Getting Started: A Primer Series for New Preppers, part 4

Welcome back beginning Preppers. Today we’re going to talk about some of the things that were in your inventory.  For instance, your bank account needs to have enough money for three months. That is the amount of time most financial advisers say you need to be financially prepared should you lose a job or should there be an emergency.  In the case of a dear family member, this turned out to be important.  He became ill and over a period of time he became so ill that he was no longer able to work. He had saved money and was able to remain in his own home for an additional four months. He was able to get the extra month because he had not used any money unnecessarily for gas and entertainment. Unfortunately when he lost his job he also lost his health insurance, life insurance, and any other benefits being employed offers. At over 30 years old he discovered he would have to move in with his parents in order to survive.  Having been on his own for more than a decade, this was a bitter pill to swallow.

While most preppers don’t think about a debilitating illness as something to prepare for, it speaks to the fact that anything can and does happen.  We should be prepared for as many contingencies as possible, and illness is something that happens in every family.

We need to consider having cash reserves in a bank or elsewhere.  While I don’t condone burying money in the backyard, I know that some people do.  When you consider that all it takes to find your cash reserves in the backyard is to wait for you to leave and a metal detector, it seems silly to use that method of cash storage.  Some people think that it’s okay to bury paper money because it’s not hard metal like coins. This could be a mistake because today’s currency has metal and can be found by a metal detector if it’s not buried deep enough. I don’t know how deep you would have to bury it but who would want to take a chance.

Hiding cash is always a difficult problem.  Most of the money in the world will test positive for cocaine and K-9s have been known to hit on it.  Law enforcement officers know right where to look, no matter how sneaky you think you were.  I’ve seen them work.  They look in places I would have never thought.  I guess I am not sneaky enough.  Thugs and thieves won’t hesitate to dismantle your property plank by plank if they think there might be a substantial gain for them.

It seems the best protection against the loss of your cash reserves is a multi-faceted approach.  Keep information to yourself, that includes not sharing information with your teenage kids who might tell because they think they can trust their friends.  If you feel you have to tell your kids, only provide them enough information so they can access one emergency store of money.  If TSHTF you can fill them in as needed.  Have a number of secured locations for safes.  Divide the money in your safes according to your plan of how you will access your emergency stashes.  Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person or in your car.  People get mugged and cars are burgled the same as homes.

 

 

Space Weather – Update

Having read the NOAA space weather reports for a while, one thing never changes.  They are SO boring!  For the most part, they boildown to “everything is OK”.  Then once in a while it says something like aircraft in certain regions will experience high levels of radiation.   Most people know commercial aircraft doesn’t fly in those regions very much.

Flight Map

Nothing illustrates that more than a map of global flight paths like this one found on Crude Oil Peak. The people most at risk are astronauts because they are more likely to be exposed and are outside the protection of the earth’s atmosphere.  We just never think about those things, even though we learned them in school, or should have.

But what is most important about the space weather forecasts is that while even in its experimental stages, it works.  The reports cover three to seven day outlooks based on what is observed on the solar disk.  As the technology improves it might become as important as the weather forecasts.  People might even know in advance when to turn off their electronic devices.  It’s going to be interesting to watch this technology develop into something we can use as easily as we use the nightly weather report.

References:

“Flight Disruptions in Europe a Foretaste for Period of Oil Decline.” Weblog post. Crude Oil Peak RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013.

“NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center.” NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013.

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 3

Today’s skills to discuss are mechanics, emergency medical and security.  If you are not mechanically inclined, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.  It just means that it will take you longer than someone else and that you might fail a few times.  There isn’t anything about engines and motors for our applications that you can’t learn from a repair manual.  If you plan to re-purpose engines and motors for a preparedness purpose, then you need to be able to repair them should they break.  Repairmen won’t be around.  You need someone in your group to repair everything from vehicles and small engines to a bicycle.

Once you know who your repairman and plumbers are, that is only half of it. Your next step is to fully assess the tools and parts available to determine where you stand should you need to make repairs, but we will discuss how to go about it in a later post.

Emergency medical is one of the most important things to consider.  Anything can happen during an event.  People can be injured by the event itself.  They could be injured defending the home.  Children can be injured just doing what children do.  Even if you are not into preparing for a major event, the responsible person should have an emergency medical kit.  A basic kit only contains a few items and the list can be found on the Red Cross website.  But for a sustained amount of time, the list is longer and depends on your individual needs.  Don’t forget to include prescription medications.

There can’t be too much security if an event rocks your world.  Security is one thing you can’t make up on the fly.  You, and everyone in your group, must prepare in advance, refine your procedures and practice your methods.  Practice is important so that everything becomes automatic.  You don’t have to stop to think about what to do next.  You just do it.  You need to have that muscle memory fully developed before you need it.

How’s your notebook look now?  You should have a list of things to inventory, assess and evaluate in your home, garage and your perimeter.  By now, you should also have the information gathered from part one and part two of this series.  Tomorrow we will discuss the gathered information and what to do with it.  Tune in!

