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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to tie the jug knot for carrying water bottles


While it’s good practice to bring your own reusable water bottle when you’re going out, sometimes it’s just not possible to do so. What if you need to drop by a convenience store before you’re going outdoors to buy a bottle of water? It’s not easy to carry around a commercial water bottle – it’s flimsy and it’s slippery, and you have to either keep it in your hand or put it in your bag.
In this video, Kevin The Paracordist shows you how to tie a jug knot so you can carry the water bottle in a sling fashion.


Of course, having a couple of extra feet of 550 paracord when you’re out and about doesn’t hurt.

Related Posts:

Making it on One Income


From: Survive the Worst

In the not too distant past many would argue that it is impossible for a family to survive on one income. However, recent developments on the political and economic landscape is forcing those same people to reconsider their previously held convictions.
People that I personally know would get angry when first confronted with the fact that our household was a one income family. "I don't know how you do it, there's no way I could survive if we both didn't work," was, by far, the most often repeated answer but my favorite was the one which eluded to marital responsibility. This one always made me laugh as they would shake their heads, counseling me, on the way things are supposed to be. "Marriage is supposed to be a 50/50 deal. You are supposed to share the burden with your wife," and on and on they'd go. (Side note- most of the people who lecture me on my wife's duties are now divorced.)
Regardless of how my situation made those around me feel, the reality, that something wasn't quite right, forced us, a family, to make a dramatic change in our lives. For the first eleven years of my son's life we were a typical, two income household, straddled in debt, with our child well on his way to becoming a latch key kid.
Up until this point, everything was going as planned. We were living the American Dream; house payments, car payments, credit cards; even our son was excelling in school as he received the honor roll on nearly every single report card. Things were going great. Until I started looking at things at little deeper.
Our son had just graduated from Elementary school and I forgot what made me check but I realized that my son could barely figure out simple mathematical problems. Here was a repeated honor roll student who had never given us a moments trouble in school and he could barely add and subtract. Instantly I wanted to know how he could wrangle his way through school and NO ONE noticed his math deficiencies. I felt like I was a failure as a parent.
Then I began to research and stumbled across more than one sad tale of students who managed to receive a diploma and were nothing more than functional illiterates. We realized that something dramatic needed to happen. After a period of intense soul searching, we decided that my wife should quit her job and home school our oldest. That was 1997 and we haven't looked back sense.
I would be lying if I said it was the easiest decision we have ever made. The truth is that it has been a life of sacrifice. The standard of living we once had is now a distant memory but I feel we are much better off. We now have two of the finest gentlemen one could ever hope to meet, and they both know how to add and subtract.
As for the sacrifices, they were at first hard to swallow. The first to go with the uncontrolled use of our credit cards. Gone were the days of instant gratification. Then we slowly eliminated the purchasing of all that stuff that the TV pitchmen attempt to con you into buying. Slowly but surely we departed from the lifestyle of hyper consumerism into a slower, less materialistic life. Finally we began to attack our debts and slowly have whittled them down to the point that we now control our lives. Do you want true freedom? Then get rid of all of your debts. Below is a few suggestions I have for thriving in a one income home.
1. Turn off your TV. I  slowly began watching less TV. This was not a concentrated plan. It happened on its own. I really have no idea why I stopped but I have noticed that my desire to consume (buy) all of the latest gadgets has dropped off of a cliff. My wife recently asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I honestly couldn't name one thing I wanted. Eliminate the commercials, eliminate the false desire to acquire.
2. Create a budget and stick to it. The entire spectrum of economics can be explain in this simple phrase. Spend less than you make. Control your spending and justify everything you buy.
3. Thou shall not covet. Forget about trying to keep up with your neighbors. Buy only what you need and determine if the cost for your wants are really justified. Either way, always buy for cash. If you can't afford to buy for cash right now, you don't need it.
4. Use Coupons. Work the sales papers and use coupons to maximize your savings at the grocery store. Plan your meals and buy strategically.
5. Grow your own food. For whatever reason fresh vegetables are more expensive than processed ones. If your not gardening now, you need to start. Learn as much as you can about growing your own veggies.
6. Learn to hunt and fish. Never pass up an opportunity to acquire fresh meat and fish. In the long run, wild game is far better for you than food raised in a factory.
This short list is an excellent foundation to build your self sufficient lifestyle. I'm sure many of you have tips that will far overshadow the ones I present. Feel free to share your suggestions by leaving a comment.
Related Posts:
Gold Coins Sell Out
Multiple Income Streams
Post Collapse Money

Lessons from Alas, Babylon: Barter Goods


Days into the apocalypse, staples and basic items start to disappear. Gasoline, sewing needles, shaving razors, thread, coffee, alcohol, sugar, flour, matches, lighter flints, ammunition, and later on, salt. 

Several months in, the lack of salt turns desperate, with a salt starvation setting in amongst the population of Fort Repose.

"Since July, he had been unable to trade for salt anywhere. In Marines Park, a pound of salt would be worth 5 pounds of coffee, if anyone had coffee."

The lesson: stock up on these items while they are cheap and readily available.

Small, cheap, non perishable items are the easiest to stock up on. Bic Lighters, cartons of matches and packs of lighter flints are a buck or two at the grocery store. Sewing needles, thread, bottles of rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, petroleum jelly, hand sanitizer, N95 masks, razors, screws, nails, safety pins, etc. are similarly inexpensive. These items will not go bad, will be difficult/impossible to replace post-collapse, and are useful if things never goes south.

Bulk supplies of food stuffs should be kept for your family's use and generally not barter unless you have excess storage room. Salt is one exception--50 pounds of table salt is around $8-$10 at Costco, and boxes of Morton table salt are usually around $1 at the store. It lasts forever, and has a multitude of uses beyond simple seasoning--preserving meat, saline solutions, and more. People generally only have single box of salt at home, so it will be in high demand quickly post-collapse.
Don't go nuts stocking up barter supplies for a possible TEOTWAWKI survival scenario. Don't fill your home with useless crap. Don't waste money--buy things that you will use if the world doesn't end, buy things that are on sale, use coupons, hit the dollar store, and so on. But $10-$20 a month spent wisely on inexpensive, compact hard goods adds up quickly. After six months to a year, you will have a sizable cache of goods on hand, for use in good times and bad. 

