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Monday, May 31, 2010

Flood Survival Tips

Barrier "Turn Around Don't Drown", c...Image via Wikipedia
Floods and flash floods are a common occurrence in my area and are an almost daily fact of life. During unusually heavy rains or spring snow melts, flash floods will often develop suddenly and unexpectedly catching many people unaware. Flash floods alone cause hundreds of deaths each year due to drowning. Most of these deaths are caused by people driving their cars into high water areas during the flooding and could have been avoided. While most property damage cannot be easily avoided, knowing a few basic facts about floods and the effects of moving water can drastically increase your chances of survival.

Flood Survival Tips

1. Be alert to weather forecasts in your area during periods of excessive rainfall and know the terminology used to describe the hazard levels.

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in your area.

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible in your area.

Flood Warning: A flood is occurring or will happen soon as stream or river levels rise.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Move to higher ground immediately.

2. Be aware of your flood risk and have an evacuation route planned in advance.

3. Never cross a road or highway that has been flooded.

4. Turn off the power to avoid possible electrocution hazards.

5. Avoid contact with flood waters as they may be contaminated.

6. Avoid driving your vehicle during flood conditions.

7. Abandon your vehicle immediately if it becomes flooded.

8. Don’t walk through flood waters as it is difficult to judge water currents.

9. If you are caught in flood waters, go over obstacles and keep your feet pointed downstream.

10. If you are stranded above the flood waters, stay there till rescued.

Know that driving your vehicle during flood conditions is extremely hazardous. The saying “Turn around, don’t drown!” if followed may save your life.

Always remember these simple facts:

Six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Twelve inches of water can cause your vehicle to float.

Two feet of water can sweep your vehicle completely off the road.
Staying above the water line!


Survival Rations and Food Security, by J.I.R.

An ear of winter wheat.Image via Wikipedia
I think we can all agree that a deep larder is good insurance for bad times. There is some variation on how we approach this topic, but we probably all have a lot in common. I would like to present my approach to food storage to give your readers (perhaps) a new perspective. Some of them may have inadequate plans for feeding their families.
First, I have to admit that I am probably not as well prepared as a lot of readers and that my preparations could easily be improved if I were less lazy or worried more. I don't put very much work into survival preparation. I don't own very much equipment or a whole warehouse of guns and ammunition. I don't worry too much about which gun to use with what ammunition or what holster looks best with my outfit. I really don't worry about which brand of SUV might make a good G.O.O.D. vehicle. I finished my main preparations long ago and I now simply live my life as I wish, tweaking my preps here and there as the whim takes me.
I was able to gain a lot of peace of mind by rationally looking at the threats I face and prioritizing my needs. Preparation is easy if you plan carefully with a clear view of the likely threats. I assessed the risks, set some achievable goals, and executed the plan. Now I spend a lot of time fishing or messing around doing what I want.
Important Caveat: Skills definitely come first! You should never skimp on skills in favor of gadgets. Your best survival kit is your own noggin and what you put inside it. I am not advocating sitting idle. You should frantically be learning new skills all the time and honing your old ones. Use your time and money to learn valuable skills. The rest is just stuff.
I take a fairly flippant attitude about survival gear in general. With the right skills, you need surprisingly little equipment to keep breathing. I have firearms, of course and some ammunition, a few basic necessities, like a good water filter, a good grain grinder, camping gear, backup power, reliable vehicles and spares for everything. But all of this costs less than you would probably believe and I think I have my bases pretty well covered on equipment.
But I do take food security very seriously. Perhaps more seriously than some of you. I have traveled to several third-world countries and famine zones in the course of my military career and have seen hunger up close. I have eaten the same gruel given out by UNICEF and other NGOs in their feeding programs and watched powerless as children died from lack of a few dollars worth of basic foods. I have also seen that abundance of food doesn't do much to alleviate hunger if the finance and transport systems don't work. I have seen women with young babies standing along a highway, literally among corn stalks of ripe corn, trying to flag down a truck and prostitute themselves so they could afford to buy some of it. Yes, I take food security very seriously.
Food security is the first and foremost problem the human race has always faced. It's the specter that never sleeps for long. Thomas Malthus was right. Populations tend to increase as long as there is plenty of food, overpopulate in good years, and then starve when the food supply becomes scarce. You can actually correlate death rates in medieval England directly to grain prices. It's been that way throughout history and it still is today. We are just enjoying incredible surpluses and record-low food prices right now (for the last hundred years or so) because of technology and new lands coming under development. Predictably, the population has swelled logarithmically to take advantage of that abundant food. Starvation has become almost unthinkable in the western world. Unfortunately, those good times will end if our society ends. We will be back where we were a thousand years ago, anxiously watching the harvest to see if our children will live
through the coming year.
Food is the one thing you can't improvise. Any interruption in your food supply will kill you and your family, so you need to store a lot. How much is enough? Simply put, I don't think you are likely to be able to store too much. A five year supply is not excessive because there are always going to be people less fortunate than you who need it desperately. Food is wealth. Have you ever worried about having too much wealth?
I take food security seriously enough to make it my top priority. I have a tiered approach to storage that works well for me and I think it has advantages that other methods don't. I have long term storage, medium term storage and short term storage. And, I eat what I store.
Short and medium term storage items I keep in my home. Long term storage items, like wheat, beans, rice and white sugar are stored elsewhere in hidden permanent caches. My short and medium term goods are largely to see me through short and medium severity events, like a regional disaster or slow-slide economic decline. I don't intent to raid my long term storage until I am ready to replace it (in about 25 years, if I live that long) or in the event of an extreme emergency. My long term supplies are insurance, pure and simple, in case there is a major interruption to my family's food supply. I built my caches well and don't spend much time worrying about them. I don't rotate the food in them regularly or need to check on them often. But they will be a life-saver when (and if) I ever need them.
Most of the supplies I keep in my home are more perishable. They have to be rotated regularly. This is easy because we live on these supplies. I don't store anything we don't regularly eat. I choose not to grow a garden since I have some old injuries that make it painful for me, (also I am terribly lazy), so I have to buy all my fresh stuff at retail prices. If you can grow a garden and keep some livestock, like chickens, I highly recommend you do this. That would enable you to be much better prepared than I am. As a non-gardener, I shop every week to get fruit, veggies, potatoes, milk, eggs and cheese. I take that weekly opportunity to top off all of my rotating supplies. Anything we use up, I generally replace within a week or two.
In addition, to the perishables, I probably have about 3 month's supply of most of our semi-perishable staples like canned veggies, meat, pastas and sauces. All of these things, along with most medicines and vitamins, have a shelf life measured in months (or a few years in some cases). Wet-canned foods have to be rotated. You can save a lot of money and (surprisingly) trouble by home canning. The price of home canned foods are lower, even if you have to pay full price, plus it allows you to buy things in bulk when the prices are low.
In November 09, I started canning meat instead of freezing it and now I tend to buy about a "canner load" (20lbs) every couple of weeks and can it for later use instead of freezing it like I used to do. (My stocks of canned meats has been going up ever since). This has already proved to be a wise decision. Our freezer recently got unplugged and we only discovered it because of the smell of a few rotting steaks and the few pounds of fish I keep there. I glanced at my stacks of canned beef, chicken, pork and turkey and smiled. I figure my pressure canner paid for itself that day.
I also maintain about 350 pounds of wheat, 100 pounds of white flour, 150 pounds of dried beans, 100 pounds of white sugar, 150 pounds of white rice, 5 gallons of canola oil, 5-7 gallons of dried milk powder, about 30 pounds of dried eggs, 20 pounds of raisins, 25 pounds of salt, and about 25 pounds of dried corn. (I also maintain a fairly large stock of sprouting seeds, garden seeds and vitamins in our spare refrigerator). All told, I figure my wife and I could eat pretty well for many months in an emergency without dipping into long term storage. All of this stuff is rotated and eaten regularly.
Let me say that again. We live mostly on wheat (in many forms), rice, and beans. (we eat a lot of potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and turnips too, but I will cover that later). The other things we buy at the store are mostly adjuncts. While they would be sorely missed, losing fresh eggs, milk and cheese wouldn't cramp our lifestyle much. We cook with dried milk, cheese and eggs already and only use the fresh variants for fried eggs, sandwiches and drinking milk. We prefer the fresh, but use an awful lot of dried food in our day to day lives, just for the convenience.
I marvel at people who store foods they don't eat and really don't like. I met a man once who had a "whole year's supply" of expensive dried foods in his basement for several years. In all this time, he had never once opened a can and tried it. Once I talked him into trying his larder, he was sorely disappointed and lost all enthusiasm for storing food. (I have to admit that I didn't like it much either.)
This is a serious issue because I have doubts that most folks could easily transition to a "basic food" diet in an emergency. The caloric density of basic foods is about half as much as the diets most Americans currently eat. If you are used to living on fast food and plan to transition to a whole wheat and bean diet once the emergency happens, you are deluding yourself. You have to eat a lot of wheat to equal a double cheeseburger and frankly, If you eat mostly prepared or fast foods, (as most US citizens do) You have a finely tuned digestive tract that can't handle bulk foods and lots of fiber.
If you introduce these foods gradually into your normal diet, you will grow to enjoy them. I highly recommend that every survivalist attempt to live off of his stored foods. See if you can learn to like them. The benefits of doing so are tremendous. First, my grocery bill is tiny. Most of the foods we all store are the cheapest food you can buy. Second, a largely vegetarian lifestyle is not bad for you. You will feel better if you get most of your calories from grains and beans and eat more veggies and fruit. You will never buy another antacid or laxative and will have more energy. You might even lose some weight.
I am not advocating giving up meat products, lord no! I am a confirmed omnivore and eat more than my share of meat. I am only advising you to cut back on them. Too much meat is terrible for you and probably the most expensive food you buy. It might also be much too expensive after a crisis. Beef in particular is horribly expensive to produce. In most of the world, meat is too expensive to eat more than a few times a month. If you cut down on meats and other fatty foods now, your digestive system will already be adjusted to living on bulkier grains and other carbohydrates. You also won't get indigestion or gas from eating beans. Cut down now and maybe you will miss these high calorie foods less if they become scarce or expensive. I enjoy meat, and eat some almost daily, but I don't crave it any more.
FAMEAL: Famine Chow is a good way to introduce storage foods into your diet. This is a slang word for WSB or CSB (Wheat-Soy-Blend or Corn-Soy-Blend) used by NGOs in their feeding programs. Most Americans have never heard of (much less tried) this stuff. This is the same gruel fed to starving people in Africa and elsewhere. The only word that describes it is "foody". It's delicious. You can eat it as a thin paste or thicken it up and make dumplings or bread out of it. You can add it to soups and casseroles or even make cookies out of it. Best of all, it's healthy and cheap and made of storage foods. The NGOs buy it pre-made in big dog-food bags so they can just add water. The pre-made mix is extrusion cooked so it's easier to work with under primitive conditions. You are not going to find this stuff at your grocery store but here is how you can make your own:

50% (by volume) Corn meal or wheat meal. (I prefer meal to flour, but both work)
30% (by volume) Bean meal. Any kind..even soy. I use lentils because the are easy to grind.
10% (by volume) Oil. Any cooking oil works.
10% (by volume) Sugar or honey or syrup if you prefer.
Add salt to taste. You can also add vitamins by grinding a tablet with the mix.
(With multi-vitamin supplement, this is a fairly well balanced diet).
To cook it (it will be a powder) mix it slowly (it clumps) with boiling water (three cups of water per cup of meal). Turn off the heat and cover it and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. If you add the powder to the water and then try to heat it, it burns to the bottom of the pot, but a microwave oven works great for cooking the wet mixture. Or, use the powder just like flour for baking. It makes an awesome bean bread. It also makes a wonderful cake mix if you add more sugar and other flavorings. You can vary the amounts of everything, including water to suit your own tastes. Try it. You may find that you really like it. It's fairly tasty, filling and satisfying. My kids ate an awful lot of fameal muffins while they were growing up. They freeze well and make a good quick breakfast food if you are in a hurry.
Fresh Vegetables.
Potatoes, carrots, squash, corn, green beans, Broccoli, cabbages, greens, tomatoes, onions and turnips. We eat a lot of these crops, but I don't currently grow a garden. They are all difficult for me to store because they require a cellar or refrigeration, so I buy them as needed. Fortunately, they are cheap and abundant now and will remain so unless there is a major economic crash or other terrible disaster. When this happens, I intend to grow my own. I maintain a rotating stock of heirloom garden seeds for this. Potatoes require a little more work since you must start from root-stock and not seeds, so I will have to try to grow them from store-bought roots when I need to. If I am unable to grow any of these crops when I need to, I will have to do without. Until I can get a garden going, I will be forced to substitute a lot of sprouts for other fresh veggies, but I don't expect any insurmountable problems.
A word of caution: Growing a garden is not easy. It requires a lot of physical labor and practical knowledge. I have a solid set of gardening skills and years of experience, so I feel ok about just storing seeds. I have grown several gardens using the same techniques I will have available without modern society. If you have never done any gardening in your area, especially using only hand tools, you really should. Your learning curve will be steeper than you probably think. Learning is cheap now, but won't be later. Make your mistakes now, not when you need the food. You will have to grow a large garden to feed your family. Gardening is a critical skill! and so is food preservation.
Just as important, you need to learn which varieties of non-hybrid plants grow well in your area and the only real way to learn this is to grow a garden. Even a small one can teach you volumes. Your soil also needs building, so every season, your productivity will increase. You might find you enjoy it. Once you get good at it, you might be safe just to stock up on seeds, fertilizers and tools like I do, but build the skills first.
Long term storage foods:
Your long term storage is your capital for the future. We are going to need time to get our permanent food production capacity going again. We may need several years. I expect farmers in the USA to have to re-learn a lot of their skills once the machines don't work anymore. Plowing with a horse team (even if you have horses available) requires tack and harness and tools that don't really exist anymore. My father's generation in rural Tennessee were among the last folks who grew most of their own food using a horse team (Amish communities and anomalies like them excepted). Since then, the specialized tools needed have been lost to age, antique shops (and cracker barrel furnishings). Before we can go back to a simpler pattern of farming without modern machinery and chemicals, we are going to need to re-invent the tools and breed and train the livestock. This is going to take time. Your storage food is all you have to give you that time.
At the risk of sounding like a nut, I believe you can't have too much food. As long as it doesn't go to waste, the more you have the better off you will be if society collapses. If I were able, I would store a warehouse of grain and keep my whole community alive, but this is impossible for me. If everyone in the USA stored two years of food, we might be able to save many of them after society collapses. Unfortunately, even preppers rarely store two years of food. Most of us have a year or even less in storage. I am not confident that we will have adequate food production to feed everyone left alive two years after a collapse. I think three years is more realistic. Not only will that give us time to increase production, but it will give more people time to die. Starvation will be ever-present until we can grow enough food for everyone left alive and that could take a long time.
Storing food long term is not easy, but right now, it can be very inexpensive. You can store over a ton of wheat for the price of a new Glock Model 17, four spare magazines and holster. Cut down on your gun collection a little and you can store a lot more food. I store almost exclusively wheat, beans, white sugar, salt and rice. I have stopped using plastic buckets for my long term storage. They are just not sturdy enough to last several decades and they are not rodent proof. I use two-quart mason jars with a spoonful of diatomaceous earth, sealed with an oxygen absorber and the lids dipped in paraffin. This is a little more expensive, and the jars are breakable, but they are water and rodent proof and I figure the dry food will last basically forever. Jars are about a dollar each, but worth it for me because I store the bulk of my long term foods underground, where there may be moisture or rodents. Enameled cans are cheaper, shock-proof and probably a better choice for most purposes. If you have a secure environment, plastic pails with mylar liners are a good choice.
I have stored quite a lot of basic foods for a single family and done my best to get others to build up their reserves. But the sad truth is, all of my supplies would still last less than a year for my whole extended family. My meager supply wouldn't feed a whole town more than a few days. You can't feed the world and can't stop the coming die-off with your storage food. But you might be able to save your family and perhaps help a handful of people. If you are reading SurvivalBlog, then you are at least thinking about the problem and that puts you way ahead of the general population. I encourage you to go overboard. Store many times more than you need. Because you may want it. - J.I.R.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flood Preparedness

