Should Preppers Take Vacations?

Vacationing In New York City
Taking vacations allows you to meet people from around the world, broaden your way of thinking, and provides memories for the rest of your life to share with family and friends.

One way of thinking is that the prepared should remain close to their preps because they need to protect them, continue prepping, and of course be near their preps should some event happen.  It sounds reasonable, right?  After all, isn’t that why people prepare?  So they will have what they need when they need it?  Really?  All the time?  No summer vacation nor a trip to the city to take in a Broadway show?

Since you all know we believe in preparing you might be wondering why all the questions about going on vacations.  There’s several reasons.  Let’s talk about them in a serious manner.  They are important to you, your family, and are important to the image society has of preppers.

Everyone needs time away from the normal routine and environment.  Everyone.  Even if it’s just a few miles and a few days.  It gives us time to regenerate our mind, soul, and energy.  The longer the vacation, the more regeneration happens.  If you can take two or more weeks of vacation, do it.  When you come back you will be fresh, see things in a better light, be more productive, and feel less body stress.

It’s good for your job and your prepping activities to take time off.  The consequences of not taking time off is burn out and health issues related to stress.  When burn out happens, work is delayed or even stopped.  Not fulfilling your goals, either at work or home, may be stressful for many people.  Think of it this way, if you are burned out at work, how can you avoid thinking about work at home?  Burn out effects not only the employee but also the employee’s family.

Being irritable all the time is no way to live.  It’s no way to work or prepare either.  Irritable people are difficult to tolerate even for short periods of time.  Family members, especially children, won’t understand the outbursts and complaining.  Co-workers will avoid the irritable employee every chance they get.

Stress can be habit forming.  By that I mean the brain functions in specific ways related to how you live.  People who live with stress all the time find it more difficult to relax now and later.  Relaxing actually must be practiced to be good at it.

Taking vacations, two to three weeks are best, helps you manage stress now and in the future.  Certainly as prepared people, we expect there will be stress in the future.  We need to be able to deal with it in the most effective manner and so do those who will be living with us through that situation.

Highly stressed and burned out people present themselves differently to society than relaxed and replenished people.  In the workforce, stress and burn out is “expected” and sometimes confused with a dedicated employee.  But a prepared person with the same levels of stress and burn out are viewed differently because the unprepared don’t understand the prepared person’s behaviors.  Because of this, they call us crazy and other less kind words.  They don’t understand why we do what we do, because at times it is stress added to the already stressful life we lead.

There’s a fine line between being prepared and being afraid.  Prepared people live their lives just like everyone else, they are just ready for an event.  Afraid people are also prepared, but they don’t leave their homes or preps for more than a day or two “in case” something should happen.  Living that way is not living and contributes to increased stress levels for all members of the household.  Just take a leap of faith that the event won’t happen during the two weeks you choose to go on a trip.  Plan how you will get home if it does.  Then have fun with your family.

So, preppers, become more productive at home and work, enjoy life more, handle stress better, and present yourself in a better light to society.  The memories you create with your family and friends during vacations will go a long way towards keeping you together, happy and healthy if an event happens.  Do your duty to the prepper movement by taking regular and long vacations.  Unplug.  Disconnect.  Enjoy life outside the routine.

ABC News
ABC News
The Energy Project
Success Under Stress
New York Times
Wall Street Journal


Wood Resources – Not Always Easy to Get

Tree Stumps Make Great Fire WoodWhile many people are stocking up on propane and gasoline to operate furnaces and generators, others are stocking up on wood.  Many people think that having a large supply of propane will get them through any hard time that might come along.  And, for the most part that’s true.  Not everyone believes there is a possibility, however remote, that they could run out of propane before the difficult time is over.  This makes wood one of the most important resources.  There’s a reason for that.

Every family will need wood in the event of a significant world changing event for heating and cooking.  Many people think if something happens they’ll just go out and get some.  The question to them is “How?”.  How are they going to cut down the tree?  Do they even own a chain saw with plenty of gas for it?  How will they get the wood if they don’t have a truck or other way to get the wood home?  How will they get wood if they live in an area with few or no trees?  How many people are they willing to fight off for one tree, or even part of a tree?

Collecting and storing wood should be considered one of the most important activities for prepping.  Here are some tips to help you collect wood for your emergency stores.