Polar Shift and Earthquakes Today



The increase in the number of strong earthquakes today may be related to the phenomenon of polar shift, and are both byproducts of Earth’s turbulent and boiling liquid Iron outer core, roiling around a solid Iron inner core as hot as the Sun and spinning faster than the rotation of the planet itself.
The Earth’s mantle and crust are floating on top of a stormy sea of electrically conducting molten Iron which produces the planet’s magnetic field by something called the Dynamo effect. The north magnetic pole was first located in 1831 and has been regularly tracked up until the most recent measurement taken some time ago in 2001. During that time the pole has moved an amazing 1,100 km. In fact, since 1970 the pole has been moving much faster, from 10 km to 40 km annually, an incredible four fold increase.
Map of magnetic polar shift since 1831, from the office of Geomagnetism of the Geological Survey of Canada.


It is unclear why there has been no mission to physically locate the north magnetic pole since the last observed position in 2001. There are only estimates as to its present location.
Since the speed of its movement has sped-up by a factor of four during such a short time, it might be reasonable to wonder if its speed has continued to increase since 2001. Seemingly the incentive is there to check.
Polar shift is caused by substantial changes in movement of the molten Iron outer core.
Dr. Tony Phillips of Science News – NASA has stated the following details… About 400 polar shift reversals have occurred during the past 330 million years while the average interval between reversals during recent geological times has been about 200 thousand years. The Earth’s last field reversal occurred 780 thousand years ago and we are apparently way overdue.

Most evidence gathered from analyzing certain types of rock indicates that a polar shift reversal process may take 1,000 or up to 8,000 years to complete. However there have also been reports of the process completing itself much, much faster than that, the most famous account being from measurements taken of lava rock at Steens Mountain, Oregon which indicate that the magnetic field had been shifting up to 6 degrees per day during one particular polar shift nearly 16 million years ago.


The polar shift process itself is of concern not only for its effects on the earth such as volcanoes and earthquakes, but if the behavior is such that the field first reduces to zero before rebuilding itself, the Earth will be exposed without sufficient defense to solar radiation, which would be disastrous. In fact, the present day magnetic field is rapidly weakening according to some scientific experts.  There are several theories about how a reversal would take place, some still maintain protection from the sun while others do not.
We know that the present magnetic polar shift is occurring rapidly, and we know that this is a result of a changing tumultuous outer core. We might conclude that this cause-and-effect might be contributing to other observed changes on the planet surface such as tectonic plate movement resulting in more earthquakes today. So far during 2010, we have observed a significant increase in earthquakes, particularly in the higher magnitude ranges. Everything we are seeing here lately regarding magnetic polar shift and earthquakes today may all be related and may be reflections of changes that are occurring deep beneath our feet.

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Modern Survival Blog

EDC Bag: What to look for?

I'm a self-professed bag whore, though I don't have the vast collection that some do. I love looking at bags, shopping for 'em, etc., but when it comes to making purchases, I'm pretty selective. I seem to get a fair number of questions from people hunting for the ideal bag, so I thought I'd post some recommendations to keep in mind during your hunt.
  • Why are you buying this bag?: What purpose does it serve, what will its mission be? Laptop-hauling EDC bag? SHTF grab-n-go bag? Active shooter bag? Have a specific purpose in mind--it will dictate the features that you need.
  • Keep Your Environment in Mind: Is this going to be a bag to take to the office? School? Or only for bugging out? Office bags will need to be somewhat professional looking, school bags can be more tactical and not draw much notice and anything goes for a pure bug out bag.
  • How much space do you need?: Are you going to use this for over nighters? Do you need to carry a laptop and five textbooks in it? If you need to carry a fair amount of stuff, you'll need a backpack. 
More after the jump!
  • How quickly do you need to be able to access the contents?: Messenger bags and other shoulder bags allow you to quickly access their contents while keeping the bag on. To get to the stuff in a backpack, you have to stop, take it off, etc. If you need fast access, a shoulder bag is the way to go.
  • How far will you have to carry it?: The further you have to carry it, the more important good straps and suspension come into play. If you're just carrying it a hundred yards from the parking lot to your desk, this isn't a huge consideration.
  • What's your budget?: You can spend $20 or $600 on bags.
  • Organization: How much internal organization do you want/need? I love bags with admin panels and little electronics or sunglasses pockets.  
  • What brands do you like?: Buy a bag from a brand that you trust, and one that you think looks cool too. Don't buy knock-off crap because you can't afford the real deal. Good bags last a long time, so don't be afraid to invest a bit.
For general EDC, I would recommend a quality messenger-style bag if you will carry under or around 10 pounds of gear. Messenger bags are easy to carry, easy to get stuff out of, and just generally pretty damn handy. I've heard good things about Timbuk2 and Chrome bags, and have a Mountainsmith messenger that's about 5 years old and still going strong. If you're on a budget, the Jack Bauer bag in the "Recommended Items" section on the right is a pretty great bag for around $20. I lean more towards black/subdued bags that blend in well.

In our laptop-centric world, those will most often be a big source of your weight, and may dictate the kind of bag you carry. A fullsized laptop plus cords usually weighs in at around 5.5-7.5 pounds--add a 32 oz water bottle and a few small essentials and you're getting into backpack territory. I know you CAN fit a lot into some messenger bags--I've done it--but do you want to carry that load very far? I mean ya, in some kind of get-home scenario, you could leave the laptop behind...but if your bag sucks to haul around on a daily basis, what's the point?

Much more than 10 pounds and I would recommend a backpack. I've done the 20 pound messenger bag, and it sucks for anything longer than a short walk. My current EDC bag is a Camelbak Urban Assault, which has worked well for me.

What's your EDC bag? Your favorite bag of all time? Looking at picking up something new? Drop us a line in the comment section.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hobo Rocket Stove

Yes I know there have been 1001 hobo stoves showcased here but this one is mine. :p

This is made from a 1lb coffee can and a cheap soup can that doesn't have a ring around the bottom. The soup can is inserted into the coffee can by cutting a hole in it with a pair of snips or dremel. I made the hole in the coffee can slightly smaller then bent the cut out part in with a piece of wood. This will ensure a better fit for the soup can.

The soup can is divided in two by a piece of another can. This gives you a feed chamber and an air chamber. There are no air holes cut along the bottom of the coffee can just the top. This allows for a more complete draft from the air chamber.