 

 

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 2

Today, you get to learn more about yourself and those who live with you.  Following is a list of skills your household will need if an event  requires you to survive on your own without outside resources.

  • cooking (from scratch, not convenience foods)
  • sewing
  • mechanics
  • first aid
  • security

This is a partial list of skills needed.  The list will changed based on your situation.  For instance, if you live in a rural setting and have to maintain your water supply system, you will need plumbing skills.  We’ll get more in to situational skills in later issues.  For now, add the assessment of skills inventory to your notebook.

Now we will examine the skills listed above in more depth.  Most people would look at that list and think “no big deal” when it comes to cooking and sewing.  Those people would be mistaken.  My wife is an accomplished cook and seamstress.

My wife can feed a family of five for less than $5.00 and we walk away feeling full and satisfied.  On top of that, she makes delightful dishes to eat.  During the most difficult financial situations, she has been able to put meals on the table when others thought there wasn’t any food in the house.  She is talented at using what we have on hand to come up with a meal for how ever many people happen to be sitting down to dinner.  She knows how to use spices and seasonings to make even the most lowly dishes taste heavenly.

This is all important because in our modern society with financial cutbacks in education, many schools have shut down home economics classes.  Our students are only going to learn these skills in homes where their parents have time to teach them.  While many families do attempt to teach their children how to cook this or that dish, few families actually teach their children how to effectively and efficiently manage a kitchen.  And that is the skill you need in an emergency or survival situation.  You need someone who can manage the most precious resources of food and water.

The only way to get that skill is to learn all you can about cooking and kitchen management.  If you are the person designated to manage the kitchen, read everything you can get your hands on.   Cookbooks are great, but you need food textbooks.  Check around for high school home economics texts from 1940 to 1955.

Now about the sewing, during the years our children were being raised, she sewed all their clothes until they entered junior high school.  The only clothing we purchased for them were shoes, undergarments and jeans.  Actually, she sewed her own clothes since she was in high school.  Her ability to sew saved our family thousands of dollars.  On top of that, the kids enjoyed going with her to choose fabrics and patterns.   Our daughter liked that no one else could ever have the clothes she had.  The boys took pride in that they had custom made clothes.  Even in high school, she made clothes they loved and that other kids asked her to make for them.  I’ve watched my wife sew.  It’s amazing.  She can take a piece of fabric and “see” what it will be and look like when she is finished.  If there is a design she wants. but doesn’t want to pay designer prices, she simply sews it.  She says anyone can sew.  She doesn’t lie.  Anyone can buy fabric and a pattern, then follow the instructions to create clothing.

Tomorrow we will discuss mechanics, first aid and security.  Tune in!

 

Chicken Talk

There has been much discussion about producing meat for the family in an economical way and to be able to sustain that production should TSHTF.  One of my favorite things growing up was helping grandma gather the eggs and tend to the chickens.  She kept a flock of about 150 chickens in two houses.

In the first house she kept the laying hens.  They were leghorns.  Those birds rarely sat on the nest, but if one did, watch out.  It would peck you if you tried to get her eggs.  The roosters were mean as all get out too.  One rooster figured a way out of the pen and took to guarding the property.  When I got off the school bus, that mean old rooster chased me right up the sidewalk and into the house, pecking me all the way and making me bleed.  One of my uncles saw it peck me and that night we had rooster for supper.  I was glad to eat it.

The second house was the brooder house where she kept chicks until they were old enough (pullets) to be out in the pen.  Once they reached 12 to 16 weeks of age, they became frozen chicken in the freezer.  We spent days plucking 20 per day.  Once it was done, we had chicken to last us until next spring and we would start all over again.

Leghorns aren’t good for meat production, but they eat less food and produce more eggs than other breeds.  Some breeds produce some fewer eggs, but are also good for eating with more meat.  What it comes down to is that you have to choose what is most important to you.  Do you want meat birds?  If you do, you have to sacrifice egg production.  Higher egg production sacrifices meat production.  If you don’t want to incubate eggs, you might might to choose a broody breed.  Incubating eggs is a pain.  If the hens will sit, so why should I be fiddling with that darn machine?

I’ve noticed hens that are broody tend to be more aggressive than those who sit the nest.  As for roosters, if there are not enough hens per rooster ratio, you will see elevated aggression to anyone who enters the pen.  You will also see the roosters aggressive and violent to each other at a higher than necessary rate.  It might just be my experience, but from what I’ve read, it seems other writer’s have had similar experiences.  The level of docility is important if you are going to have children helping tend chickens.  If your child gets injured by a chicken, he likely will not want to help again.  And, any wounds you get from livestock could result in infection.  For me, I will choose less egg production for broody, less aggression and more meat.  Do your research well.  There are so many breeds and you need to choose ones that are hardy and will meet the needs of your family.

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 1

I’m not talking to the ones who have stockpiled enough food and water to last decades.  This is for the individuals and families out there who are working with what they have to prepare for the emergency they might be facing next week or next month or even next year.  That’s the thing about emergencies.  You don’t know when they will come or how bad off it will leave you.  It is comforting to you and your family to know if things go bad, you have a plan.