  • In regions sparsely wooded or nearly no trees, finding wood can be as simple as going to your local dump.  The same place you go for mulch also has mountains of wood.  Much of it is going to be stumps.  That’s okay.  Stumps make great camp stoves.  Choose your stumps well.  Make sure they are not eaten through by termites.  That’s the last thing you want to bring home.  There’s going to be other wood as well.  
  • While at the dump, or other area with cut boards, be sure not to take any construction wood that has been treated with chemicals.  The chemicals will not only get in the air for your family to breath, but will also contaminate any food you cook.  What good is it to survive an event if you or your family is going to suffer a worse end for it?
  • When there is a storm or tornado that downs many trees, be a volunteer.  Not only are you helping those in need, but you are also stocking up on wood.  Haul off as many loads of wood as you can.  Cut downed trees and put them in the back of your truck or on your trailer.  In such a situation, charging someone to haul off the wood seems wrong, especially when benefiting from their troubles.
  • If you live where there are no trees to harvest, be ready to travel.  That means have enough fuel set aside for your chainsaw, a trailer as big as the law allows, and a truck to tow the setup.  Go to where the disasters are to volunteer your services.  If you have to drive a few hundred miles to get the wood, the money is nothing if that wood is the difference between freezing to death and cooking.
  • Store the wood appropriately.  How many times have you seen a picturesque woodpile next to a building, or in a row along a fence?  That’s an okay way to store the wood if you are going to use it all up in a season.  Needing to store cut wood for many years?  No more stacking it directly on the ground.  It needs to be off the ground so that all the wood can dry after a rain.  Some people use the big round metal wood racks.  Others lay it on a concrete floor or patio.  What ever you choose, be certain the wood can dry quickly.  Cover it so moisture isn’t so much a problem.  Some people cover it with plastic tarps.  Others store wood in the wood shed.
  • If wood must be stored outside, it is important to inspect it regularly for termites.  Any wood found to be infested, get rid of it, and the termites, quickly.  Do not bring termite infested wood into the house.  Burn that wood outside.  Any wood showing signs of rot, use it up first.
  • Wood stored outside or on the ground will absorb moisture either from rain, fog, or sitting on the damp ground.  The problem with this is that wet wood won’t burn.  Well, not easily and maybe not safely.  If your wood supply gets wet, remember to place wet wood on an existing fire.  It will dry and burn, but the moisture trapped inside will cause it to “snap”, “crackle” and “pop”.  This results in flying hot embers.  Splitting the down the length will help it dry and burn better.  If you don’t have an existing fire, you’ll have to start small with twigs, paper and other small things to get the fire started.  Gradually add larger pieces of wood until the fire is the size you desire.
  • If the only wood is a tree stump still in the ground, use it.  Saw down to ground level in a pattern like a six slice pie.  Light the fire in the center and between “slices” to use as a cook top.

If you have other ideas to add to the post, please do!

For a Rainy Day — Not Just for Preppers Anymore

walmart-adsIt seems everyone is jumping on the prepper wagon, even if they don’t want to admit it, they want the money generated by prepper customers.  Case in point?  Wal-Mart has a new program for stocking your pantry for a rainy day.  Isn’t that what prepping is?  Being prepared for when the harvest doesn’t come, not for when the actual rain falls.  But we all know that.

Wal-mart is offering free home delivery of case lots of canned goods and other items.  With a little comparison shopping, it might be interesting to see how their prices stack up to prices in various parts of the country, and if it is less expensive than doing the shopping for yourself.  For the urban prepper who can’t garden, it might be a good deal since cities like New York can be a nightmare to grocery shop if you have to carry things up a bunch of stairs.

I’m all for companies offering large discounts on case lots and then delivering them free of charge to my door.  They will come neatly packed in their original boxes, already labeled with all the information you need, and easy to stack.  Maybe more companies will offer those services in the future.

An alternative is home delivery from some of the local grocery stores like Safeway, Von’s, and others.  A quick internet search will provide you with a list of grocery stores that home deliver for little or not extra charge.  Here’s what I got when I did this search.