The recent flooding in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky caused me to wonder if we are all prepared for this type of natural disaster. So far, 22 people have lost their lives. According to FEMA, "Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states...Every state is at risk from this hazard."

What Should I Do Before A Flood?

How to Plan

Nobody can stop a flood. But if you are faced with one, there are actions you can take to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum. The most important thing is to make sure your family is safe.

Before a Flood
  • Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station, and follow emergency instructions.
  • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof. Take dry clothing, a flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for help. Don't try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to come to you.
Kaito Voyager

Buy Flood Insurance
  • One of the most important things that you can do to financially protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy.
  • You can obtain one through your insurance company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • Don't wait until a flood is coming to purchase your policy. It normally takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect.
If time permits, here are other steps that you can take before the flood waters come
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
  • Move valuables such as photos, papers, anything irreplaceable, and needed clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. If time permits, sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and then fill with clean water.
  • If time permits, bring outdoor possessions such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.
What Should I Do During a Flood?

Once The Flood Arrives
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
  • Do not walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is another major source of deaths in floods. Electric current passes easily through water.
  • Look out for animals - especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods, too. They may seek shelter in yours.
What Should I Do After A Flood?

After The Flood
  • If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage, call the insurance company or agent who handles your flood insurance policy right away to file a claim.
  • Before entering a building, check for structural damage. Don't go in if there is any chance of the building collapsing.
  • Upon entering the building, do not use matches, cigarette lighters or any other open flames, since gas may be trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight or a lightstick to light your way.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Flood waters can pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories.
8-12 Hour Lightsticks

If your home has been flooded, protect your family's health by cleaning up your house right away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have come into contact with flood water.
  • Until local authorities proclaim your water supply to be safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation vigorously for five minutes before using.
  • Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass.
  • Take steps to reduce your risk of future floods. Make sure to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding, and use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect yourself and your property from future flood damage.
Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states and can be extremely dangerous. They are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters next to fire, so knowledge and preparation is extremely important and will help keep losses to a minimum.

Glass Jars Have More Than Just One Shelf Life

Written in collaboration with Misty Baker
There is something about glass jars being used other than their intending purpose that makes a smile creep across my face.  My grandmother, a child that lived during the Great Depression, never threw out jars or plastic containers.  She believed they had other useful purposes.  Perhaps that is why I like seeing re-purposed glass jars.  It is because the jar has been given a second chance at being useful. 
Because of the durability of glass, if kept in a safe place they can last a lifetime, as well as serve a multitude of purposes.  Yet, many of us (including myself) toss out our used glass jars without giving it a second thought.  But those days of being overly frivolous are over.  The list below details some highly effective uses for re-purposing glass jars:
  • Use the jars to store leftovers and you will no longer have to worry about plastic chemicals seeping into the food.
  • An old spaghetti glass jar could be used to store homemade dry bean soup mixes, sugar, flour, etc.
  • Use them as drinking glasses.
  • For an attractive garden border, turn them upside down and bury them in a row.
  • They can also be made into unique lanterns with a regular candle or a citronella candles placed inside to keep the mosquitoes away during the summer months.
  • Glass jars are a wonderful tool to get plant cuttings started. Just take the cutting, dip it in Rootone, and plant it in a good potting medium. Water it well, and place it in your glass jar in a sunlit area.
  • Use them in your garage to store nails, screws, tacks, bolts, etc.
  • Use them in your craft room to store ribbon, brads, eyelets, stickers, buttons, markers, etc.
  • Glass jars make wonderful gift containers. You can fill them with the ingredients to make cookies, brownies, pancakes, hot cocoa, tea, etc. After you place the lid onto the jar, decorate it with a piece of fabric.
  • Make them into unique picture frames. Insert your picture, place the lid on the jar, and turn it upside down. It is a wonderful way to decorate a shelf or a ledge. (Note: This may not be a good idea if you have small children.)
  • You can use glass jars to house Betas (Siamese Fighting Fish). These fish do not require an air filter.
  • Create a terrarium for African violets or herbs.
  • Fill your jar with potpourri and interweave battery-powered tea lights or decor lights. Place the cord out of the back and put a rubber band or decorative ribbon around to hold the cord in place. When you plug in the lights, the heat disseminates the potpourri’s scent. (Note: If you use Christmas lights instead of battery-powered tea or decor lights, then do not leave the plugged in jar unattended.)
  • Fill a large jar up with water and some tea bags and place it out in the sun for some Sun Tea. 

