutches and animals when a small knife (very small one matter of fact!) decided to not lock in place but wrap itself around his finger! Sigh…. Now for myself or anyone else normally it would have meant pressure packing it and lots of tape after antibiotic ointment but not so easy for him. We had a trip to the ER for stitches and a tetanus booster.

The trip was actually not a bad one in that we had a chance to meet someone else who is “into” being self-sustaining too. We enjoyed our conversations and actually learned a lot. I received an impromptu lesson in suturing too! But then we went home where I suddenly was confronted with how different this seemingly minor incident could be in a SHTF situation. Now I am not really into warfare and preparing to do battlefield surgery after the zombies are defeated – but I am certain that even though I have a lot of stuff put up, it’s not nearly enough!     bandage guy

Cleaning up blood when someone is hurt is a mess in itself! Out comes the rags or paper towels and bleach or other disinfectant cleaners. Then let’s talk bandaids again! Oh my! The need for gloves also is an obvious one – can’t even do dishes with stitches or cuts on the hand! Having those animal chores is also going to be a problem to keep the cut clean! And rubber (or latex) gloves makes the hand sweaty meaning more bandage changes and cleaning to avoid infections! The need for plenty of antibiotic ointment is also evident based on what I have used up this week alone! Good old fashioned soap and water is the best germ and bacteria deterrent out there. Cleanup also means more trash bags too – or burning your waste later if safe to have a fire.

hurt dog      Hydrogen peroxide is one of those wonder products with so many uses, it’s crazy. Just do an internet search for the list – but it will remove blood stains in a fast minute in addition to cleaning a wound. The same day we had our finger cut situation, the dog managed to cut the pad of his foot. He also walked all over the white cement deck out back and dripped a continuous trail of blood in the process. One large bottle of hydrogen peroxide later, the white cement was clean. So was my t-shirt where he jumped on me to complain!

Keep your eyes open for great sales and coupons to shop at chain stores and the “everything for a dollar” type places are a great source for bandaids and gauze pads as well as medical tapes. I personally am not a fan of off label or unknown brand medicines because so many are not made to standards now. Things that get used and tossed like bandages are not as bad. I will warn you that cheaper ones are not as good at sticking as some of the fancier cloth ones but they can be useful! Trash bags are also cheaper there. Read labels to know where your medical supplies were manufactured. You may want to avoid certain countries of origin if at all possible – not all are as strict about sterile conditions and bandages and gauze should be sterile. Stores such as Aldi or Big Lots will often have great deals available on name brand items.

Being Prepared Mind, Body, and Soul

100_1773      Haven’t we all heard this admonition before? It has never been more true than now. I believe it is a word meant for our times more than ever. Needless to say all of us should be preparing our bodies. Being healthy and physically fit is something we should be doing irregardless of what we believe the future holds. Making sure our minds are prepared also is an important step for us to undertake. Being sure we make ourselves as well informed and educated as possible so that we have the right information to persist is a necessary decision for all of us. After all we cannot think we will have access to the Internet and all of the information we need in an emergency. This then brings us to being prepared spiritually.

I have spent the last few weeks in reflection and in meditation, rethinking if you will why it is that I am called to prepare and IF in fact, I am called to prepare.  There are so many conflicting reports and opinions out there that it can be confusing and disheartening for all of us. I have been called uneducated (I have my MBA), foolish, uninformed, and even told I am crazy or a hoarder.  But the worst I have been called is one who doesn’t walk in faith, who is a hypocrite. So it has been a time for me to step back and really consider what it is I am doing and why. This is an important step for all preppers, all survivalists, anyone who is unsure or not.  Central to this time of reflection is that one should realize that spiritual preparedness is perhaps one of the most important points of clarification and grounding for us.

I have stated before that I do not wish to impose my beliefs on anyone else. I realize that many of you reading this do not necessarily believe in Judeo-Christian faiths – many of you are atheists.  It doesn’t matter what your particular beliefs are spiritually (although I personally do believe my faith is important to me and for everyone) but it is important that you have prepared yourself spiritually for whatever it is you believe is coming at us in the near future.

Men – you are called by religions and by human nature to be head of your household. Not that this means your wives have no say or no opinions but rather that you must be ready to step up and lead. How you lead will have huge ramifications and consequences for your family not just now but for always. Reams have been written on the psychological damage done to families by overbearing, demanding, and mentally challenged men as well as that of absentee fathers on their sons and daughters. Spousal abuse certainly gets plenty of attention also so I don’t need to rehash all of that for you. Suffice it to say here that you men need to step up and teach your children what being prepared means. Give them a strong foundation of faith and knowledge to lean on in their lives. Teach them what true patriotism, true loyalty, true strength means.