The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it consumes wood really fast and the feed chamber is inadequate as a fuel supply and I end up dropping fuel in from the top.

Once the stove is operational it has no problem burning green wood as a fuel.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Do People Fail To Adapt?

1. Not seeing what is happening. Sometimes folks just aren't informed on what is going on. Hard to make logical conclusions and adapt to them if you don't have the information.

2. Refusal to accept the new reality. Folks will just stick their heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. Often this happens with a family who simply can't afford to maintain their current lifestyle. They will try to borrow and juggle bills and try to hold onto the greased string as long as they possibly can. Like tearing off a band aid going slower just makes it worse. Better to have a couple really rough months than a couple pretty rough years.

Also there are those starving farmers in Africa. Ya know the ones you always see on the aid commercials. The ones who keep planting pathetic little gardens on their 1/2 of an acre farm in the Sudan where 9/10 years there is a drought that kills all the crops.

3. They limit their options. They refuse to try the kind of food that is available and starve instead. They refuse to move to find work. They hope old jobs will come back instead of focusing on retraining and finding new employment.

4. They give up. Adapting, at least in the context we are talking about, is usually unpleasant. Like any other human situation there is a huge psychological factor. When something bad happens I am not saying you shouldn't be sad. Eat a carton of ice cream, or drink a half bottle of booze or whatever it is you do. Go to sleep, wake up and get the heck on with your life. It will eventually get better.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Apple Raisin Bread

There's nothing better in the fall than the flavor combination of apples and raisins.  Enjoy these two scrumptious versions of apple raisin bread.  The first one uses oatmeal, potato flakes and powdered milk from your food storage.  The second one uses wheat and wheat bulgur.  Enjoy!


3c apple juice

2 c raisins

1/2 c butter or margarine

2 pks reg yeast ( sub 5tsp active dry)

3t vanilla

2 eggs lrg

6c unbleach flour

1c reg oatmeal

1c mashed pot flakes

1c powdered milk

1c chopped nuts I use pecans

1/3 c sugar

3tsp salt regular

1tsp cinnamon

Heat juice and soften raisins in the juice. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c warm water. Check temp and when it is 110 add yeast, butter, sugar, salt cinn. and eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Have the flour, potato, milk powder, oatmeal in another large bowl. Pour all liquid in and stir to make a mass. Will clean bowl. May sprinkle on more flour as you go but should be a nice soft pliable dough. I usually spray my hands with oil as I knead. It becomes lovely after 10 min or so. Knead in nuts. Let rise 1 -1 1/2 hrs. This rises beautifully. de gas and shape boules Makes 4 loaves. Rise again 1 1/2 hrs. Bake at 350 for 50 min. Cover with foil if gets too dark at the end. I also double this recipe and use a 13 qt bowl. It is a WORK OUT !


2/3 c. milk

1/4 c. cracked wheat bulgar

2 pkgs. active dry yeast

1/2 c. lukewarm water

1 egg

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. honey

2 tsp. salt

1 c. peeled, chopped tart apple

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c. seedless raisins
Heat the milk to lukewarm in a saucepan. Stir in bulgar and remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add the egg, oil, honey, salt, apples and the milk-bulgar mixture. Beat just until blended. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Beat at low speed to blend with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

With a wooden spoon, add enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that you can knead and also add the raisins. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 8 minutes or until you have the dough that is not longer sticky.

Place the dough in a greased bowl; cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and divide into 2 loaves.

Place the loaves into 2 greased 8x4 inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise just above the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Propagating herbs via cuttings

Mrs. Homegrown here:

Say you have one lavender plant, but you'd like to have more. Or your trusty sage plant is getting old and woody and needs to be pulled, but you wish you could save a bit of it and start fresh. One way to accomplish this is to grow new plants from cuttings taken from your existing plant. This is process called taking softwood cuttings. You cut small bits of plant, dip them in a rooting hormone, then baby the cuttings until they grow roots of their own. Basically, it's cloning.

Herbs are particularly suited to this sort of propagation, since it's better to have a fresh young herb plant than scraggy woody old herb plant, and this is a way to renew your herb plants. Also, it may be hard to collect seeds from your favorite herbs, particularly if you live somewhere cold.

It takes a good while for cuttings to root, so you don't do this when you're in a hurry to get plants in the ground. But if you plan it right, this is a cheap and satisfying way of propagating plants.

Erik and I are ripping up our back yard, basically taking it down to bare soil. I'm taking cuttings of many of the things I'm ripping out, so that I can replace them later.  I decided to document the process for the edification of all ya'lls.

A note on timing:

If you live in a cold winter climate, this will be the wrong time of year to take cuttings--wait til spring. But in a warm winter climate this is the ideal time. We plant perennials in the winter, so that they can use the rains to get established before the long, dry summer.

You'll need:

--Something nice and sharp to take cuttings with, ideally a grafting knife, but really any very sharp cutting implement. What you don't want is to take cuttings with something so dull it crushes the stem. Think like a surgeon.

--A seedling tray or a bunch of little plastic containers filled with good potting soil.
(Note: Don't use peat pots or egg cartons or anything similar. In general I don't think they're good vessels for starting plants, but in this case in particular it would be disastrous because they'd disintegrate in the constant moisture, and/or attract mold.)

--A bottle of rooting hormone powder (available at nurseries)

--A glass of water

--A small dish or tray

--A plastic bag or two, or a plastic lid for your tray, or some plastic bottles. See below

--Maybe a spray bottle full of water--for watering later

How to to do it:

This is your set up:

On your worktable you'll want a glass of water and a dish or tray with a bit of the rooting hormone in it. You don't need much. You dip in the tray instead of the rooting hormone bottle to keep the contents of the bottle clean and dry. One jar of rooting hormone will serve for hundreds of cuttings.

You'll also want your seedling tray or plastic pots or whatever you're using full of soil and ready to go before you start.

Take some cuttings and trim them down:

Go forth ye into the garden and pluck a branch of herb. When choosing a branch to propagate, look for the freshest, plumpest, prettiest sprigs you can find. The ones that seem to be flushed with life force, not ones that seem mature, or worse, in decline. The stems should be pliant, not woody. Look for tiny leaves sprouting at the tips. That's always a good sign.