Next time you go to toss that glass jar into the trash can, remember that any glass jar can still serve another useful purpose, as well as save you money in the long run.  So, with all the creative and useful ways to re-purpose glass jars, perhaps we should give those jars another shot at being useful.

Summer Survival - Avoiding Dehydration

The effects of dehydration can lead to death during a disaster, a crisis or even a common everyday activity. It doesn’t matter if you are in an outdoor or an urban setting. You can also suffer the effects of dehydration in both hot and cold weather. The lack of sufficient fluid for your body will be devastating in either case. The effects of severe dehydration are quite often fatal. The most disturbing thing is that quite often a little advance planning and a decent knowledge about the effects of dehydration and how to treat it can save a life. Except in cases of severe dehydration, the average person can usually treat minor cases of dehydration until proper medical help can be obtained. Without a doctor present or a hospital which is readily available, everyone needs to learn how to recognize and treat the effects of dehydration.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:

One of the first things you should learn is the signs and symptoms of dehydration. You need to be able to recognize dehydration when it occurs in order to start effective treatment as soon as possible. The signs and symptoms may include any or all of the following:


Dark colored urine

Lack of, infrequent urination or an inability to urinate

Muscle cramping

Little or no sweat

Dry mouth or nose

Dry skin that feels tight

Weakness, dizziness or a feeling you may faint

Persons at High Risk for Dehydration:

The next thing about dehydration that everyone should know is that the risk factors are different for individuals depending upon your age, the type of activity you are involved in and your physical condition. Persons at risk include the following:

Infants and small children have a high risk factor and are highly susceptible to the effects of dehydration.

Persons that may have current health problems and are taking medications that may contribute to or cause dehydration.

Elderly persons or those persons with weakened immune systems.

Persons involved in strenuous physical activities.

Persons active in extremely hot or cold environments are also highly susceptible to the effects of dehydration.

Avoiding Dehydration

Another important aspect you should be aware of is the simple things you can do to avoid the effects of dehydration. The best treatment for dehydration is to avoid it if at all possible.

Stay hydrated at all times. Making drinking plenty of water on a frequent basis part of your normal routine.

Drink extra water if you are eating dry or salty foods.

Allow time for a water break when involved in any type of strenuous activity.

Always have plenty of safe drinking water available.

Regularly include fresh fruits and vegetables with a high water content in your diet.

Don’t drink untreated water. Water from ponds, streams, rivers etc. that hasn’t been properly treated will probably cause you to become sick. This may make you even more susceptible to the effects of dehydration.
Treating Dehydration

There are some simple steps to help treat dehydration in minor cases that don’t require immediate medical help. In cases of severe dehydration you should always seek immediate medical attention.

Give individuals showing signs of dehydration small and frequent amounts of water, juice or electrolyte solutions (sports drinks, etc.) until their symptoms get better.

Limit the physical activity of persons exhibiting signs of dehydration.

Treat critical areas of the body such as armpits and groin areas with moist cloths to minimize further dehydration.

Try to minimize the dehydrating effects of environmental conditions by moving the affected person to either a cooler environment, in the case of extremely warm temperatures, or a warmer area, in the case of extremely cold temperatures.

In an emergency situation, you can make an expedient oral rehydration solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a quart of safe drinking water.

Always seek proper medical attention if there is severe dehydration. Extreme dehydration can be fatal if left untreated.
Staying above the water line!

Making Banana Chips by Dehydrating Bananas

Yeah, I've got the dehydrator going again.  I came into a bunch of bananas that I knew my kids wouldn't eat before they went all over-ripe and brown, so I thought I'd get ahead of the game and dehydrate some into banana chips. To dehydrate bananas, you want ripe bananas.  They're not as good if they're green and the more ripe they are the sweeter your dry bananas are, so I like to dry them at the "just right" stage.

When you dehydrate bananas, there's actually a couple of ways to prep them.  You can slice them into rounds or split them long ways into thirds and have "sticks" of whatever length they end up.  I had a friend who liked hers the latter way, so I tried it once.  A banana naturally splits into three sections if you start at one end and kind of work it apart by pushing at the center of the banana with your finger.  Does that make sense?  I'd show you a picture, but that's not how I did mine this time.  Each third comes apart looking kind of triangular and long.  If you dry your bananas this way, they take longer to dry and result in a chewier end product.  Not bad if that's what you're after, but this time I wanted little rounds.  So I got out my handy "Butter Cutter".

What?  You don't have a butter cutter?  You've never even heard of one?  Yeah, you're perfectly normal then.  I got this from my fabulous mother for my birthday last year (along with some other random kitchen gadgets you've never heard of) after she found it in the discarded gear from a school kitchen and apparently thought of me.  Strange but true.  You only wish you got such amazing gifts from your mom.  I thought I might never find a use for it other than slicing globs of play dough, but when I needed uniformly sliced bananas, voila, the Butter Cutter to the rescue.

If you don't have a butter cutter, you can use your egg slicer or even just a plain old knife.  My egg slicer would slice a bit thinner than the butter cutter which is fine.  The idea behind getting uniform slices is that they will all dry at the same rate so you won't have some crispy and some still gooey in the middle.  It's nice, but not totally necessary.

After slicing the bananas, I put them in a solution of water and Fruit Fresh.  About 1 TB fruit fresh to approximately 1 quart of water.  Okay, I didn't measure the water, I'm just guessing it was about a quart.

This is to keep the color from going brown in the end product.  You could also soak them in lemon juice or pineapple juice--the acidity is what keeps them from looking brown.

Then I loaded them on the trays.  It's best if they're not touching so they don't end up all stuck together in one big banana chip mass at the end.

I dried them about 12 hours.  They are crispy on the edges, but still chewy.  Not hard as a rock.