Preppers are busy people.  Why not save yourself the time and trouble of going to the store when someone is willing to do that job for you.  Free up your time to do other important activities only you can do.  Save gas money.  What is the dollar amount value of your time?  Do the math.  It might be worth a $15.00 delivery fee if it saves you $6.00 in gas and three hours of time at a meager $10.00 per hour.


Zombie Apocalypse?

I get all sorts of crazy requests.  This one sounded fun, or funny, I’m not sure which.  I had to post it because it’s amazing how quickly the rest of the world doesn’t mind talking and preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but to prepare for a real event possibility is considered silly.   In any event, if you are prepping for zombies or some event, at least you are going to be one of the prepared ones if a world changing event happens.

Here is a flyer asking for people to join up with zombie preppers to make a T.V. show.  Enjoy.


Sherry’s Hurricane Story


By Sherry Churchill

 Hurricane Ivan changed me forever. My husband, Larry, and I lived in Pensacola, Florida in September of 2004. Having retiredOur dream home, before the wrath of hurricane Ivan. in 2002, we built a lovely brick home across the street from Perdido Bay. As a young retiree, I felt the exhilaration of life without clocks or supervisors. I didn’t think much about hurricanes, doomsday, or prepping. My thoughts were about our next travel opportunity.

But then, it happened. The warnings began. Evacuation orders given. Hurricane Ivan was taking an eastern turn and predicted to hit Gulf Shores, Alabama. We were just barely east of there, which meant we would get the worst of the winds. Ivan, in fact, set the world record of 33 six-hour periods with an intensity at or above Category 4 strength.

Returning home after hurricane Ivan.

I had never evacuated before. A northern transplant, hurricanes were something you only saw in the movies. My southern-born husband yawned at Category 1 and 2 hurricanes. However, we were so close to the Gulf, it would be foolish to stay. We finally decided to evacuate to a small, pet-friendly hotel about 30 miles inland. As we reluctantly packed for ourselves and our two cats, my husband soberly made a frightening statement: “Pack as if you are never coming home”.

That night in the hotel was the most frightening of my life.  At 2 a.m., the power 

Avoiding road hazards after hurricane Ivan was difficult.

went out. My husband was pacing as I lay on the bed, listening to the terrifying winds. Suddenly, we heard a cracking sound and the hotel roof caved in from the wind and water. If Larry hadn’t grabbed me by my ankle and pulled me off the bed, I might have been killed as the drywall hit my bed exactly where I had been laying. The bed collapsed and our two cats were under it. I was certain they were dead. Larry handed me his flashlight and lifted the debris and the bed to find both cowering cats, terrified but alive. We spent the next five hours waiting for daylight in the tiny bathroom until we were rescued by hotel staff. We had to climb over debris to make it to the door.

What our homes and those of our neighbors looked like after the hurricane.

Later that day we were allowed to return home, and as we slowly navigated the available roads, the devastation was shocking. Neighbors who had stayed in their homes swore they never would again. The sound of the wind and nearby tornadoes was so terrifying it almost stopped their hearts. The streets flooded, some as high as the street signs, homes were completely destroyed. It looked like a war zone. Thankfully, our 2002 home was built with the new hurricane requirements and we suffered minimal structural damage. Trees were broken in half, littering the landscape everywhere we looked. Our pool water was black, our fence torn down and flooding came right up to the front door. But, thanks to my husband’s placement of sandbags, and the fact that our lot was a little higher than others, it got no further than the porch. Our aftermath was almost miraculous when compared with so many others nearby.

The insulation, soaked with Ivan's wrath, covers everything.

We were so relieved we had just bought a generator. Larry had a couple cans of gas, so we were able to run our refrigerator and freezer, a fan, and we alternated the TV and a lamp. Everything was closed, absolutely everything. I know there was assistance in the area from FEMA and other groups, but we never saw it. The men on our street would take turns driving two hours up into Alabama to get gas for everyone. We were without power for more than two weeks. I never appreciated air conditioning so much in my life as then. The heat was stifling. Had we not been able to run the generator around four hours per day, we would have lost all our food. I had a few canned meats and soups, but most of my food was in the freezer. We cooked on a camp-stove  and basically returned to a primitive lifestyle. It was strange and inconvenient, but also glorious. I was happy to be alive.