Here's a nice bit of lavender that will be used for this demo:

Next you're going to strip your cutting down to just a little nubbin. You start by plucking off all but the very topmost leaves. Do this cleanly, try not to strip skin from the stem. The reason you do this is because leaves are a site of moisture loss during the rooting process. Excess leaves would die anyway, and too many will imperil the cutting. Pluck it down until there's only a pair or two pairs at the top. Erik says I always leave too many. Consider what you see in the following photos a generous quantity.

The next photo is the same sprig stripped down. It's not the clearest picture--I was having serious problems with the macro lens on the camera--but I hope if you look close at the bare stalk you can see the swelling in the stem in the places where the leaves used to emerge. These are called nodes.  There are three in that picture. The first a little bump just beneath the leaves, the second a kind of busy node, midway down, and the third just above the bottom of the picture. Ignore that tiny stray leaf between nodes 2 and 3. 

The next step is to make a cut at a node--make the cut just beneath the node, as cleanly as possible. Remember, you don't want to crush the stem at all when you make the cut.

Which node you choose depends on what sort of herb you're working with. It's just a matter of common sense. The cutting will be planted in soil, so the stem needs to be long enough to bury--about an inch, more or less. The lavender cutting is large, relatively speaking, so in this case it was cut at the topmost node. But that day I was also rooting thyme cuttings. These were much smaller and more delicate, so I was cutting them three or four nodes down. I hope that makes sense.

Dip it, Dip it Good:

After you cut the stem, dip the cut end in the glass of water and then dip it in the rooting hormone. Dip only the tip of the stem--try not to get it on the leaves. So you end up with this:

Okay, again, not the best pic. The crap on the end of the cutting is the hormone powder. The pen is for scale. I should have/could have removed another set of leaves from this cutting.

Plant the Cutting:

Next, make a hole in the soil with you fingertip, plant the cutting up to its leaves and gently pat down the soil around it.  Here's a portion of my tray, showing sage and thyme cuttings:

Now, here's an important tip. Make lots and lots of cuttings of each plant you plan to propagate. Many more than you actually need because there is a high failure rate. Expect that a good number of them will wither up and die of various causes. I figure my failure rate will be 50%, so I make twice as many as I need.

Cover it in Plastic:

The cuttings are very delicate, so they need a moist, hothouse atmosphere. They must be completely covered in plastic. If your tray comes with a plastic lid, that's great. If you don't have one, put a plastic bag over your pot(s) or tray. It does not have to be clear. A regular plastic grocery bag or a white plastic bin liner is fine. Cut plastic bottles are good for pots, too.

If you're using a bag, contrive a way to keep the plastic up,  so it doesn't lay on the cuttings. Prop it up with sticks or plastic utensils or arcs of wire. Encase the entire pot or tray in the bag, so no air gets in. If they have ventilation, there won't be enough moisture inside.


The cutting part is the easy part. The hard part is waiting, and keeping these babies alive. They must always be moist, but not boggy. The plastic should make keeping them moist easy, but they will need a bit of water now and then. You might find it easiest to water them with a spray bottle, because if you water with any force before they root, you might dislodge them.

Every couple days take the plastic bag off and turn it inside out, so that there's not too much condensation collecting on the underside of the plastic and splattering on the cuttings. It's a delicate balance between nicely moist and too wet.

If you see any fungus or mold--anything suspicious at all-- on one of your cuttings, pull it out. You don't want that spreading.

If the cuttings are outdoors, you also have to protect them from heat and sun. Remember, the plastic could make your tray into a solar oven. We've come home after a day of unexpected heat to find our cuttings steam cooked in their trays. Move them to a shady spot if the weather is expected to be warm and sunny.  They like to be warm, but not too warm. The 65-70ºF zone is perfect.

You know your cuttings are succeeding when they put off new growth. They should be well rooted and ready for transplant in about 4 weeks.
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Living With a Difficult Spouse

Hi everyone!! If you're here reading this, I'm guessing you're a prepper, either a seasoned one or someone who's just starting their journey. How about your spouse? Are they on board with your prepping or do they think that it's a ridiculous waste of time and money? Well, if they think the latter, you are not alone. I personally have a supportive spouse, but I know there are many people who do not. So, if that's the case for you, how do you deal with it?

First, I would suggest that it not become a 'big, hairy deal'. I don't believe that being supportive/unsupportive of prepping is a deal breaker to a marriage. There are so many other more important things about your marriage relationship. I'm not downplaying prepping at all, but I believe there are ways you can accomplish your goals and keep peace in your home, which should be your main goal in life!

In our prepping, having a well-stocked pantry is one of the main goals. The easiest way to accomplish this peacefully is to do the shopping yourself! That's right! I'm not sure how it works in your home, but I do the shopping for our family, so I get to bring home whatever I want. For me, food preps happened slowly a few cans at a time at the grocery store. What if you're the husband and your wife shops, but your wife isn't interested in prepping? Well, mister, you'd better start doing the shopping! (Men, tell her you want to start taking more responsibility around the house. She'll love you for it!!) That's the only way around it! Don't fill out a list full of prep items for your uncooperative spouse to take to the store! It's going to make them angry, they won't buy what you've requested, and then there's a fight and tension (and NO preps in the house!). Not good! Remember we want to keep the peace in our homes! So, if you're the prepper, you do the shopping! Simple!

Does your spouse love cheese doodles? Do you always forget to buy them and then they're angry because they need their fix? Well, stock up on what they love and tell them you don't want them to have to go without. Let them know that you're thinking of them and their comfort. Then say that beef stew in a can is YOUR favorite food and you just don't want to be without it, so you bought a few extras for you, just in case!! ;) I think that if you show them how convenient it is to have lots of their favorite foods on hand, you can show them how convenient it would be to have a few extra things on hand as well.

Okay, so now you, the prepper, are doing the shopping and you're bringing home extra preps. You're happy, but what if your spouse complains? (I know, how could anyone complain about that, but they do!) Well, my first suggestion is to calmly, rationally, patiently, kindly, try to explain to your spouse why you feel the need to prep. (You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.) If they still aren't convinced that it's important, and they still think you're a dork for thinking it's important, my next suggestion is to hide a few things. No, I'm not advocating keeping secrets from your spouse (although it sounds like it!), but purchasing and 'storing-a-few-items-in-another-location' should be okay! For instance, we have friends who are not on the same page about prepping, so the hubby (the prepper) asked me to buy him some bulk oats and store them at our house. The bucket is in the basement and if/when TSHTF and they come to me for food, I can hand them their buckets o' oats and send them on their way! Obviously, I don't have room to store an entire storehouse of goods for him, but a few items are not problem.