Women – most of you know what women are called to do and to be. Many of you of the Judeo-Christian faiths have learned of the Proverbial Woman of Proverbs 31. You understand leading the younger women to the Lord, to strong faith, to be a wise woman in her home. But this isn’t merely for those of a particular faith – it is a lesson we women should impart to all women. That Proverbial Woman was a strong woman who led her household and her business staff wisely. She guarded her finances. She not only provided for her family and staff, she used wisdom in helping others to do the same. She clothed her family and she filled her larder. We as women need to understand our roles in taking a place of leadership in the prepping community. We like the men need to instill in the younger ones the need to prepare not just for a zombie apocalypse but for anything coming at us.

None of the goals of being prepared are meant to instill fear and confusion. Rather if one has one’s own spiritual house in order, it should impart peace for the family and those around us.  For me it means knowing that I can fall back on those religious tenets that I was raised to believe in, to center myself on what is important in my life. It was written many eons ago that man does not live by bread alone.  All of us need to be strong enough in what we know to be true, what we know to be just, to know what the consequences of our failures will be. When we are strong of mind, body, and soul, only then can we find the strength and courage to follow through on what we must do. If we believe that we have been called to this time to be prepared and to help others, we cannot falter or fail in this. It is up to us now to teach others and to be ready to help them survive as well as only our own small group. We are our brother’s keepers and it is up to us to lead them through.   100_1425

Prepper Books Worth Reading

There are so many great series of books out there worth reading, it seemed to me that most folks were already aware of most of them.  Yet when I get enthusiastic about certain books that I have reread for the umpteenth time, I often get asked why! I love to read – I read almost everything and anything within reason. I have been known to go into withdrawal when there isn’t a book laying around that I can quickly pick up and read. I love the feel of old leather book covers, the smell of the pages as I turn them. I enjoy looking at shelves and shelves of books lined up. For years I also bought several favorite magazines – a trait that is embedded in my DNA thanks to my father’s genes! He had subscriptions to Reader’s Digest books and Time-Life series and National Geographic as well as Reader’s Digest Magazines! We would fight to see who was going to read one first from cover to cover – we often had to have a truce – a negotiated agreement to leave the book in a common neutral place where either one of us could sit and read but not prevent the other a turn! I often think he would have loved being addicted to all of the information possibilities now on the Internet and electronic reading devices! I loved the availability and portability although certain favorite books have to be had in paper form too! So here I am now at a point of wanting all of you to read some great books that I have enjoyed that teach and encourage you on a prepping journey. For some it may be like reading science fiction or horror stories – they can have a bit of the fear factor. A few are a bit more strident in the “military” sense of seeing rebellions, wars, or general lawlessness being a reality to come. Yet I find that each series especially has something to teach each of us. Each of these books are eye openers to  what could be a new reality. What they depict may never happen but it is all possible and being prepared is never a bad thing. Again I am not suggesting anyone need to prepare for “Red Dawn” or “Revolution” or even “Walking Dead” but these are authors who have thought out what could happen and give you some vindication for being prepared for all sorts of possible disasters – some such as hurricanes, earthquakes, corona mass explosions, EMP, or worse. All of these are available more inexpensively on Nook and Kindle than in hardcover or paperback – I suggest the electronic versions and purchase later in hardcopy if you really like them! Remember Nook and Kindle can be read on your PC or phones in addition to readers. One caveat to reading ebooks – the auto spell check features are often an issue that authors need to then issue an updated version but don’t let that stop you from gleaning great information.

One of the first books I read because it was so well publicized was Survivors by James Wesley Rawles. He has also has several other books available that are educational on the subject of prepping and survival.

Next I was led to another well known book One Second After by David Crawford. This book starts out very low key and makes one really do a wake up by the end. The situation is a realistic one – and an true eye opener for anyone wondering what should they be concerned about. Set in NC, it featured normal people in real situational day to day reality.

From here I discovered Ron Foster and his great short series of e-books and then novelettes – The Preppers Road March Triology. He has also authored others that are as equally interesting and enjoyable reads. Again in this series I found the people to be realistically portrayed and lots of great prepping and survival tips and hints offered. I especially liked when some of the characters were shown to have flaws or to admit to not realizing how to be prepared for certain situations.

Not all of us are well to do enough to afford the fancy bomb shelters or thousands of dollars in 25 year foods and military surplus equipment. Many of us like to approach our prepping with some spiritual influence. It is here that I found I enjoyed the series Deep Winter by Thomas Sherry.  Although the main character is a business person who has more prep supplies than many of us could afford, he admits that he did it all on a budget and garage sales or auctions while foregoing big expensive toys such as new cars or boats. The series of natural disasters along with political fallout and war scenarios of the later books in the series all seem to be hard to fathom but Drummond’s lessons on preparing and what to be storing were great! The author writes a compelling series.

