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Monday, May 12, 2014

Are You Addicted to Prepping?

Original Article

by Gaye Levy
Are-You-Addicted-to-Prepping.jpg And if so, what can you do about it?
For many, prepping has been a mission and a  passion for many years.  It all starts innocently enough.  We are bit by the prepping bug and typically start storing some extra water, food, flashlights and batteries in response to a widely publicized natural disaster.  Soon we move on to first aid supplies, home defense systems and bug-out-bags.  And it goes on from there.
Somewhere along the way, prepping takes over our lives and becomes a significant lifestyle shift.  Our spare time is spent planning for the BIG EVENT, be it a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse.
Are You Addicted to Prepping?   Backdoor Survival
We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear.  And still we are compelled to do more.
And so I ask:  Is being prepared an addiction, an obsession, or a chore?  Can we call it quits if we had to?  Do we know when enough is enough?  Or are we hoarding?  And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?
These are tough questions which we each must answer for ourselves.  To get you started, let me offer up some definitions so that you can begin to formulate a response and arrive at some personal conclusions.
  • Addiction:  the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
  • Obsession:  a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
  • Chore:  a routine or minor duty or task.
  • Hoarding:  a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.
Perception often blends with reality so what I say next needs to be taken within that context.
In my own household, it seems as though every spare moment is spent learning or doing something related to preparedness.  When we shop, foremost in our mind is “would this work if the SHTF?”.   We learn new skills and revisit old ones so that we stay current and up-to-date with our survival skills.  We garden because we feel we have to and not simply for the joy of it.  Even as we consider moving to a different home, the punch list of must-haves is dictated by the need for isolation, storage facilities for three years worth of food, and a place to raise chickens and goats.
This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting!  And not only that, with extra money being directed toward the purchase of prepping supplies and gear, the budget often gets stretched to the point were  a non-prep related purchase becomes a gut-wrenching exercise in guilt.
This is not an isolated phenomena.  The like-minded people I pal around with feel the same way.  With a life that was busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities takes precious hours away from the rest of our lives.   A breaking point is reached and without realizing what has happened, prepping becomes work.

A Call For Balance In Life

How do you feel?  Has prepping taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your every day activities?  Or not so much?
To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list:
Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?
Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?
Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of your work, family and prepping activities?
What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?
Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month?  What is that?
Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?
When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?
When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?
Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?
I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself, for in spite of the dire outlook for our country and our planet, we still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and, depending on your age, a lifetime.

The Manifesto

Be content with the knowledge that you have prepared to the best of your ability and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.
Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession.  Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life.  Go out for an occasional movie.  Have a few beers with friends.  Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie.  But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.
Being prepared can be a chore, yes.  But it can also be a chore with a happy ending.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Gaye
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Friday, May 9, 2014

Sweet Wheat Berry Cranberry Salad

Original Article

by Tess Pennington

Wheat berries are a pantry must-have and are extremely versatile when it comes to using them in recipes. Although they can be ground to make delicious wheat bread, they can also be added to soups and hearty dishes as well as made into a delicious warm cereal.
Wheat berries are a true whole grain, full of vitamins and fiber and have a sweet, nutty flavor with a delightful chewy texture.

Tips to Cooking Wheat Berries

Soak ‘Em – Wheat berries can take 50 minutes to an hour to cook on the stovetop. A trick to expediting the cooking process as well as making wheat berries tender and chewy is to soak them overnight to speed up the cooking time.
Toast ‘Em - Toasting the berries for a few minutes before cooking encourages their nutty flavor to come out.  Spread them out on a sheet pan and toast in a preheated 375°F oven for about 10 minutes, just until they brown a little.  This is an optional step, but really brings the flavor of the wheat berry out.
 Get Creative – Because of the versatility of this grain, you can use them for virtually anything. Play around the spices, adding fruits and vegetables or adding them to other dishes. Here is one of my favorite cereal dishes I made with wheat berries. I’ve played around with different fruits. I love adding 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, but since we don’t always have this around, I improvise. Enjoy!

Sweet Wheat Berry Cranberry Salad

Makes 8 servings
  • 2 cups wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
For Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • salt
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Refrigerate the dressed salad to allow the flavors to meld before serving.
  3. Serve it cold or heat it up for a breakfast cereal.
Prepper's Cookbook
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One is None and Storage Lockers

English: Corridor with self-storage units (in ...