Being prepared is difficult because it requires planning, action, prioritizing, and dedication.  Everyone would like to have cash on hand, a secure source of food and water, and a safe shelter.  Unfortunately, as with anything else, available resources matter when it comes to preparing for an emergency.  For these reasons, many people don’t try to prepare.  They succumb to the fatalistic view that if it happens it happens and they accept a dismal fate in the face of an emergency.  You are not like that or you would not be reading this right now.  For you, regardless of your monetary resources, there is a way.

So, lets talk about how you can acquire needed items for your preparedness plan if you don’t have the money to buy it.

Start with taking inventory of these things:

  • banking and savings accounts
  • hand tools
  • power tools
  • take inventory of the garage for wood, hardware, and the like
  • everything with an engine or motor
  • all fuel types on hand
  • assess how long your existing food supply will last
  • assess your utility usage
  • emergency medical supplies
  • reliability of available transportation in an emergency

All of this is just part one of getting prepared.  You can’t know where you are going unless you know where you are.  Tune in for part two of this series tomorrow.   Have your inventory notebook handy.  You’re going to need it.

Meat Production in Nevada for Preparedness

By Joshua Livengood

I have met several people who are having a difficult time figuring out their food supply in Nevada.  Specifically, their meat supply.  Since many rural preppers meat supply includes livestock grazing on their farm. it makes sense that people in Nevada would want to utilize their land for the same purpose.  Unfortunately, in the desert, it is acres per cow rather than cows per acre.  This means the herd of cattle could be vulnerable to straying out of sight of the farmer, and straying into the sights of wildlife.  In the event of some disastrous event, the cattle will also
Source: Nevada Preppers Network

So Your Bug Out Land is Rocky?

By Joshua Livengood

Some people choose BOL locations based on how difficult it would be for the nearest urban dwellers to get there.  But, when you consider why those remote locations are sparsely populated, you know there is a reason.  Population settlement patterns the world over are dictated by human needs for food, water and shelter.

Coastal regions all over the world are also the most populated.  Rivers and lakes have high concentrations of population.  In some ancient societies wells were dug, but let’s face it.  Why drill a well when you can just tap into a lake or river?  Besides, wells often run dry.
Source: Colorado Preppers Network

Who’s Afraid of Who?

We already know you can’t go to the airport, train station or bus station without being surveilled.  The airports’ announcements regularly proclaim you are being video and audio taped.  Granted, they tried to use the voice that sounded the least threatening they could find.  For some time now, there have been cameras on city buses.  Now, however, government is moving to add audio to city buses as well.  Gosh.  They found one more way to mute the masses.

Considering we already live in a society where a parent can swat their five year old child on the butt in a parking lot as they are heading home, and the police be waiting for them when they get home, (yes, that happened to our next door neighbors) how on earth are we going to ever manage our children if we are afraid every word we ever say will come back to haunt us in the same manner?  What if it isn’t about children but instead a private intimate conversation with our partner that even those sitting near us can’t hear?  The microphones can, can’t they?  After all, isn’t the conversations they want to hear the very same ones you don’t want anyone else to hear?  Don’t they have enough money woes that they don’t need to add to them?

 

Reference:  Government Technology, Dec. 12, 2012

Highlights from Michigan Preppers Network

Doomsday Preppers, the 3% Solution

I, like many of you, watched the start of the new season of Doomsday Preppers. One thing struck me after watching the two hours’ worth of shows, the low odds that the “experts” felt the preppers were preparing for. Hyper inflation, EMP, Madrid fault earthquake, California earthquake, riots, terrorism, and all the others reasons that folks prepare were listed rather low as a probability.
Ok, I understand that some things are well within the realm of possibility, but low in the realm of probability. Just because something can happen doesn’t mean it will happen. Elizabeth Shue could leave her husband and become my mistress, but really is that ain’t gonna happen. Possible but not probably.
I am going to pick a number out of the air to use as an example. My number may be close or way off, but for this effort we will use it anyway. Let us say that the chance of any event happening is only 3%. Earthquake, 3%, terrorist attack, 3%, hyper inflation, 3%, and so on. That is a low number yet still within the possible range. Now, make a list of all the things that can happen. Add EMP, riots, peak oil, drought, global warming, super volcano, and all the rest of the things we have ever thought about. To my line of thinking we should now add all of those 3%’s together and we get a fairly high odd of SOMETHING happening. It doesn’t have to be something far-fetched like a Lake Michigan Tsunami wiping out western Michigan. (Probably a lower number than 3% chance.) All we have to do is realize that something can happen.
Ten, fifteen, maybe twenty different things are mentioned as reasons for prepping. If you add that 3% to each one it doesn’t take long to get to a 30%, 40% or 60% chance that something can happen. Those are not great odds. Even if my 3% number is off we can still be looking at a fifty-fifty change or even one in four chance of something bad happening.
If I were telling Nat Geo my reasons for prepping it would not be one thing alone. I have taken the shotgun approach for my prepping and plan for … read more