If you're a Christian, I would suggest you pray about this. Pray about your spouse's attitude; pray for understanding, or at the very least, a willingness on their part to 'let it go' and let you prep.

How concerned are you about your spouse's interests? Is that uncooperative spouse reacting negatively to your prepping because you could care less about (or you bash) their interests? Generally speaking, taking an interest in someone causes them to take an interest in you. When you show that their concerns are your concerns, it will sometimes soften them and cause them to be concerned about what concerns you.

There are so many things in marriage that are so much more important than prepping that I would NOT make a bigger issue out of prepping than it is. I know this sounds like I'm saying to downplay it, but I believe that a good relationship in the home is the most important thing to focus on. Focus on the main thing first, and those other 'ducks' will fall in line.

Prep On!
Gen-IL Homesteader

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Guest Post: The Survival Sewing Kit

Sewing needles that are used in this magic trick.
Julie Eason, of Serious wrote to suggest a guest post on what to include in a well-stocked survival sewing kit.  As some of you may know, I included sewing needles and heavy-duty Dacron thread in the checklist at the back of my book, Bug Out.  I've also mentioned needles and thread as part of the components of an ultra compact, minimal EDC bug out kit.

Knowing how to make simple repairs with a needle and thread is essential to maintain your gear and clothing.  You can progress way beyond that if you take an interest in it and learn to make your own gear, probably better than most of what you can buy.  Among other things, I've made my own buckskin moccasins, archery quivers, hats, rifle slings and cases, water bottle holders, canvas bags and even the sails for my boats, including the one I'm building now.

In the following article, Julie Eason goes into detail about what to include in a minimum survival sewing kit and why.  This is cheap to put together, weighs almost nothing and will take up little space in your bug out bag, so I think it's very good advice:

The Well-Stocked Survival Sewing Kit

Guest Post by Julie Anne Eason of Serious

When most people think of things they need to survive an emergency, a sewing kit isn't usually at the top of the list. But whether you're in a long-term TEOTWAWKI or a short-term natural disaster, things are going to need sewing. Obviously, your clothes need to stay in good repair. But don't forget about other fabric or leather based items as well--tents, sails, shoes, water skins. Some form of rudimentary sewing skill is necessary for a comfortable existence, and you're going to need supplies. Here's what you should have on hand in a survival situation.

Several sizes and styles of needles: Not every needle is suitable for every purpose. Fortunately, needles are cheap and small, so stock up on a package of different sized sharps and ball-points. Sharps are used to sew woven fabrics (the kind that don't stretch) and ball-points are used for knits (stretchy fabrics.)

You'll also want leather needles (called glover's needles.) These have a special point shaped like a triangle. It slices easily through leather (and skin-so be careful!) Speaking of skin, a few suture needles are a good idea, too, in case you need to perform medical stitching.

Curved needles, sail needles and large-eye harness and tapestry needles will also come in handy for all kinds of projects.

Several sizes and types of thread: Now is not the time to buy wimpy thread. Invest in several large spools of thick mercerized cotton thread, called "hand-quilting" thread. Also, you'll want several thicknesses of waxed linen thread for sewing heavy-duty items in canvas or leather. Some silk thread is also advisable for suture sewing.

Sharpening stone: Needles may be difficult to find, so you'll need to take good care of the ones you have. You should have a sharpening stone on hand anyway for honing knives and axes. The same one can be used for keeping needles in good working condition.

Scissors: Yes, you could use a knife to cut thread. But cutting fabric and leather is much easier with a pair of scissors. These can do double duty in the kitchen, too.

An awl: An awl makes a hole without cutting the fibers. This is especially important for repairing broken grommets in canvas or anytime you need to sew leather.

Small containers of beeswax and pine pitch: Run your sewing thread through a cake of beeswax a few times before sewing and your seams will last much longer. The wax conditions the thread and makes it less vulnerable to light damage and abrasion. Also, the wax will spread out a bit and fill your sewing holes, making a more water resistant (not water proof) seam.

Pine pitch is great for sealing a patch on shoes or anyplace a repair won't have to bend. It's flexible when warm, but will crack in cold weather if you bend it. You can make water-bearing bags and cups with pitch-sealed leather as they did in Europe 600 years ago.

Straight pins and small spring clamps: Pins hold your fabric together while you're stitching. But sometimes you need to work on a thick seam. That's when the spring clamps come in handy. Just a couple will do.

1/4 to 1/2 yard pieces of fabric: If you're not on the move, you can stockpile larger quantities of wool, linen, cotton, canvas and leather for making clothing and household items. But for an emergency kit, just roll up a few pieces of canvas and linen. Not only will these serve as patch material, but you can also strain liquids through them and even use them for bandages if necessary.

Small container of strong shoe glue like Barge cement: Your shoes and boots are going to wear out and need patching at some point. Barge cement is designed to hold shoes together without nails or stitching. Have a small tube on hand; it's useful for all kinds of repairs.

If you're not on the move and there's room in your kit you can add things like zippers, buttons, hooks & eyes, grommets and elastic. But usually these items can be recycled from other cast-offs. One pair of worn-out blue jeans can be a gold mine of recycled materials--fabric, buttons, zippers, pockets--just cut 'em up and reuse the parts.

Obviously a heavy-duty sewing machine and serger overlock machine are great to have on hand if you have the room and have electricity. But be prepared and learn some basic hand sewing stitches, too.

As with any survival kit--pack what you need and can carry. You never know when your skills with a needle will come in handy. They could even save a life.

Cold Weather Preparedness

I love Fall and I hope it lasts a while, but the reality is that cold weather is approaching for many people, so let's go over some things we can do to prepare for cold weather.  I originally posted this article last Fall, but I think it's worth repeating!  I've also added a few things.

