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.

cannon

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!

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.

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!

Dehydrating Oinions

One of the neatest things I found via Craigslist this year is a new to me Nesco Dehydrator! The person selling never used it so sold it to me with trays and extra liner trays. This particular model has temperature controls so that you can designate what you are dehydrating.My dream wish list includes the pricier Excalibur unit but this is a great middle model. Last year I purchased our first dehydrator that worked okay for many of our herbs but it didn’t allow for temperature control. The heat source was located as a coil on the bottom without the stronger fan power that the Nesco gives. The Nesco has the fan motor with heat at the top of the unit and blows the heat throughout and also has a drip tray located at the base! This is a bonus benefit for doing wetter items such as the onions.

After canning all of the marinara sauce this past week, we had lots of leftover onions. We set aside about 20 pounds for cooking later and used about 25 pounds in the marinara. That left quite a few still making dehydrating a good choice. We chopped about 5 onions with a small paring knife and used the older dehydrator – the onions looked almost burned or overcooked and the pieces were too large. We used the grinder attachment to our Kitchenaid Mixer on several onions. This seemed to squeeze a lot of liquid out – they were very wet. Using the fruit roll-up trays that came with the Nesco dehydrator, I spread the onion paste out thinly and patted each tray with a paper towel to absorb more of the liquid. Then we ran the dehydrator for about 18 hours. They dried to a soft golden brown and the aroma was incredible! One good decision we made was to run the dehydrators outside on the patio under one of the roof eaves. They were protected from any rain but the heavy aroma of the onions was dispersed more easily rather that having it linger inside the house! That next day we peeled the dried onions off the trays and put in a jar – we got a yield of about 1 pint – almost like an onion powder when I broke it up to put in the jar with a desiccant to keep them dry.  DSC_3807 DSC_3804

Our second run we used a small chopper/blender – it holds about 1 cup of chopped food and retailed for about $10 at Wal-Mart. This handy little item minced the onion but we did not end up with all the liquid mess of the grinder. Again we spread this all over the trays and ran it about 15 hours. This batch was just perfect for what I wanted. After taking it off the trays – it literally lifts off in big pieces that then break apart as almost like onion flakes. These are perfect for adding to homemade sauces, soups, or sprinkling on meats or mashed potatoes! They retained the beautiful aroma but are a soft golden brown in color – really pretty! It may seem work intensive but in reality it was about 20 minutes of work to chop and spread — and about 10 minutes after to break apart and put in a jar. We finished up with  2 quarts of dehydrated onions! This is an easy stress free project that gives peace of mind to add to the food pantry!   482435_4227910195022_379127322_n

In the Beginning There Were Mistakes … and I Made Most of Them

DSC_0726       Today is Confession Day for me. If there are any mistakes common to all new preppers made on this journey I probably made all of them.