Original Article

by dlsoucy
I do not really know who started the mantra of one is none, two is one rule of survival and preparedness planning, but it is a great notion to cling to. For instance, if you are hiking alone in the woods and you lose your compass, you are screwed. I know, some will say “but I use a GPS, those are almost impossible to lose”. Maybe so, but suppose the battery goes dead? Do you see my point? If you only have one of an essential item, and you lose it or it breaks, then what?
The same goes for any other tool or bit of supply you may need in your survival plan. I remember a couple of years ago I was opening a can for supper, and the can opener fell apart after a couple of cranks of the handle. I had another can opener in the drawer, and luck had nothing to do with it, so it was no big deal. However, if I had no backup tool in waiting, I would not have been able to simply grab the back up and finish preparing the meal.
I would have had to do without, compromise, or get primitive and open the can with a huge knife. That would have been a pity as the blade would have needed substantial attention after slicing through the metal can. One is none, two is one. It is a good rule to follow and should be a central consideration as you develop your preparedness and survival plans.
One drawback to this goal of having at least two of your essentials on hand is the added cost. You have to plan on double the cost of these essentials, thus doubling the size of your preparedness budget as it relates to these essential items. Is it really necessary that we have two or more of everything? Not really. There are times when we can get away with making concessions. We may be able to come up with alternative tools or devices to compensate for the loss of some of our needs.
One suggestion I can give here is to make sure that you keep these extra tools in a separate place. Have an extra box of additional tools, but keep it close enough that you can access it when the need arises. Unfortunately, far too many people utilize offsite storage for the excess baggage we consider as needs today. Personally, I consider offsite storage a waste of resources. The money that you spend on locker rental fees could be better used for buying the things you need to develop your preparations for the coming times.
The fees for these lockers can be pretty hefty, and in some cases may be enough to equal the cost of a good supply of long-term storage foods. A one hundred dollar a month rental fee equals 1200 dollars a year. How often have you seen food deals for several months worth of food for that price? Just this week, I received a flyer from a mail order house offering a six-month lunch and dinner supply for one at only $1,299.00[1]. That is not a bad deal, and you could afford it if you can afford to pay that much for a storage locker full of household goods that you do not use.
If you do use this arrangement, perhaps you need to include this aspect of your life in your overall preparedness plan. Seriously consider what you are paying storage fees for, and decide whether it really makes sense. Granted, there will be instances where there is no other option, but for the most part, much of what we have stored in these lockers have little real survival value. If the crap hits the fan and you become forced to shelter in place, will this locker be of any benefit to you? If you have to pack up the bug out vehicle and get out of town, what happens to the stuff you have paid all that money for in storage?
I know some people who have a rental unit as their central bug out command post, with a vehicle inside it ready to roll at a moment’s notice. They keep the truck and trailer fully loaded with MRE’s and long term storage food, along with all the tools they will need to survive if they have to leave town in an emergency. This is a good plan, and, providing you can afford it, and the unit is accessible 24-7, go for it. but it takes a certain level of ability as well as acceptance of the facts to be able to comfortably commit to these sorts of resources.
Whatever you decide to do, make certain that you are comfortable with your choices, that can afford your choices, and that you have considered all aspects relating to that choice.

[1] $1,299.00 for food for one may sound like a lot of money, but the reality is that it works out to only $216.50 per person per month, for two meals a day. A little over three bucks a meal. When was the last time you had a nutritious meal for that kind of price? It costs an average of eight bucks for a burger, fries and a drink in most fast food places today.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

A Pocket Guide to Animal Tracks

Original Article

by CJW
Identifying animal tracks is an important skill for the trapper, and a handy guide like this can be a big help if you are new to trapping.  This particular guide comes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Wildlife.  You can print it out and stick it in your pack-basket for future reference.

A larger version can be found here.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Disposable Medical Exam Gloves

Original Article

by Mike Yukon

We all should have a box of these gloves around especially during a disaster aftermath. There are many uses for them, chemical spills, bacteria or diseases and other peoples blood we need not come in contact with under any circumstance. The gloves are cheap and effective.

Here are the gloves I use. There are many brands available. I recommend "Nitrile" as it is a very tough material and resists simple blunt punctures.

Disposable Medical Exam Gloves
Exam gloves can be necessary in many circumstances, such as during an accident where people are bleeding and need medical attention, caring for and bathing sick people such as family and friends, painting and staining, cleaning high germ count areas, field dressing game or butchering game etc. I also use mine when connecting and disconnecting my RV sewer hose.