I only filled two trays with the bananas I had.  I don't expect these to last.  I won't be storing them--I'm putting them in a jar that is accessible and am just going to let them get eaten.  If you're planning to store long term, dry them a little harder just to be safe.

28 Survival Spices and Oils or How to Avoid Tastebud Fatigue

A guest post by Kelly Estes from Hot Cookin’.
spices 28 Survival Spices and Oils or How to Avoid Tastebud 
Fatigueimage by Sudhamshu
What would it be like to eat bland food every day? It wouldn’t be fun. It sure wouldn’t be enjoyable! But eating bland food for a while could happen to those ill-prepared for a disaster, especially if supplies were difficult to procure. Thinking about what kind of spices and oils are important to have on hand for survival cooking, there are a few that would be on my ‘must have’ list.
  1. Kosher salt
  2. Herbes de Provence
  3. Ground Pepper
  4. Ground Cumin
  5. Ground Chili Powder
  6. Garlic Powder
  7. Ground Cinnamon
  8. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  9. Ground Ginger
  10. Baking Powder
  11. Baking Soda
  12. Balsamic Vinegar
  13. Soy Sauce
  14. Onion Powder
  15. Dried Parsley
  16. Ground Turmeric
  17. Dried Onion Flakes
  18. Granulated Sugar
  19. Celery Seed
  20. Celery Salt
  21. Beef bouillon
  22. Chicken bouillon
  23. Extra virgin olive oil
  24. Canola oil
  25. Molasses
  26. Corn Starch
  27. Brown sugar
  28. Hoisin Sauce
Now, you may wonder why you’d want such a vast array of spices and seasonings. The reason is it could get boring very quickly eating the same thing over and over.
Spices Like Fashion?   With spices and seasonings, you can mix and match, like with outfits. If you wear the same red shirt day in and out, you’ll soon tire of it (and so will others). But if you have a vest or blazer to wear over the red shirt, or a different color shirt, or different shoes, you’re creating a different look.
Variety is Key   We humans tire of eating the same thing day in and day out. You don’t want to eat pork roast all week. But if there’s a good sale on pork, you can have the roast with sweet potatoes one day, then serve it with brown rice, homemade applesauce and brown gravy the next day, and mix it up by serving a pork and vegetable stir fry the following day. So, prep your pantry with some good ingredients and spices. Your family will be very grateful you did.
Pricey Spices    Remember in the olden days, when spices were very, very expensive? So pricey that only royalty and nobles could afford spices? Even salt was dear and hard to get. Yes, spices can get expensive. But, if you order in bulk and split the spices and shipping cost among spice-ordering friends, your wallet won’t hurt as much. These are things to think about when prepping for any kind of disaster; whether it’s a hurricane or worse.
So, how is your pantry looking?  Are you prepared?  Or do you need to spice things up still?
Kelly Estes blogs about how to whip up nutritious, homemade meals easily at Hot Cookin’.  She intersperses her recommendations for various recipes with no-holds barred restaurant and food product reviews. Follow Kelly on Twitter @hotcookinchick
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Postings will be erratic....

over the next 2 weeks as my Brother & I get ready and go camping for week in the mountains. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Buzz buzz baby + First aid tips for insect bites & stings

Here in Southern Arizona we personally haven’t noticed a reduction in the bee population like many other states and, since spring is in full bloom here, there’s a LOT of pollen ready for the taking. But with bees come the chance of swarms and stings. We primarily have Africanized bees here but for the most part, they leave humans alone unless someone disturbs a hive or is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This past weekend Bill and I were out front washing windows and heard .. then saw a swarm of bees in the middle of our street in front of our home, then it flew across our neighbor’s yard. We thought the swarm went into the wildlife corridor behind neighbor’s home but nope… they hung out in our neighbor’s mesquite tree since Sat. Before the bee removal team arrived Bill snapped this pic of the bee mosh pit.

So … we figured this would be a good time to post some basic first aid tips about insect bites & stings.

Things to watch for…

Stinger (Note: honeybees leave a stinger and venom sac)
Puncture or bite mark
Burning pain or Swelling
Allergic Reaction - Pain, itching, hives, redness or discoloration at site, trouble breathing, signs of shock (pale, cold, drowsy, etc.)

If a mosquito bite – watch for signs of West Nile Virus (most symptoms appear 2 to 15 days after being bitten)Mild flu-like symptoms - fever, headache & body aches, Mild skin rash and swollen lymph glands, or Severe symptoms - severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, confusion, shakes, coma, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, meningitis or encephalitis

What to do…

- Move quickly and calmly away from area if there’s a swarm or nest nearby.
- Remove stinger by scraping it away with credit card, long fingernail or using tweezers. Don’t try to squeeze it out since this causes more venom to get in the victim.
- Wash wound with soap and water or rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
- Cover with a bandage or clean cloth and apply ice pack.
- Watch for allergic reactions for a few days (see above).
- Call Fire Department or bee removal expert if needed.

To relieve pain from an insect bite or sting:

Activated charcoal - Make a paste using 2-3 capsules and a small amount of warm water. Dab paste on sting site and cover with gauze or plastic to keep it moist. This will help draw out venom so it collects on your skin. Note, powder makes a black mess but easily wiped off with a towel.
Baking Soda - Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda + 1 part warm water and apply to the sting site for 15-20 minutes.

Clay mudpack - If in the wilderness, put a mudpack over injury and cover with bandage or cloth. The mudpack must be a mix of clay-containing soil since clay is the key element but don’t use if any skin is cracked or broken.

Meat tenderizer - Mixing meat tenderizer (check ingredient list for “papain”) with warm water and applying to the sting will help break down insect venom. (Papain is a natural enzyme derived from papaya.)

Urine (Pee) - Another remedy useful in the wilderness sounds totally gross (but has a history of medical applications in a number of cultures) is urine (pee) which reduces the stinging pain. (Unless you have a urinary tract infection, the pee will be sterile and at the least won’t do any harm.)

Some potential pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory remedies:
fresh aloe - break open a leaf or use 96-100% pure aloe gel
lemon juice - from a fresh lemon
vitamin E - oil from a bottle or break open a few gel capsules
store brands - if over-the-counter methods preferred, use calamine cream or lotion and aspirin or acetaminophen

Things to do to avoid mosquito bites …

- Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evenings when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Spray clothing and exposed skin with repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) - the higher % of DEET, the longer you’re protected from bites (6.65% lasts almost 2 hours; 20% lasts about 4 hours, etc.) Two other repellents are picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Don’t put repellent on small children’s hands since it may irritate their mouths or eyes.
- Get rid of “standing water” sources around yard and home since they are breeding grounds for skeeters.
- The CDC says Vitamin B and “ultrasonic” devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites!