  •      The first and biggest one was to not spend a bit more time de-cluttering the house first before trying to bring in lots of new things to be stored. I’m not a hoarder but I do love my collections so have more and not less about the place. Because I have always enjoyed the vintage farmhouse look even here in Florida, I have my collections. With a husband from Italy, we enjoy espresso so I ended up collecting espresso pots by accident. I also love all the old kitchen goodies and have favorite green glassware and even old Ball canning jars. You get the idea — collections that take up space. I have learned now to use much of these collections to aid in storage instead of being part of the problem. But less clutter in the beginning would have made it all easier and neater!
  •      Another common mistake is to not buy what your family or group normally eats. That 900 lbs. of wheat or 400 lbs. of rice or 1,000 MREs all sealed for 25 years shelf life may seem like a good idea until you go to actually eat it. Have you tried cooking any of it before? Store what you can cook and what everyone will eat. Later as you add longer shelf life items, add them to the diet so everyone is used to them.
  •      Put your stores in small useable quantities. Having a couple hundred pounds in one large mylar bag means that you will have to use it up relatively quickly once opened. This would be logical only if you were feeding an army. Instead consider repackaging any bulk purchases into more manageable amounts. This helps to eliminate possible spoilage or contamination by insects and/or rodents.
  •      Organize right from the beginning. At least start a basic inventory and rotation system. Boy, did I make myself a mess on this one. I now have 15 cans of condensed milk I did not rotate, keep track of dates on, or even turn over every couple months because I lost track of them.
  •    Think about where you will keep any longer term items. Here in Florida most food items will be kept inside rather than in attics or garages due to flucuations in temperature. You want to keep wherever you keep the constant temperature at safer levels. Garages up north will freeze if not insulated.
  •     Put where you can find items and get at them easily enough to actually use. Once or twice during power outages here we couldn’t find flashlights without tripping over furniture. Not being able to find matches to even light candles didn’t help either. Maybe you live in an earthquake prone region. Remember to have sturdy shoes handy in case of danger. Same with that flashlight.
  •      Speaking of that flashlight, remember the batteries. Dead or missing batteries will not be helpful. I have managed this fiasco myself especially when it involves rechargable batteries I didn’t remember to recharge. While you’re at it, make sure radios and other such equipment are even in workable condition. Older batteries left in an appliance can leak and corrode making an item non-useable. This leads to the next common mistake.
  •  Make sure you know how to actually use anything you buy. Also make sure you follow any safety procedures too. Having a generator that you can’t start or burn up the first time you do will not leave you prepared for anything. Even a propane cook stove or grill has a learning curve associated with it. Practice and know your equipment and how to use it. This goes double for the next common mistake.
  • If you choose to invest in knives, swords, guns, weapons of any type, don’t do so without taking lessons and safety courses. I am not a weapons expert but I know enough to realize I don’t know how to use them properly or safely. Weapons of any type in the hands of the inexperienced can very well be turned against you even if you haven’t first hurt yourself or worse! For those who do choose to store weapons, obey all laws in safe handling and storage. Keep out of the reach of children — lock up to prevent thieves too. Take safety classes and practice proper usage at gun ranges. Then consider how to store all necessary supplies to go along with your purchases including but not limited to repair and replenish equipment.
  • Buy the best equipment and supplies your budget allows. Buying cheap will make you feel prepared but may give you a shock when you go to use any of it. Cheap equipment breaks easily — how will you repair or replace in an emergency? Cheap food may spoil rapidly or worse yet taste horrid. That bargain soap may smell disgusting.
  • Think location, location, location. Many preppers want a “Bug Out Location” (BOL) but if you buy one, will you be able to get there in a reasonable and safe, timely manner? What type of BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) will you use? Maybe like our family, you can’t afford a secondary location. Consider your present one carefully. Moving to a new place isn’t always possible either due to family or financial constraints. Think instead of what you need to do to this one to make it better for your family prepping. Research if your present location allows you  to have chickens for example. Maybe your HOA restricts this even if the local ordinances do not. Be informed. Some communities will try to discourage you even if the law allows it. Know your rights ahead of time. Collecting rainwater in some places is against the law. How deep you can drill for a well is often regulated also. You will find that even gardens are falling under some legislation now and zoning regulations. Be informed and have the homework done if you need to defend yourself!
  • Make yourself lists. Determine what your family needs and wants depending on the type of preparing you want to do.Certainly stocking 3 days worth of food and water is practical no matter what. But then are you preparing for a power grid failure – or maybe you think we face certain economic collapse. Are you concerned over terrorist attacks or a pandemic? In any event make a list of what you would need to meet the threat you are worried over. Perhaps you like ourselves are considering being generally prepared as the best scenario. Consider also how many you need to prep for and who they are. This will lead to an important suggestion for today.
  • This is a biggie and I’ve made it too! Be careful who knows what about your preps. Telling someone casually you plan to start prepping may seem harmless but it isn’t. First people will naturally ask you questions and then voice opinions you probably don’t want to deal with. It can become an ugly political hot potato depending on what your reasons for prepping are. Most of the people around me know I raise chickens and rabbits. They may even know I believe in storing extra food. Yet I also believe it is important to not let everyone know everything about what I do or have. Even though I post here and on other forums, no one will ever know totally everything about me. Some may suspect I have a lot more — and they could also be very wrong in making those assumptions. As I have said before, I am not one who is a fan of tin foil conspiracies and I do not advocate violence so many assumptions would be foolish to jump to about me. But the reality is that people do make those assumptions so you want to be circumspect about what you do or do not do. As my son often jests, “Hey I don’t have to prep. When stuff happens, I’m coming here for your stuff!” Sadly that is truth for many others! So remember many of those will be happy to come to your house too!
  • While organizing and researching, make notebooks. You will come across more information at times than you can handle. That’s okay. Simply save it for another day so you can study in leisure. Buy books when you can afford to. E-Books are great — I have a ton too but hard copies are good for referring to when working on a project. Watch for them at garage sales and flea markets — there can be some great bargains!
  • Last but certainly not least is the suggestion to not stress, don’t become overwhelmed by all of this. Have fun with it. Make this into family projects and fun nights. No, I am not referring to emergency drills on the front lawn in hazard suits and gas masks! But building our chicken coop and watching the chicks grow has been fun for all of us from the grandchildren to the great grandparents! Our learning curves on gardens also have been fun. As we go about all of this it has given us time to listen to the older generation recount stories of how it used to be for their families. We have learned so much from them in the process. Stick to the budget for your family so that you avoid stress of making more debt. The goal is to be more self-sustaining and prepared. Don’t become someone who needs a bailout!