The gloves are made from several different materials and come in different sizes and colors. The four types of gloves are latex, vinyl, plastic, or nitrile which is synthetic latex that's very durable and slightly more expensive. The type of gloves one uses depends on his or her possible allergy to latex and their personal preference. Some latex gloves are powdered on the inside to make them easy to put on and remove. I don't use powdered gloves and find them easy to put on.

How to Measure Your Hand Size:
Exam gloves typically come in sizes from small to extra large, with extended or smaller sizes available on some models. The size of the glove is determined by measuring the circumference of the widest part of one's hand in inches. Size small accommodates someone with a measurement of 7 to 8 inches. Extra large is for measurements of 10 to 11 inches. The only extra guideline is that, synthetic gloves, such as those made of nitrile, tend to run small. People on the high end of a size range should order nitrile gloves one size up. Gloves come in an array of colors, including blue, green, and pink. The colors available depend upon the type of glove it is and from which manufacturer they are coming from.

Where to buy them:
All drug stores handle them and that is where I buy mine. Or search online, Amazon has many choices.

Friday, May 2, 2014

10 Bug Out Options

Original Article

by Code Name Insight
Bugging out is a pretty hot topic.  There are BOBs (bug out bags), BOVs (bug out vehicles), BOLs (bug out locations), BOCs (bug out cabins), et al.  Many people think that "bugging out" doesn't happen until TS hits TF and society crumbles into a flaming heap but the necessity to bug out, and the various bug out equipment/supplies/etc will actually come into play much sooner than TEOTWAWKI.

It may be something small (like a wild fire heading your way), medium (like a chemical spill that empties your town) or bigger (like Hurricane Katrina bearing down on your city) but these are all occasions when bugging out is a good idea (or better than a good idea, legally mandated).  Where will you go if you need to clear out of your home and possibly your city on a moment's notice?  Here's ten options:

  1. A community shelter.  These are set up when there is a disaster in your area that displaces more than a few home's worth of people.  A fire, for example, might displace a few families at which time the Red Cross usually shelters them in hotels but when there is displacement of A LOT of people, shelters that can house up to a hundred or more people are generally set up.  Community shelters are also set up when people can not shelter themselves due to the severity of the problem (ie: a tornado shelter for folks living in mobile homes, a warming shelter when the power is out for a whole community, etc).  On a scale of "wonderful places to bug out to" these rate pretty low.  But they are better than nothing.
  2. Nearby neighbors, friends, and family.  If the problem that sent you fleeing from your home is limited in area (a small wild fire or flooding in low lying areas for example), one of your better bug out options may be with nearby neighbors, friends, or family.  This is generally good for the short term and leaves you close enough to your home so you can do/help with your own recovery, make further arrangements, etc.  Not a bad place to bug out to depending on the situation (you need to get along well with these people and the fewer people bugging out the better as bringing a family of two to stay is usually easier than bringing in a family of eight).
  3. Hotels and motels.  Whenever there is a disaster, a common place for people to bug out to is either nearby or further away hotels or motels.  This gives you more autonomy and privacy than staying with friends or family but can also get expensive quickly.  Some of these places will give you better rates if you intend to stay for a longer period of time or if they know you have been in a disaster.
  4. Family and friends further afield.  If the disaster is big enough, you may not be able to stay near to your home and may be forced to travel further away to seek shelter.  Staying with family or friends who live further away from you is a good option.  This is often a cheaper option (they may allow you to stay for free for at least a certain period of time) but the issue may be how to get there if roads and other transportation options are down.
  5. Boat or RV.  Nothing like sheltering in your own "home away from home".  If you have a boat or RV, along with a full gas tank, and the roads aren't too badly damaged, traffic isn't massively backed up, and/or access to useful waterways is available, this may be one of your best options.  You will be mobile so you can relocate at a moment's notice and you will have privacy plus many of the comforts of home.  Obviously this is higher up on the scale of expensive bug out options.
  6. Camping.  For a short-term bug out, camping may be an option.  Obviously you need the gear/food/fore planning to do this.  Some of the negatives to bugging out in this manner are that, depending on the disaster, many other people may have the same idea so crowding at your intended camp spot may be an issue, security may be an issue (people may not be so nice is extreme situations), the weather can be an issue, and overall, camping due to circumstances instead of by choice can be downright unpleasant (plus you will need to source/create your own food, water, shelter, latrine, etc).
  7. Squat.  Living in a squat can be either better or less better than camping but not by much.  If your area is demolished but there are still buildings standing, these places look like good enough places to shelter for many.  Again, safety and security will be issues (either with law enforcement or other residents), as will basic living resources (water, food, hygiene) but if the choice comes down to sleeping in a cardboard box or in a perfectly useful vacant building I'd probably pick the vacant building.
  8. Bug out cabin or second home.  The image is need to leave your home in a hurry due to disaster or other reasons and you have a perfectly good second home or cabin waiting for you.  The three problems you may have with this set up are #1 the expense (it is expensive to pay for two complete houses, utilities, etc), #2 security when you aren't there (your second home may look like a good target for others either to squat in or to loot with or without you there), and #3 getting there (how will you get there during a disaster?). 
  9. Another country.  In an extreme bug out situation, high-tailing it to another country may be an option.  Note that this would make you a REFUGEE which is an overall unpleasant experience by all accounts.  But extreme times require extreme measures so if this is one of your bug out options, you need to be ready by having a passport, the means to get there and set yourself up for your stay, and a plan for what to do next.
  10. On the move.  Slightly better or slightly worse than being a refugee--depending on the situation--would be a roaming refugee.  Sure it is possible to grab your BOB or your bike and just keep on moving from place to place camping one night, couchsurfing another etc. until you come up with a better plan but this is yet another situation where your safety and security could be at risk not to mention the fact that you will still need to be able to provide the basics like food and water for yourself.
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil

Original Article

by Gaye Levy
33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil When someone mentions the word “Lemon”, I immediately think “fresh, clean and pure”.  There is simply something about lemons that evokes an overall feeling of wellness and goodness.  This might come from my memories of being given a lemon to hold and to smell when I suffered the occasional childhood illness.
Using lemons for health and home is nothing new, since back in ancient times, lemons were used to help heal a variety of ailments.  It has been suggested that the Romans used lemons and lemon rinds to fight off disease as well as to ward off insects, uplift moods and even freshen clothes.
33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil   Backdoor Survival
In modern times we have lemon essential oil which is a concentration of oils that have been cold pressed from the rind of fresh lemons.  Pure lemon essential oil is pale yellow in color and has the aroma of freshly peeled fruit.  It’s fresh, clean scent activates the body and the mind and serves as a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antiseptic.
Today I list some of the terrific if not awesome uses for lemon essential oil, loosely organized by category.  Some of these you may know about but others might be new.  You might find a surprise or two here.

33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil for Home and Health

Health & Healing

1.  Soothe Sore Throat:  Add 2-3 drops of lemon oil to  hot tea, or drink it with warm water and honey to help soothe a sore throat.
2.  Coughs, Colds & General Congestion:  Rub a few drops of lemon oil on your chest and/or throat when you feel congested. Repeat several times daily. (You can also diffuse lemon oil into the air for help with respiratory problems.
3.  Stop a Runny Nose:  Use a little carrier oil and a drop of lemon oil in the palm of your hand.  Get your fingertip wet and swipe each side of your nose.  This really works!
4.  Treat Allergies & Hay Fever:  Apply a drop of lemon oil behind the ear or under the nose 2-3 times a day to help fight seasonal allergies. Alternately apply to the bottoms of your feet.
5.  Energy Booster:  Add a couple of drops of both lemon and peppermint essential oils to water for an instant boost in energy.
6.  Sanitize Your Toothbrush:  Put a  drop of lemon oil on your toothbrush then swish it around in a bit of water to immediately clean and sanitize it.
7.  Bad Breath:  Place 4 drops of lemon oil in 4 ounces of warm water and gargle to get rid of bad breath.
8.  Treat Acne: Apply three drops of lemon essential oil to a cotton ball and swipe onto the affected area, repeating up to three times a day.
9.  Fight Fatigue:  Moisten a cloth with five drops of lemon essential oil and hold directly underneath your nose. Breathe in the scent for at least two minutes.
10. Stress Relief:  Add ten to fifteen drops of essential lemon oil to your bath water and soak for at least fifteen minutes.
11. Treat Minor Wounds: Essential lemon oil is a natural antiseptic. Place five drops of lemon essential oil in a bowl of three ounces of water. Wipe the wound with a sterilized cloth or pad that has been dipped into the mixture. Continue this process until the wound appears clean.
12. Remove Callouses, Corns and Warts:  Apply a drop of Lemon undiluted, twice a day until they go away.
13. Heal Canker Sores:  Add a drop of Lemon to a shot glass of water and swish around the mouth for several minutes to alleviate canker sores.
14. Relieve Cold Sores & Fever Blisters:  Dab a drop of lemon oil on the cold sore 2 to 3 times daily.  If the lemon oil stings, dilute first with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil.
15. Control Psoriasis:  Using a roller ball, apply lemon oil to the affected area 2 to 3 times a day.  For an extra boost, top with DIY Miracle Healing Salve, rubbing it in lightly.
16. Clear Up Nail Fungus: Apply a few drops of lemon oil to the affected nail several times a day. Continue until the nail fungus clears up.  Note:  This may take a few months.
17. Skin Brightener:  Brighten a dull  complexion by adding a drop of lemon oil to your daily moisturizer.  Be sure to follow-up with a sunscreen since lemon oil (and all citrus oils) increase photosensitivity.
18. Improve Mental Clarity:  Diffuse lemon in your work or study space to improve mental accuracy and concentration.