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? A Disaster Preparedness, Prevention & Basic First Aid Manual (proceeds benefit APN)

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101 Uses: Potassium permanganate

Maybe not 101 uses but it has several important ones and it has been a very popular item in many survival kits for a long time, typically a small vial with potassium permanganate crystals in it.
Before going any further: 1) Its can be dangerous in many ways when misused 2) It does stain with a red/purple tint that is hard or impossible to remove.
What’s it good for?

Water purification: 3 or 4 crystals per liter of water. You want to have a very light tint of pink. Stir and leave it for 30 minutes.

Fungal and wount cleaning:
Another common use. As a matter of fact, its commonly used for fishtank cleaning and killing fungus in fish. Add a few more crystals until you have a darker tint of pink.

Hand sanitizing: This same solution can be used to wash hands.

Dissolve some in water to get a bright pink/purple solution for coloring white or clear colored fabric. You can also spread it on snow to make a visible signal.

Fire starter: 1 part sugar , 2 parts potassium permanganate, grind into a thin powder and it will light with a spark from a ferrocerium rod (fire steel).

I ordered a pack on line but you can also buy it from some aquariums or veterinarians since its used for fish tanks.


Rice and Beans With a Bam!

List of Filipino dishesImage via Wikipedia
My apologies upfront to Emeril, but I have discovered a recipe that takes simple black beans and rice so far beyond boring that you might actually look forward to the day when it’s all you have left in the pantry!  Incredibly, my kids love this recipe, and I always double it.
I came across this recipe in a recipe exchange over at last year.  I wish I knew who posted it because I’d love to thank them  personally.  Pay attention to the various spices and herbs used.  They’re the key to the recipe, and a good reminder that part of our food storage needs to be a variety of spices and herbs.  Enjoy!
Rice & Beans With a Bam!

1 T. olive oil
½ c. chopped onion
½ c. chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. water
1 t. chili powder
½ t. salt
½ t. ground cumin
½ t. dried oregano
¼ t. dried coriander
¼ t. ground red pepper
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups cooked, hot long-grain rice
1 oz. or more cheddar cheese
Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium  heat.  Add onion and bell pepper, and cook five minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook one minute more.  Add water and remaining ingredients, except for the rice and cheese.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer ten minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Put rice on plates and top with bean mixture and cheese.
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.

How to build A 50 Dollar Greenhouse

Step By Step ,

(this is what you need Rick,, let it rain :))

20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next

Economy of the United StatesImage via Wikipedia
I think most of us are well beyond this article however the thing that interested me the most are the comments at the end of the article that I did not post. Very interesting in the mind set of some people. The one comment that got me the most is by Matt:

Military will eventually come in and set up most basic needs – food, shelter, medical. You just need enough to hold you over until then.

I wonder what is the precentage of people that are truely prepared and could sustain the next Great Depression.

Today, millions of Americans say that they believe that the United States is on the verge of a major economic collapse and will soon be entering another Great Depression. But only a small percentage of those same people are prepared for that to happen. The sad truth is that the vast majority of Americans would last little more than a month on what they have stored up in their homes. Most of us are so used to running out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart for whatever we need that we never even stop to consider what would happen if suddenly we were not able to do that. Already the U.S. economy is starting to stumble about like a drunken frat boy. All it would take for the entire U.S. to resemble New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina would be for a major war, a terror attack, a deadly pandemic or a massive natural disaster to strike at just the right time and push the teetering U.S. economy over the edge. So just how would you survive if you suddenly could not rely on the huge international corporate giants to feed, clothe and supply you and your family? Do you have a plan?

Unless you already live in a cave or you are a complete and total mindless follower of the establishment media, you should be able to see very clearly that our society is more vulnerable now than it ever has been. This year there have been an unprecedented number of large earthquakes around the world and volcanoes all over the globe are awakening. You can just take a look at what has happened in Haiti and in Iceland to see how devastating a natural disaster can be. Not only that, but we have a world that is full of lunatics in positions of power, and if one of them decides to set off a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon in a major city it could paralyze an entire region. War could erupt in the Middle East at literally any moment, and if it does the price of oil will double or triple (at least) and there is the possibility that much of the entire world could be drawn into the conflict. Scientists tell us that a massive high-altitude EMP (electromagnetic pulse) blast could send large portions of the United States back to the stone age in an instant. In addition, there is the constant threat that the outbreak of a major viral pandemic (such as what happened with the 1918 Spanish Flu) could kill tens of millions of people around the globe and paralyze the economies of the world.

But even without all of that, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to collapse. So just think of what will happen if one (or more) of those things does happen on top of all the economic problems that we are having.

Are you prepared?

The following is a list of 20 things you and your family will need to survive when the economy totally collapses and the next Great Depression begins....

#1) Storable Food

Food is going to instantly become one of the most valuable commodities in existence in the event of an economic collapse. If you do not have food you are not going to survive. Most American families could not last much longer than a month on what they have in their house right now. So what about you? If disaster struck right now, how long could you survive on what you have? The truth is that we all need to start storing up food. If you and your family run out of food, you will suddenly find yourselves competing with the hordes of hungry people who are looting the stores and roaming the streets looking for something to eat.

Of course you can grow your own food, but that is going to take time. So you need to have enough food stored up until the food that you plant has time to grow. But if you have not stored up any seeds you might as well forget it. When the economy totally collapses, the remaining seeds will disappear very quickly. So if you think that you are going to need seeds, now is the time to get them.

#2) Clean Water

Most people can survive for a number of weeks without food, but without water you will die in just a few days. So where would you get water if the water suddenly stopped flowing out of your taps? Do you have a plan? Is there an abundant supply of clean water near your home? Would you be able to boil water if you need to?

Besides storing water and figuring out how you are going to gather water if society breaks down, another thing to consider is water purification tablets. The water you are able to gather during a time of crisis may not be suitable for drinking. So you may find that water purification tablets come in very, very handy.

#3) Shelter

You can't sleep on the streets, can you? Well, some people will be able to get by living on the streets, but the vast majority of us will need some form of shelter to survive for long. So what would you do if you and your family lost your home or suddenly were forced from your home? Where would you go?

The best thing to do is to come up with several plans. Do you have relatives that you can bunk with in case of emergency? Do you own a tent and sleeping bags if you had to rough it? If one day everything hits the fan and you and your family have to "bug out" somewhere, where would that be? You need to have a plan.