The Last Light (Restoration Series) by Terri Blackstock is a basic Christian based series – although not promoting any one denomination too strongly. The religious references are low key enough to not be off-putting to the main storyline of a power grid failure due to a natural pulsar event. In this series the folks involved were similar to folks here on the Spacecoast of Florida who lived in an upper middle class neighborhood that were not prepared in any imaginable manner for what took place. Again lots of good lessons learned here.

Another EMP book is 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham. This one deals with a fellow who was not prepared to walk home. It makes for an interesting read – just a good overall storyline.

There is also the Rural Ranger Series and The Foxfire Series available online. These are practical reads – Rural Rangers teaches a lot of lessons such as trapping, hunting, etc – but women will enjoy too. Foxfire is old timers (mostly Appalachia) telling how they survived a “hardscrabble” life. Good information and lots of hints for all of us.

This is only a beginning list of the books I have been reading and saving information from. I will offer more in more posts along with lots of how-to books and manuals – many offered free for limited time in Kindle or Nook. Hope you all enjoy – don’t let the books stress you – use the hints, tips, and lessons to be prepared!

What Now?

Untitled 1                      It’s the end – that disaster you have feared has come to be reality. You’re praying you’re ready but not feeling very happy or even very secure about how prepared you are to take care of your family. Yet, you also know you are more prepared than most folks you know. Then you get that awful sinking feeling… you know the one that wakes you up in the dead of the first night… the one where you realize that you spent a lot of time trying to warn others and trying to make them understand the importance of putting at least something, anything aside for just such an emergency. That sinking feeling is because you KNOW most of them did not listen to or give any credence to anything you tried to tell them. So now what?

Untitled2                                      How many of those folks will be showing up at your door? Will you open the door or do you yell from behind a closed door to go away? Did you tell them about everything you had so they will not leave without you giving them at least some of your preps? Or worse… are they the type who will take it violently forcibly from you? Maybe like my husband you have a soft heart and can’t refuse to feed hungry children. Yet even this gentle man has stated that his own family will come first before he takes in more. Now the question is at what point do we harden our hearts to feeding others, helping them. Have you thought ahead about any of this? Have you planned any rules for those you don’t want or can’t turn away? More importantly, when would you discuss any of those rules? Most would need to be discussed ahead of time so that there were no surprises later for anyone.

Basic rules should include for everyone to empty whatever stores or food and cleansers they have and bring them along with clothing and beddings. Seems pretty basic but not all people think logically. Prescriptions and personal clothing and bedding can be kept personal but once they enter your home, everything else would need to be considered payment for taking them in. Obviously this won’t be a rental situation but as much as are mostly loathe to a socialistic society, there will have to be a realization that we will all need to share equally. So that brings us to the next rule.

Everyone will need to help out, to work together. Chores will need to be divided as to each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Cleaning will be very important in order to not have a bacteria Petri dish situation. That means clean kitchen and clean bathroom facilities too. Laundry would probably not be a daily occurrence so it will need lots of helpers too. In our situation, we have animals and chickens to care for also in addition to very large garden that would need lots of helpers! Naturally those small children will need supervision and education depending on how life is being lived at the moment. Hopefully someone steps up as a worthy spiritual leader too.

No one wants to think in terms of zombies at the door or other monsters but what if? If the situation has gotten to the point of rioting or looting, then security will become a major issue too. How you choose to handle that will be a major point of discussion left to others to debate with you. I am not a weapons expert and certainly have never been in a combat situation o I am not one to debate those issues here.

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Up to now I have been relying on my husband and four sons (adults) to do much of the physical heavy stuff such as building hutches and coops. I do most of the cleaning and I so most of the gardening work with my husband’s guidance and experience talking me through what I haven’t done before. Both of us do kitchen work of all type including the cleaning and the cooking and shopping for supplies. My sons and my husband also fish and hunt to provide additional food for the family. My sons have come a great distance in learning what items will be needed if any emergency arises so they scout wisely at auctions, garage sales, and thrift stores. Finally everyone has realized that there has to be one main boss – in our patriarchal family, that’s the dad. It cannot be a democracy because I guarantee there would be too many disagreements, especially within non-family members. Fortunately for our family everyone pretty much agrees with one another on main points so we will survive without the additional headaches that some of you may face. We have already decided on helping certain extended family and even a few close friends who are aware that we will help them. They also understand what we expect of them, what we expect them to contribute to our plan. Because of our personal circumstances we will most likely stay in our home with no plan to “bug out” to elsewhere. For us there is no other place unless our situation and finances change drastically. Our plans mean adapting to whatever comes our way here at home. For others of you, you may fear something worse and are able to have another place to go to. That should and would affect the decisions you should be making now facing helping others or turning them away. But make no mistake – now is the time to think it through and make plans – not after things have fallen apart. Then will be too late – and the idea here is to plan in order to not make more stress than you need to deal with later!