Our house was still standing, but other homes were completely demolished. We are now in our sixties – able-bodied as we can be for our age, and we have dramatically beefed up our preps. We live near Tampa in an area that seems to be safer from storms, with some kind of invisible bubble that sends winds and weather north or south of us. High winds still frighten me. 

Now, nearly ten years after Ivan, I am concerned about many things: hurricanes, terrorism, economic collapse, nuclear dangers. As a Christian, I know where I’m ultimately going, which is the most important prep of all. But we now have a safe room, six months of freeze-dried food, water supplies, bug-out bags, all the provisions we can afford on a retiree’s income. Some of my friends call me crazy. However, they also say they’ll come knocking on my door if something happens. I jokingly reply that I will feed the first ten people that show up and, after that, I’m answering the door with my gun. Meanwhile, my prayer is that our preps will grow old with us, unused and still sealed. May God have mercy on us all.

For Sherry’s response to Hurricane Ivan and future hurricanes, see her article at the Florida Preppers’ site.

Hurricane Season and Livestock

Hurricane season and livestock are not a well matched pair.  One of the horrid things we see during hurricanes is the loss of livestock.  There are situations where evacuating livestock is not possible but, given the nature of hurricanes, the well prepared farmer will have a plan to evacuate all the livestock he can.

Others don’t even attempt to evacuate them.  Why?  Mostly because of poor planning. Often people purchase insurance to cover agricultural losses.  Animals are property to be insured.  Another reason is because hurricanes are unpredictable until two days out.  By then, most people have evacuated.  They don’t want to take their livestock because they think the chances of hurricane hitting some where else is greater than the chances of it hitting their home.  Lastly, they often think it won’t be as “bad” as that and the animals will be fine.

The prepper view of livestock should be not so willing to abandon animals when the threat of a storm looms in the future.  The purpose of prepping is to have the preps available when the disaster makes itself at home in your front yard.  Your animals should be enjoying the same level of safety as you.  If they are not, aside from being inhumane, you could lose all the time and money you put into raising them.

Deer are part of some preppers' livestock plan.Chickens for instance, take five or six months to start laying eggs.  If you let them die in a disaster, you will have to wait another six months to have fresh eggs while investing the time and money again.  The same goes for the rest of your livestock whether it be deer, hogs, goats or cattle.

What to do?  Plan well in advance. Get to know people in  areas of the state or country who will be willing to temporarily house your animals for you.  You might have to pay them something, but it should be worth it.  If you are friends with landowners a reciprocal agreement for helping each other out in case of such events would be beneficial to both.  Remember, whoever you have these agreements with, the person needs to be outside the potential disaster area.  If your livestock bug-out place is within the zone, you have gained nothing.  Make sure your animals have all their vaccines and other veterinary attention taken care of before hurricane season.  Healthy animals whether stressful situations better.

Consider how you will transport your animals and when you will begin the process of evacuating your animals.  For hurricanes you can have as long as a week or more to decide what to do.  For instance, if you see there is a possibility of evacuating  your livestock you should take the extra bags of food you will need for at least a week to the livestock bug-out location. It would also be a good time to take your veterinary supplies to the bug-out location.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to evacuate all your livestock, no matter how much you want to.  If this is the case, there are things you should do long before a hurricane is on the way.  Check the barn and other buildings for loose boards, fence or other things that could become flying debris.  Check the buildings routinely to reduce the amount of effort required later. Have a stockpile of fresh water and food for your animals.  Much livestock is lost because they swallowed saltwater.  Animals inside a barn can be seriously injured or killed if a tornado hits the barn.  Animals should not be locked in the barn during a hurricane and will instinctively look for higher ground.  But if your animals are within range of the storm surge, they may experience a higher death rate.

Caged animals and birds can be moved to the safest location in the garage if they can’t go with you.  Remember to take the same precautions in the garage as for the barn.  Once all animals are tended, be sure to turn off electricity and water before you leave.  For the farmer who names his animals before they go to market or become dinner, leaving them behind in such a situation is heartbreaking.

When returning to your home after the disaster, your livestock will need immediate attention.  Take your veterinary first aid kit, and maybe the vet you partnered with for the zombie apocalypse to assess the welfare of each animal.  Getting animals to safety as quickly as possible will be the first priority.

We all hope we don’t have to endure such an event, but if we do, being prepared for our livestock as well as ourselves will save heartache for all.