19. Glass Cleaner:  Add lemon oil to a spray bottle filled with water and use as a glass cleaner.  This will even clean the hard water spots and soap scum off of a glass shower door!
20. Clean and Sanitize Toilet Bowls:  Add a few drops of lemon oil along with baking soda to clean and sanitize your toilet bowl.
21. Disinfect Cutting Boards and Kitchen Surfaces:  Rub a few drops of lemon oil on cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces to disinfect and sanitize.
22. Kill Germs:  To kill germs, soak kitchen cloths and household rags overnight in a bowl of water with a drop or two of lemon oil.
23. Air Freshener:  A few drops of lemon essential oil added to a spray bottle filled with water makes an all-natural air freshener.  Better yet, add 8 drops to a diffuser and let the wonderful smell clean and freshen the air.
24. Remove Odors:  A drop or two will remove odors.  For example, you can put lemon oil on a cotton ball and stuff into stinky shoes or add a few drops to a diaper pail.
25. Freshen Laundry:  Add a few drops to your DIY homemade laundry soap or add a drop to the final rinse cycle to freshen up your laundry.  This will also leave your washer smelling nice.
26. Degreaser:  Lemon oil will remove grease and grime from yours hands, as well as tools, dishes,  and household items.  It will also remove tree sap and the residue left behind from glues and labels.
27. Wood Cleaner:  A few drops of lemon oil added to some olive oil creates a non-toxic wood cleaner and furniture polish.


28. Mosquito Repellent:  Mix lemon oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and run over your skin to repel mosquitos who hate the smell.
29. Heal Insect Bites:  Apply two drops directly to the bite and lightly rub.  Do this two to three times during the day.
30. Hand Sanitizer:  Rub a drop of Lemon oil on your hands after using a public bathroom to sanitize your hands.

Food & Water

31. Improve the Taste of Water:  A a drop or two of lemon oil to your glass of water to improve the taste.
32. Flavor Enhancer:  A a drop or two of lemon essential oil to bland food to liven it up.  Make sure you are using therapeutic grade lemon oil.  You will know this by the supplement information on the label.
33. Prolong Shelf-Life of Fresh Produce:  Fill a bowl with cold water, add 2–3 drops of Lemon oil. Drop cleaned fruit into the water, coating all surfaces.  This will  extend the shelf life of fresh produce.


Lemon oil can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. So, if you apply lemon oil directly to your skin, stay out of direct sunlight for at least 8 hours and use a sunscreen before venturing outdoors.
Also note that although lemon essential oil is non-toxic, some individuals will find that it can cause skin irritation. This is true of any essential oil.  If that happens, or if you are concerned, dilute the lemon oil in a carrier oil such as coconut oil, Plain Ole’ Salve, or another carrier oil of choice.

The Final Word

The nice thing about essential oils is that a little goes a long way.  Not only that, if kept cool, dark place and they will keep for years.  I say this because at first, the cost for a small bottle may seen pricey but the reality is that when compared with over-the-counter remedies and toxic household cleaners, the cost is nominal.
It goes without saying that not all essential oils are created equal.  You want to purchase a pure, 100% essential oil and not an oil that is premixed with artificial or chemical derivatives.
For healing purposes, I use essential oils from Spark Naturals because they deliver a high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil at reasonable price. Plus, they can be used both topically and internally, if that is your choice.   That said, there are many fine brands and the nice thing about lemon essential oil is that is eminently affordable.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Gaye