#4) Warm Clothing

If you plan to survive for long in a nightmare economic situation, you are probably going to need some warm, functional clothing. If you live in a cold climate, this is going to mean storing up plenty of blankets and cold weather clothes. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, you will need to be sure to store up some rain gear. If you think you may have to survive outdoors in an emergency situation, make sure that you and your family have something warm to put on your heads. Someday after the economy has collapsed and people are scrambling to survive, a lot of folks are going to end up freezing to death. In fact, in the coldest areas it is actually possible to freeze to death in your own home. Don't let that happen to you.

#5) An Axe

Staying along the theme of staying warm, you may want to consider investing in a good axe. In the event of a major emergency, gathering firewood will be a priority. Without a good tool to cut the wood with that will be much more difficult.

#6) Lighters Or Matches

You will also want something to start a fire with. If you can start a fire, you can cook food, you can boil water and you can stay warm. So in a true emergency situation, how do you plan to start a fire? By rubbing sticks together? Now is the time to put away a supply of lighters or matches so that you will be prepared when you really need them.

In addition, you may want to consider storing up a good supply of candles. Candles come in quite handy whenever the electricity goes out, and in the event of a long-term economic nightmare we will all see why our forefathers relied on candles so much.

#7) Hiking Boots Or Comfortable Shoes

When you ask most people to list things necessary for survival, this is not the first or the second thing that comes to mind. But having hiking boots or very comfortable and functional shoes will be absolutely critical. You may very well find yourself in a situation where you and your family must walk everywhere you want to go. So how far do you think you will get in high heels? You will want footwear that you would feel comfortable walking in for hours if necessary. You will also want footwear that will last a long time, because when the economy truly collapses you may not be able to run out to the shoe store and get what you need at that point.

#8) A Flashlight And/Or Lantern

When the power goes off in your home, what is the first thing that you grab? Just think about it. A flashlight or a lantern of course. In a major emergency, a flashlight or a lantern is going to be a necessity - especially if you need to go anywhere at night.

Solar powered or "crank style" flashlights or lanterns will probably be best during a long-term emergency. If you have battery-powered units you will want to begin storing up lots and lots of batteries.

#9) A Radio

If a major crisis does hit the United States, what will you and your family want? Among other things, you will all want to know what in the world is going on. A radio can be an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news.

Once again, solar powered or "crank style" radios will probably work best for the long term. A battery-powered until would work as well - but only for as long as your batteries are able to last.

#10) Communication Equipment

When things really hit the fan you are going to want to communicate with your family and friends. You will also want to be able to contact an ambulance or law enforcement if necessary. Having an emergency cell phone is great, but it may or may not work during a time of crisis. The Internet also may or may not be available. Be sure to have a plan (whether it be high-tech or low-tech) for staying in communication with others during a major emergency.

#11) A Swiss Army Knife

If you have ever owned a Swiss Army knife you probably already know how incredibly handy they can be. It can be a very valuable and versatile tool. In a true survival situation, a Swiss Army knife can literally do dozens of different things for you. Make sure that you have at least one stored up for emergencies.

#12) Personal Hygiene Items

While these may not be absolute "essentials", the truth is that life will get very unpleasant very quickly without them. For example, what would you do without toilet paper? Just think about it. Imagine that you just finished your last roll of toilet paper and now you can't get any more. What would you do?

The truth is that soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper and other hygiene products are things that we completely take for granted in society today. So what would happen if we could not go out and buy them any longer?

#13) A First Aid Kit And Other Medical Supplies

One a more serious note, you may not be able to access a hospital or a doctor during a major crisis. In your survival supplies, be absolutely certain that you have a good first aid kit and any other medical supplies that you think you may need.

#14) Extra Gasoline

There may come a day when gasoline is rationed or is simply not available at all. If that happens, how will you get around? Be certain to have some extra gasoline stored away just in case you find yourself really needing to get somewhere someday.

#15) A Sewing Kit

If you were not able to run out and buy new clothes for you and your family, what would you do? Well, you would want to repair the clothes that you have and make them last as long as possible. Without a good sewing kit that will be very difficult to do.

#16) Self-Defense Equipment

Whether it is pepper spray to fend off wild animals or something more "robust" to fend off wild humans, millions of Americans will one day be thankful that they have something to defend themselves with.

#17) A Compass

In the event of a major emergency, you and your family may find yourselves having to be on the move. If you are in a wilderness area, it will be very hard to tell what direction you are heading without a compass. It is always a good idea to have at least one compass stored up.

#18) A Hiking Backpack

If you and your family suddenly have to "bug out", what will you carry all of your survival supplies in? Having a good hiking backpack or "survival bag" for everyone in your family is extremely important. If something happened in the city where you live and you suddenly had to "go", what would you put your most important stuff in? How would you carry it all if you had to travel by foot? These are very important things to think about.

#19) A Community

During a long-term crisis, it is those who are willing to work together that will have the best chance of making it. Whether it is your family, your friends, a church or a local group of people that you know, make sure that you have some people that you can rely on and work together with in the event that everything hits the fan. Loners are going to have a really hard time of surviving for long.

#20) A Backup Plan

Lastly, it is always, always, always important to have a backup plan for everything.

If someone comes in and steals all the food that you have stored up, what are you going to do?

If travel is restricted and your can't get to your "bug out" location immediately do you have a Plan B?

If you have built your house into an impregnable survival fortress but circumstances force you to leave do you have an alternate plan?

The truth is that crisis situations rarely unfold just as we envision. It is important to be flexible and to be ready with backup plans when disaster strikes.

You don't want to end up like the folks in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. You don't want to have to rely on the government to take care of you if something really bad happens.

Right now the U.S. strategic grain reserve contains only enough wheat to make half a loaf of bread for each of the approximately 300 million people in the United States.

How long do you think that is going to last?

Now is the time to get ready.

Now is the time to prepare.

The United States economy is going to collapse and incredibly hard times are coming.

Will you be able to survive when it happens?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Clean your clutter, transform into preps

Yard Sale Northern California May 2005. This i...Image via Wikipedia
I'm taking a break from some major spring cleaning. Wife is gone having girls night, so it gave me a chance to do some well needed cleaning without distraction.

This is actually a process that has been going on over the course of a few days, but the whole time I've been thinking about the ramifications it has had on my preparedness -- bear with me. What I'm basically describing here is "spring cleaning" that can turn into an effective cataloging system of your preps, and making a little cash to buy what you want and need.

I must have "hoarder" in my blood. If I see a good deal, I jump on it, and stock up. Often times, however, these deals come in small fragments, and I get carried away with other things before I can sort and organize them. Then I end up with several rooms full of "crap." Several fires burning, and nothing ever gets cooked if you know what I mean.

I have a problem with keeping things that I find value in, but don't use on a regular basis if at all. Not only can this lead to a fire hazard, it's a pain in the ass, because I know I "have" something, but can never find it.