Book Review: Surviving Doomsday

Where we live is susceptible to almost every natural disaster.  Since it only snows about every 100 years here, that isn’t a problem.   Everything else is up for grabs.  Currently we are experiencing the worst drought I have ever seen.  If there is dew on the grass we feel blessed.  While we live in a semi-rural area, we live just 20 miles from a large city and just 180 miles in two directions from two large metropolitan cities.  Things could get hairy in a hurry if things went bad.

Considering how many people are not prepared for an emergency and the current state of international politics, unprepared people need something to bring them up to speed quickly.  While you can’t get every skill you need from a book, you can get all the information you need right now from Surviving Doomsday by Richard Duarte.

Most people skip the introductions in books.  When you read this book, make sure you read it first.  The story is compelling and heartfelt.  It is why the book exists.  If you are not a prepper, you should be after you read the introduction.

Surviving Doomsday is not for “doomsday preppers” as seen on T.V.  This well written book is for the average person.  Anyone can pick up this book and gain the knowledge they need to prepare.  Even if you have been prepping for a long time, this book will be useful to you.  It helps you think of things you might not have thought.

Lists are provided to make your shopping and packing easier.  Advice on preparing your mind and body for a world changing event is offered.  This is a good read dedicated to helping all people become prepared for any emergency.  And that is something we don’t have enough people doing.


Preppers Knowledge Bank: Prepping and Raising Children

Have you ever met, or are you, someone who grew up during the Great Depression?  Did you happen to notice their personal habits?  Do they tend to Raising Children and Preppingbe more frugal?  Less willing to waste anything?  Do they hesitate to throw things away because they might need them someday?

How about people who grew up in the Cold War and Viet-Nam War?  Have you noticed any particular traits that could be attributed to their experiences practicing for nuclear blasts?  This is where they split into two camps.  The first being people who say to live for the moment.  “Life is short, live now” is one of their frequent sayings.  They advise you should enjoy life while you can because you don’t know how long you will live.  They focus more on themselves than did previous generations.  The other camp says to be prepared for anything because you never know what will happen.

Both generations raised children.  Consider comments made by people who grew up in the Cold War.  It affected them deeply.  Hiding under desks during drills, worrying about the Russians attacking us in our homes, and a plethora of war movies in theaters and on the television were effective in further making people afraid of war.  Eight year old children being taught to get water from the toilet tank drove home the idea that people were not going to have enough food and water after an explosion.  Some children bore a fear they would not survive to adulthood.   For many children, it gave children a sense of being powerless to control their lives.  And, in many cases, why try?  We were all going to die anyway, right?  Indeed, some researchers claim growing up in these situations led to the self-centered generations of hippies, LSD and generations X and Y.

So what does all this have to do with prepping today?  Simple.  It says be careful about the message you send your children.  At what age should they experience loss of a life not yet lived?  It begs asking the question, “Do you always have to talk about impending doom when talking about prepping?”  Make sure your children are old enough to understand.  Make sure your children know why you prepare.  They should not feel like they prepare out of some fear of this or that.  It should be because being prepared is the wise thing to do.  Being prepared should be part of a well balanced lifestyle that includes age appropriate activities such as scouting, soccer and ball games.  There should be family fun and community activities.  It should reinforce that preppers don’t prep out of fear or to avoid fear, they prep because history demonstrates being prepared is wise.


Understanding Society

American Thinker

The New Existentialists

Most People Deny any Possibility of Gum Disease

Gum disease is best dealt with by a periodontist.When I see a patient for the first time they try to talk me out of finding gum disease in their mouth.  “But Dr, I brush my teeth every day!”  Or, “I have been going to my dentist for years and he never mentioned gum disease.”

I have been a practicing Periodontist for over 30 years, and my opinion is that most dentists and dental hygienists don’t understand periodontal (gum) disease like a specialist like me.  Around 1983 some dental research came out showing that root planing (deep cleaning with anesthesia) was just as effective as Periodontal Surgery.  The research was flawed as it only concerned the front teeth with single roots, but the damage was done.  Ever since, the general dentists have been avoiding sending their patients to a Periodontist.  Instead, they have kept the money in the office by sending them to their in-office Dental Hygienist.  Since dental disease is often very slow and symptom-less until it is time for an extraction,  everyone is happy.  Then you have pain or swelling,  and your friendly dentist notifies you that you need an expensive implant or two.