Make sure your car kits are up to date. If you didn't put together a kit last time we did them week by week, click here to check out the list of what we recommend. Consider adding some extra blankets and towels, especially if you live in colder climates, and definitely if you regularly drive on rural roads. Update your food and water, if necessary. Many people have asked us about water going bad in plastic bottles over time. If you rotate, this won't be as much of an issue, especially in the winter. You should have a kit in every car your family drives.

Keep your cell phones charged. I plug in my cell phone every night, regardless of whether or not I need to. You never know when the power is going to go out and you won't have a chance to charge it. I do have a cell phone charger outlet in my crank powered flashlight/radio in my 72-hour kits, in case I need it (although, that wouldn't help me in the car.. maybe I should move it to my car?). An upgrade: buy some walkie-talkies to share with your neighbors so that you can keep in contact during an emergency, in case the phone lines are down.

Have proper heating backups. Technically, you can safely keep your house at a cool 40
degrees without worrying about health hazards or your pipes freezing. Layer up - blankets, warm clothing, etc. Consider getting some space heaters or other alternative heat sources in case your power goes out. Of course, make sure you know how to operate them properly before you actually need to use them in an emergency. An upgrade: get a generator. Neither Abbie nor I have these, but with some online research I'm sure you could find one that's perfect for your home, if desired.

Know where your flashlights are. Sometimes the most annoying part of losing power is actually trying to find those flashlights, especially if it's completely dark! I hate digging through our 72-hour kits to find our lighting sources. It would be helpful to buy a cheap flashlight to keep somewhere in each room. The key for me will be keeping it in a place where I can easily find it in the dark, but hiding it well enough so that my two-year-old doesn't see it and demand to play with it, thus wearing out the batteries. An upgrade: keeping a wind-up flashlight in each room.  This one on Amazon is on sale, and has great reviews. You can also find them in stores.

Bundle up. When I was growing up, my parents kept a big wooden box full of hats, mittens, and scarves in our mudroom. Every time we left the house during the winter, we were required to put them on (or at least bring them with us). At the time I was pretty embarrassed (high schoolers don't usually wear knit hats with reindeer on them), but I now appreciate the precautions. We drove on a lot of rural roads in New England, and I wasn't driving the most reliable car (a 17 y/o VW Quantum...), so if we had ever broken down on the side of the road, those warm layers would have really come in handy. Actually, they came in handy anyway because I was usually to my destination before the heat started to work! There's no real upgrade for bundling up.

Gas up.  My parents also insisted that we never let our gas run lower than half a tank.  You never know when you will be stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm, and you may need to keep your car on for warmth (just be sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked!).  Keeping the gas relatively full in your car is a great preparedness method anyway, but especially so in the winter.

For more ideas and tips for storm/power loss preparation, check out a guest post from a few years ago, "What I Wish I'd Known During the 2008 Ice Storm".

What do you do to prepare for cold weather?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Survivalist’s Bucket List

There’s a lot more to being prepared than simply stockpiling a bunch of stuff. It’s knowledge and skill that often makes the difference between being a survivor or a statistic.
Just as in stockpiling goods, in a long-term crisis the more knowledge and skills that you have about how to deal with a wide variety of situations and challenges the better off you’ll be. However, unlike stockpiling. knowledge cannot be purchased. It’s gained through study, learning, and practice.
You may be saying,”Well, I have a bunch of books on how to deal with every type of situation, and if I can read it, I can learn it”. Although I do highly recommend having a Survival Library, having only books on hand — while helpful — is not ideal. You don’t want your family to be dependent upon you learning a skill for the first time in the midst of a crisis and some skills take years to develop.
With that in mind, here’s a Bucket List of skills you may want to consider. This is in no way exhaustive or in order of importance but should get you started:
  • Sewing, Clothes Making and Repair: Learn how to quilt, crochet, knit, sew, spin, weave, and how to make clothes from basic patterns. It might be a good idea to pick up an antique manual pedal driven sewing machine. Many of them sell for quite cheap through Craigslist.
  • Auto Mechanics and Engine Repair: Learn how to change oil, fix brakes, tune up engines, repair common issues (replacing water pump, alternator, etc) and so on. Included in this subject is small-engine repair/tuneups like chainsaws, generators etc.
  • Animal Husbandry: Learn how to raise rabbits, chickens, goats and other animals provided you have the space and your zoning laws allow.
  • Soap and Candle Making: This includes homemade oil lamps as well.
  • Butter, Cheese and Yogurt Making: Be sure any needed ingredients are part of your food storage.
  • Martial Arts: This could be boxing, ground fighting, knife fighting, stick fighting, and other forms of armed and unarmed hand-to-hand combat skills.
  • Marksmanship and Defensive Shooting: There are many excellent top-rate schools that teach marksmanship as well as personal and home defense with firearms. For excellent marksmanship training, I highly recommend The Appleseed Project events that are held nationwide.
  • Wilderness Survival and Primitive Skills: This includes local plant identification and use (edible, medicinal, and utilitarian); shelter building; water collection, storage and purification; fire making (using primitive and modern methods); animal snares; fishing; and much more
  • Outdoor Skills: Separate from wilderness survival (but related) is basic outdoor skills such as knot-tying, navigation, hunting, trapping, mountaineering, tracking and so on.
  • Medical Training: This should really go beyond first aid. Ideally you’ll want to take EMT or paramedic courses.
  • Radio Communication: This includes small-band, CB and other forms of radio communication. Ideally you’ll want to get your Ham operating license.
  • Metal-Working Skills: Learn welding, casting, blacksmithing. Also included in this subject is machining and other fabrication methods.
  • Food Preservation: Here’s where you’ll want to learn canning, smoking, pickling, dehydrating, and curing.
  • Food Preparation: Learn how to use all that bulk-stored food you’ve got squirreled away. Also included in this subject is food preparation off the grid — using wood/charcoal stoves, fire pit cooking, solar ovens etc.
  • Gardening: This is one of those skill you can’t simply pull a book off your shelf, read it, and expect to be very successful at. You’ll want to learn this now to fully understand how to work with your particular climate and soil type. It also takes a bit of time to work up your soil to be its most productive.
  • Bartering: This will be a very useful skill in an extended crisis situation. There are many flea markets and other local venues where you can practice this skill.
  • Entertainment: Learn to play an instrument, sing, or learn other performing art skills . During tough times, moral is low. Entertainment can otherwise lighten a heavy heart.
  • Home Repair and Maintenance: Learn the basics of carpentry, electrical wiring, painting, plumbing, masonry and so on. If you live in a remote area then being able to drill wells, clear land, surveying, and home construction techniques are also ideal.
Looking at this list you’re probably thinking that even a few of these areas would take a lifetime to really learn well — and you’re right. Don’t be so concerned about learning them all yourself. That’s the importance of community. As my friend Kevin Reeve says, “Training trumps gear, but community trumps training”. The more knowledgeable people you can gather in your circle of close friends, the better off you’ll all be.
As far as not having enough time, start now by turning off the television. Or quit waisting time golfing and get out there and practice some skills that can really be of benefit to you and others. Many of these skills can be practiced as a family. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time.