This is where ebay, craigslist, and SHTF classifieds comes into play, and can be quite a motivation for prepping, believe it or not. Or at least, that's how I've shaped it to keep me motivated and getting this done.

For me, I'm going through entire rooms making piles of stuff with purposes. Clothes for example. I have way too many clothes. I take care of them, and I hate throwing out usuable items, so I end up with a lot of crap. I've had plenty of construction and labor jobs over the years, so I have a "work clothes pile." Now I have a job that I have to dress up a bit, so I have another pile for that. Then I end up with a pile of "this is absolute crap, and it's not worth keeping, but I can use it for parts to repair other clothing". The latter of which gets me in trouble with collecting crap, but I try to find a purpose for everything and get my money's worth. My problem is staying on task and keeping it organized.

Anyhow, so I'm going through all this stuff, (we'll keep using clothes for an example) and I'm making my piles. I find I have a bunch of clothes I either don't fit, or no longer want. The pile grows larger.... So I've been putting stuff on ebay like crazy. Not one item at a time, but lots of it. The trick is starting the lot low at 99 cents to get attention. People watch it...How could they resist such a good deal? Then keep a modest buy it now price, and reasonable shipping (maybe push it here and there). Describe it accuratly, I don't wanna sell junk and call it treasure, and let people make it their own problem :) PRESTO! Crap gone, money in pocket.

Long story short, I'm getting rid of crap I don't need, organizing what I do have and inventorying it in the process, and making a bit of cash. Essentially a garage sale without totally blowing OPSEC, or having to deal with people all day.

Now the same is true with hobbies. I've found out what things I'm not into anymore, but have had parts saved for for years. I'm finding what I forgot I was into, and what could be usable as a prep. Jetison the waste, inventory the assets.

I'm turning around and taking that cash and buying things I need, and, what-the-hell, some toys, too :)

The hard part is just the time to do it, for one, and two, making yourself part with something you know has value, or you would like to have. In a perfect world, I could setup surround sound with vintage SONY speakers in every room of my house. But damnit, do I need to do that? When am I going to get around to doing it, and are there things I'd rather have then a stack of speakers in a storage room collecting dust. I think I'd rather put them on craigslist, and take the money and fill the jerry cans full of diesel before the summer prices hit.

I've never really thought of spring cleaning like this before in terms of preps, but then, I haven't been in the prepping mindset until a couple years ago. Not to mention, people buy the dumbest crap. One man's junk is another... you know the drill.

So, take a look around your house and say, "do I really need that?" "Is it time to dump this stuff?" "If someone would buy it, what would I rather put those funds towards?"

1. Clear out BS and make the wife happy
2. Organize your preps and usuable items in the process of organizing essentials and toys
3. Make a bit of cash
4. Feel better about your living space

I know this kind of a random post, but I think it has its application in a prepping mindset. Thanks for reading my rant :)

Now back to cleaning....

Safe Investment Commodities for a Volatile Market


May 7th, 2010
With the market as volatile as it is these day, it is better to start investing in safer commodities that one can use for their future well being.  Stocks are plunging around the world!  Long gone are the days of a “easy money” from trading in the stock market.  Now, all that is left is the bitter, mood swings of  a dying market.  No one can trust in the market’s reliability. Investing your money in real assests that you can live off of for the next 10 years will be a better approach than investing in short term stock investments.
Many economic forecasters have warned that the coming days and the coming collapse will be nothing like we have ever seen before.  Some believe this crash will be worse than the previous one.  It turns out that economic forecasters such as George Soros, Gerald Celente and Martin Armstrong may, in fact be right with their warnings of an upcoming collapse.  In fact, Soros says that the full impact of the the collapse has not even been felt yet!

Invest into Hard Assets

Hard assets (anything tangible that can be used for the next 10 years) is an investment one could make that will have a reliable return on investment.  Hard assets, such as long term food, food devices (grain mills, cast iron pots), silver or gold, farming equipment, tools, necessary clothing, are items that can be put to use over the next 1-10 years that will ensure one’s well being.
Store Basic Necessities – Due to the possibility of a food shortage, as well as an increase in food prices due to an inflationary period from a major recession, the price of food will go up at least 20% or more.  Buying foods before this crisis hits will help sustain a family longer than foods bought later on during the inflationary period. Depending on what is purchased, lasting foods such as seeds, dry goods, dehydrated foods and dry beans and rice can be stored for years.  Additionally, begin storing water.  Water may be hard to come by in future.  Investing in a good water filter and ways to collect water would also be advantageous.  This will give a person the best bang for the buck.
Invest in Precious Metals- If a person cannot invest in expensive precious metals, try and find junk silver.  Junk coins are typically quarters that were minted before 1965 and include Morgan and Peace dollars; Liberty Head “Barber,” Walking Liberty, Franklin and Kennedy half dollars; Liberty Head “Barber,” Standing Liberty and Washington quarters; Liberty Head “Barber,” Winged Liberty Head “Mercury” and Roosevelt dimes; and Jefferson “Wartime” nickles.  These coins are 90% pure silver!  The best way to find these coins is to go to banks and ask for rolls of coins that were given to the bank by private persons.  Do not accept the rolls of quarters that were given to the banks by bank security trucks.  Typically, bank security companies sift through looking for these specialty coins already, so the likelihood of finding any junk silver is next to nothing.  So, make sure it is from a private citizen.
Canada and the United Kingdom also has junk silver.  For a list of junk silver in these countries, click here.
Kevin, from the Neo Survivalist, states that, “ to protect your wealth, consider investing in precious metals.  Sure gold and silver will have volatile movements, but take a long term perspective with precious metals.  Also, consider it a way to store wealth versus getting rich.”
Large Investments for Your Future Livelihood
Assuming that major debts for a family are paid, any large investment should be made into things that can assist a family for long term self sustainability such as investing in farmland, tools, farm equipment or precious metals, even quality camping equipment can be a large (but necessary) investment.  During a depression, many find they can no longer live in the city.  There will be too many hungry and too many unemployed.  The only option will be to move out of the city in order to find a way to make money in order to care of their family.  Farmland used for long term survival, is a necessary long term investment.  Additionally, investing in non-gmo or heirloom variety seeds will give a major return on the original investment.  Many believe that seeds will hold more bartering power than precious metals in a long term disaster.
Investing each month into hard assets is an investment in securing one’s future.  The market is on it’s last breath.  The up and down swings will continue until eventually they will cease and the market will free fall with it’s dying breath.  No one knows for sure what the overall damage is going to be, but many are preparing for utter collapse and the destruction of the easy way of life.  It is time to invest in your future.  Doing it now, while prices are still relatively low is better than doing it when the prices increase.