What I suggested in my last article was getting an exam and basic treatment to get a level of dental health. That is dental prepping.  What I will tell you is what I teach my patients.  Most dental offices skip past teaching oral health quickly because dental insurance doesn’t pay for it.  But, good oral cleaning at least once a day is the most cost effective thing you can do.  Dental disease is usually decay early, gum disease later in life.  Both are caused by dental plaque.  Treatment only repairs the damage, the disease continues.  If you use a water pick device you will notice food particles coming out.  That is not enough, ten per cent of the invisible plaque remains, and the disease continues.

I teach with the patient holding a mirror and watching how to use the following:  any soft toothbrush, any type of floss, a rubber tip stimulator, and a proxybrush in between the teeth and under bridges if there is room.  Lecturing doesn’t work, and that is all you get at most dental offices.  Many patients brush back and forth, and that misses the target and causes grooves in the teeth with time..result, root sensitivity to hot or cold.  I suggest the modified Bass method, which is holding the toothbrush and rubber tip at a 45 degree angle to the tooth and vibrating into the crevice along the gum line, with any kind of fluoride toothpaste.   If your gums are sick, this will bleed and hurt, but improve after several weeks.  The problem with all of these cleaning efforts is that you can only get about three millimeters below the gums, and if you have deeper measurements you are not able to stop the plaque from causing slow bone loss (periodontal disease).  Mouthwash really doesn’t get down there either, a waste of money.

I have retired, but I suggest that you might consider seeing a Periodontist first.  You will get the best diagnosis of your possible gum disease, and may ask for a referral to a top notch dentist.  Periodontists get referrals from many general dentists and see a wide variety of competence.  It was not unusual for me to have seen a patient who has been seeing a dentist regularly, and then the patient is ready for dentures!!.   How shocked and angry the patient becomes.  They have noticed how their teeth have started to drift and get spaces, but nothing was said..or they were sent to the hygienist for a series of deep cleanings,  over and over.  By the way, those cleanings you get every six months are probably regular cleanings that your insurance pays 100%.  They don’t help much.

The inflammation of gum disease can help cause other health problems.  See , the periodontist’s official web site for the best information.  Next time I will talk about alternatives to implants.  Save your money for prepping supplies.  Dr. GrumpyMarine

Free Prepping Series: Part 5: Planning Your Stash

Earlier we discussed travel routes and the planning required to get out of town in the shortest amount of time possible.  Today we are going to talk about planning your stashes.   Just a reminder, planning costs nothing and help you determine your financial needs and prioritize your goals.  Planning is worth a great deal.  If you have read the primer series, you already have an idea of what you have on hand and what you will be gathering for prepping purposes.

When TSHTF, you may or may not be able to access cash, and even if you do have cash, you may not be able to buy what you need.  It is best to have necessities stashed along the way to your bug out location.  Even if this is all hypothetical for you, it is important to engage in the process of planning.

What goes into your stash containers depends on you and your family’s special needs.  If you know you have to travel further than your fuel tanks hold, you need to plan fuel stashes.  The same goes for water and food stashes to supply one to three days each.  Consider the women in your group that will have female needs.  The point is to meticulously evaluate the needs of each person and compile a list of things each will need to have restocked if you have to bust open a stash.

Once you have the aggregated supply list, figure out which parts can be broken into separate stashes.  Now it is time to devise the containers.  Some people claim to be able to make containers that can’t be detected by metal detectors.  If you can do that, awesome, but I don’t really think you can.  Next time you go to the hardware store, check out the items you would need to make your stash containers.  The idea is to get an idea of the time involved, complexity and the price for making one container.  You still haven’t spent any money, but now you are that much more ready to get prepared.  You have knowledge and skills you didn’t have before.

Now that you know what goes in the containers, how many containers you need, where the containers will be placed, and how much money you need to build and fill each container you are ready to begin preparing the containers as you find the resources.  You can place them when driving your exit routes, or place them as  you build them so they are already in play if you need them.  No matter what, devise a way to remember where you placed them.  They do you no good if you don’t can’t get to them when you need them.