Related posts:

  1. How Learning Primitive Skills Could One Day Save Your Tail

G.O.O.D. Planning--Did You Remember Everything?

Over the past few years there have been numerous very useful articles submitted regarding bugging out or Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) as they say, if a major regional or national disaster occurs. The articles focus on a number of issues such as the problems/hazards relating to simply getting home from work, making contact with the spouse who may be shopping or getting the kids from school. Then the writers cover the need for a ready bug-out bag “BOB.“ There are suggestions about having the vehicle already (at least partly) packed with enough supplies for either a few days or to get them to their camp or retreat. Then the writer grabs the kids and spouse and hopefully, with enough fuel, takes off and tries to beat having the highway getting jammed up before they get out of town. This is all well and good and I’ve followed all of this advice. But, I never hear them mention kissing grandma and grandpa good-by on the way.
We preppers/survivalists or whatever, seem to forget that we (almost) all have parents, grandparents or sick or elderly members of the family that really should be included in our plans. They may be living alone, not be ambulatory or simply not really able to take care of themselves. We can rationalize about shooting those “Golden Hordes” when they try to take our food but can we really leave grandma behind? Okay. Maybe it’s time for lazy, and too often drunk, Uncle Joe to forge for himself and we can’t fit all of the cousins in the car anyway, but let’s look at that immediate family.
First, maybe it’s a family member’s house we’re heading for. Do they know and are they in agreement that you might show up unexpectedly and have they been briefed as to what might happen? Can the house handle you size-wise and with emergency power and foodstuffs? Of course, you should have stored much of that stuff ahead of time in preparation for such an event. If their location is so desirable however, might other family members, maybe from the other side of the family tree show up? Now, is the ole’ farmhouse still large enough and with enough food? And remember, those folks are going to think they have just as much right to be there as you. And of course, they’re on board regarding pulling their share of the responsibilities.
But what if say, the wive’s (oops, now there’s two sets), parents or grandparents live as many do, in a small condo or apartment, or group home do your plans include trying to pick them up? If they need special medical care and you won’t be able to provide it at your retreat, well, maybe you’ll just have to swallow and live with it. But what if they just need special medication? Do you have some stocked ahead, along with whatever your immediate family may need? What about something as simple as a wheelchair? Maybe you can squeeze grandpa in the back with the kids and the dog, but what about it? Remember, the trunk is already full with your emergency supplies. Have you given thought about the folks living in a distant city or town? Has someone in the family arranged to have somebody (trustworthy, of course, and even then, if the SHTF, they’re likely to be affected also) look after them and get compensated later?
After reading the book "One Second After" it’s hard not to think about those elderly or sick folks in the hospital or nursing home when the lights went out. They’ve got to be considered or you’re not going to live with yourselves all nice and snug in your shelter up in the foothills if you don’t. Outside of everybody moving out to a safe place ahead of time, which is impossible for those tied to their jobs, there are no easy solutions and I certainly don’t have any real answers except that the whole idea of G.O.O.D. when that threat occurs should take into consideration who you might be leaving behind. - H.B.

What Hapens When You Can't Connect Electronically?

This symbol is presumably recognized worldwide...

I received a short comment on the last blog post I wrote about electronic communications from a reader. Their question was simply, how do you communicate when all communications system go down?
Here's my answer. Note how limited your alternatives are when the communications systems that we have come to depend on don't work.
  • HAM radio. Time and again, when there is a major disaster, HAM radio usually becomes the only way to communicate. I highly recommend that everyone become certified, at least at the most basic technician level, to use a HAM radio and then go out and buy a basic radio.
  • Computer/internet. If you have power to your computer (a laptop with a battery or a generator), and to your modem/router there is a possibility that your internet provider will have a back-up battery system which will allow them to continue to provide internet service as long as the battery holds out.
  • 2-way FRS radios. These are the radios that you can buy in a set at Walmart that have a short one to two mile range. Families often use these for communications when they are on vacation out in the woods, on a cruise ship, or other places where regular cell service isn't available.
  • Cell phone/texting. Even when the power is out, your cell phone may still work. Most cell towers have some sort of battery back-up so that the tower can still work, at least for a few hours after power has been lost. Note that if cell circuits are overloaded, as they probably will be right after a disaster, you may still be able to send a text message through.
  • Your own two feet. I was recently invited to observe a full scale disaster exercise at a large company. The scenario was an earthquake which took out all power and communications among other things. As soon as the exercise started, the phones in the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) started ringing off the hook. People in the EOC would pick up the phone and say "this is a drill, the phones are not working". The people on the other end of the line would then ask how they were supposed to communicate with the EOC if they couldn't call. Simple, the Emergency Management Team members would say, send a runner to the EOC with your information. It hadn't dawned on most of the people in this large complex of buildings that should the power go out and if they didn't have radios, they will be literally walking to get the things/news/information they need.
  • Written messages. Long before cell phones, and even before CBs became popular, our preferred method of communicating with people that we had plans to meet with up in the mountains were simple signs, written with a black marker on a white paper plate, tacked to a tree. If you have no power and no services and no communications for an extended period of time, that may need to be an option for you too. Basic signs can be pre-staged in your home. Messages can range from OK to NEED HELP to NEED WATER, or other messages that you are likely to use during a disaster. The bigger the letters and the more contrast in the color, the easier it will be for others to see.
In an emergency, you can send a runner, or run yourself, to the local fire department/police department/hospital/road department office/other critical infrastructure location which is likely to have emergency communications equipment. Remember, however, that these agencies really do not want to see people flooding their location during a disaster. They will be busy mounting their own emergency response and unless it is literally a life or death situation, your needs will pale in comparison to that of the community at large, so only do this in a dire emergency.

Simply Simplifying

There are times in your life when you realize that things are not as they should be.  A vital component is missing in your day to day life, but you are unsure what it is.  There is so much chaos and clutter spinning around you that nothing seems to make sense the way it used to.
You realize that the lifestyle to which you’ve become so accustomed is a necessary evil, a constant struggle between the life you want to achieve and the life you have to give up right now to achieve it. But you don’t have to live your life dreaming of what it could be – you can stop spinning and start simplifying right now!
It starts with a willingness to change and the willingness to realize that you need to get back to basics and focus on the things that matter most, not at hopefully achieving those things at some time in the future, but right now.

Shifting Your Direction

Those who live a stress filled life tend to be very familiar with the Three C’s: Chaos, Clutter and Confusion.  It does not make for a happy existence.  In fact, it drags you and your spirit down.  In plain words, it’s toxic.  In order to avoid this altogether, start making minor changes in your life to naturally shift your perspective. Peter Holy, founder of 123 Feel Better, calls them micro movements. The key to achieving your goals, according to 123 Feel Better, is to break your goals down into their smallest, most manageable parts. Where you may feel tired or overworked attempting to achieve a single, massive goal in one fell swoop, simplifying that goal into micro movements will seem like you’re hardly working.
Realizing that you want to take this journey towards simplicity requires some preemptive planning on your part.  To begin this, you must find some time to reflect and think about what is important and how to enhance those priorities.  For example, if  family is a main priority, start scheduling a designated family time.  The football game can wait.  Or, if you have been putting off planning your off-grid home, sit down with the family and start planning what you want your homestead to incorporate. Nothing should interfere with those designated priorities.  Here are some additional tips.
  • Sit down and contemplate the priorities in your life.  What matters most in your life? What can you live without?
  • Set short and long term goals to get to your simplified destination.
  • Break down each goal and create micro movements, or mini-goals, that will help you to achieve success
  • Take actionand start integrating your micro movements into your daily life.

6 Practical Tips to Simplify Your Life

After shifting your direction toward simplifying your life, you will find that you only need a few things to really make you happy.  Somehow in the middle of everything, you realize that whatever void you had in yourself before, filling it with superfluous products, services and habits often leaves you feeling just the opposite – unfulfilled.
Many are adopting this voluntary simplicity.  In fact, trend researcher Gerald Celente has been quoted in saying that “between 5%-7% of adults are pursuing some type of voluntary simplicity.”  It should be no surprise, then, that the percentage of those who are simplifying their lives are also the same percentage of individuals who are prepping.  Preppers are already practicing living a more simplified lifestyle.  Here are a few tips to help you begin your road to a simpler life:
  • Simplify your finances - Having debt creates a lot of unwanted stress and uneasiness in your life.  Start making steps to live within your means and start paying off any unnecessary debt.  Do some research into what credit solutions seem right for you.  There are websites available that can give tips on how to reduce debt.  Creating a manageable budget can also be an invaluable tip to reducing credit and stress.
  • Simplify your life-  Get back to the basics and downsize your life.  Start weeding out the areas in your life that cause you pain, suffering and confusion.  Sometimes you have to weed out those toxic friends, stop hanging out late at night in order to get up early, learn to say “no” to people.  Over-committing yourself can also cause a build up of chaos.  Start prepping!  Preparing for emergencies beforehand creates a safety cushion to fall back on in case an emergency arises.  It eliminates the headache of gathering supplies in a high stress environment.  There are plenty of sources to start your preparedness journey.
  • De-clutter Your Home and Office – It’s easy to have those organized “catch all piles” laying in strategic places around the house.  But the more clutter that piles up, the more disorganized things are in your life.  Clutter brings an uneasiness to life.  Make a short term goal to clear these piles out.  If you are not using these items, then throw them away, give them away or sell these items in a garage sale.
  • Simplify your health – Research has shown that stress takes it’s toll on a body.  Those who live a stress free life are more inclined to live longer, be healthier and overall pleased with their life.  So, start getting some fresh air every day.  Additionally, cutting back on those greasy junk food items is another way to clean and detoxify your body.
  • Rely on yourself – What a great concept!  By relying on yourself, you will find freedom.  This is the threshold to prepping.  Once you realize that you can be self reliant, everything changes.  Your goals change, your attitude changes, you change.
  • Feed your spirit – This is often a highly overlooked area.  If you do not feed your spirit on a regular basis, it will not grow. That is the missing component in most of our lives.  We forget how important this is.  Try and do something every week to be at one with your spirit.   Some people meditate, some pray, some go to Nature to be in thought, some climb mountains – find what brings you peace and continue doing it.  Because, without a spiritual foundation, we are lost.

The Time/Energy Yield

In the spin cycle we call life, we spend our time and energy on work and other distractions that keep us from doing what we need to thrive.  Rather than spending our time on what’s important in life and sitting back in quiet thought, we have to entertain ourselves with thoughtless television programming, gossip websites or magazines, etc.  It’s important to relax, but these activities will not relax you.  They will only stimulate you into not moving or thinking.  Your time/energy yield is not a positive reflection of what you are trying to accomplish.  An example of good time/energy yield would be: rather than exchanging your time for excessive work at the office to generate more money to buy more food at the store; take that time, and rather than going to the office, spend that time building and developing a home vegetable garden.  You will use your time and energy to not only fulfill your consumptive needs, but you will be feeding your spiritual, emotional and physical wellness needs at the same time.

Starting Fresh

It’s a new day where anything is possible. Simplifying your life will create more room for you to do what you need to be at peace. I’ve read stories of people who dreamed of living near the water.  So, in order to save money, they sold their McMansion, their gas guzzler truck and bought a boat.  They found a creative solution to their problem that ended up being the right decision not only for their stress load, but also for their spirit.
Making the realization to simplify does not mean that you are giving up your life in order to live a life of poverty.  Quite the contrary, it means to getting rid of the non-essentials that cloud your life.  By ridding yourself of these non-essentials, you begin to clear the distortion and haze, and begin concentrating on the important things in life.  This sensible lifestyle creates a well balanced and harmonious living environment.  Think of it, you are deliberately taking the reins and slowing down your life to actually give yourself the opportunity to look at the beauty and treasures surrounding you.